Bridgewater-Raynham‘s standout swimmer Jessie McNeil was recently named an Academic All-American by the National Interscholastic Swimming Coaches Association.
The Association’s congratulations letter reads “Over 353,936 students are involved in aquatics at the high school level in over 17,454 programs for boys’ and girls’. Approximately 2% of these students are recognized as high school All American’s.”
McNeil, who was the South Sectional champion in the 200-yard individual medley, also took second at States in the 200 IM and 100-yard breaststroke. She was also the Southeast Conference champion in the 200-yard individual medley and the 500-yard freestyle events.
By Mackenzie Boucher
Special to southeastconferencema.org
Braden Medeiros and Aidan Carreiro are both track seniors at Dartmouth High who are grateful for the skills and community track has given them throughout their high school careers. The balance of finding a college, practice, schoolwork, and meets can be a lot, but both Aidan and Braden use lessons they learned in track to persevere through, with the support of the track “family,” of course.
Braden does shot-put for the Dartmouth track and field team, and like Aidan, joined freshman year. “It’s different from any other sport you could possibly do, you can’t throw it like any other throwing action in other sports.” Shot-put is difficult to understand from an outside perspective, but the physical skill it takes is undisputed. Braden firmly believes anyone can find a place on the team, “the coaches will find something you’re good at, whether it be shot put or sprints. Coach Breault said I should try shot-put and I did, and it took off from there.”
Aidan runs the 600 meter, the 1000 meter, and 4×400 meter relay. He was introduced to relay sophomore year and has done cross country all four years, “I like track. It’s very inclusive and welcoming. However, it can be stressful at times because coaches expect a lot from us, and if I don’t perform well I feel bad.” Ironically, Aidan does not “like” running although he likes track. “I do track to stay in shape and gain endurance,” he said.
Both Braden and Aidan have learned life long skills from the discipline of the track and field team. Aidan and Braden both mentioned that time management is a skill quickly learned on the track team. “Track taught me accountability because the coaches expect us to be there on time, and you have pressure on you to do something and perform well,” Aidan says. Braden agrees, “I really enjoy track, it gives me the accountability to get my homework done and good time management skills, it keeps you on task.”
Before meets, both athletes feel electric anticipation to perform well. “I get so nervous before races,” Aidan says. “I drink water and listen to music before meets. I listen to country or 80s. I have a range, at Reggie (Lewis Center) I tell other people to drink water.” Braden also has a personal pre-meet ritual, “I eat similar food and listen to similar music before the meet.”
Aidan describes how coaches guided him to success by making meaningful connections. “Freshman year I was a little scared of the coaches, but once you get to know them, you open up and it becomes more personal,” he says. “My distance coach is also my cross country coach. She’s also my Spanish teacher from freshman year, so I’ve been more open to her.” The coaches drive the team to improve their skills and support each other. “They give you all the resources they can. They give you enough to do well and succeed, and I really want to succeed,” Braden says.
Braden claims one of the most important lessons he has learned is how to lift other people up. It’s a golden rule, “be supportive of other people, even if you don’t know them, especially for track. You want everyone to do well in our conference; New Bedford, Brockton, Durfee, we all cheer on each other for shot-put, it’s a nice environment that I haven’t found in any other sport.”
All players have a career defining game or meet, Braden and Aidan are not exceptions. “My junior year, last winter season, was the first time I made it to states. I did not think I would make it that far, but it showed me I am actually pretty good at this. It gave me a lot of motivation to continue and enjoy it.” Braden remembers the meet vividly, “I was seated at 14th or 15th and ended at ninth.” He recalls the feeling of reaching a level of success he previously thought was impossible. “It’s awesome. Nothing can compare. You can hit a homerun in baseball, score the winning goal in soccer, hit a buzzer beater in basketball, but there’s nothing better because it’s you helping yourself rather than you helping a team, you being able to tell yourself ‘I did great today.’ It can’t be matched.”
Aidan has had a similar serendipitous moment, “this years Brockton meet was pretty important, once we beat them, then we had a good chance of winning the whole SEC, which we did,” he says, “I ran the 600 and relay. It was a really tough meet, but we won.”
Both Aidan and Braden plan on continuing track in college either through a club or team because of the positive influence that track and field has had on their lives, which now seems instrumental to keep.
By Mackenzie Boucher
Special to southeastconferencema.org
The thought of running after an exhaustive day at school can sound like an added daily strain, but for those committed to the Dartmouth High School track team, like senior Madison Stott, track forces them to push through and achieve a new level of strength and appreciation for progress. Madison has broken records for relay, relay split, and the 300 meter race, and her success story is one of inspiration, triumph, and opportunity.
Madison joined the Dartmouth track team in the winter of her freshman year, followed up with spring track, and since then has done every season of track for the rest of her high school career. Now she is happy taking on the responsibility of being a captain for the winter and spring teams. “At first I didn’t think much of it, usually soccer was my main sport. By junior year, I figured out that I would want to do track in college because of how much I’ve grown.” Madison compares it to her experience playing soccer, “in track it is much easier to see your growth since you get a new time every meet and can use those stats to compare with your other times to see your growth straight on, versus soccer where you don’t have the stats to show you are growing as easily and readily available. You only go by how you feel you did.” The undisputed nature of progress on the track team encourages athletes like Madison to continue striving for faster times.
Corroborating what Serena Carnes said in a previous interview about the Dartmouth High School track team, Madison has also found a second home on the track.“We are all one big family, I really enjoy running track because of the huge support of my team and the positive energy they give me,” Madison says, “the people who are there for you say it’s okay, you can do it. We believe in you. We have faith and that builds a bond.” The consistent positive reinforcement to perform despite fear of failure, created a nurturing environment for teammates of different skill levels and strengths, and for Madison she believes, “if my teammates weren’t cheering for me and my coaches weren’t pushing me I wouldn’t be where I am.”
Admittedly, she finds a lot of people who think the track team is synonymous with endless running and suffering, connotated with the image of a hamster endlessly running on a wheel. Consequently, they have trouble understanding why anyone would subject themselves to such a lifestyle. However, for Madison track is a means of multifaceted progress; social, emotional, and physical. “When you’re in your own separate event groups, you form better friendships and bonds with people you wouldn’t expect.” Those friends, she finds, grow bonds of a mutual understanding; that everyone wants to help anyone who needs it. Teammates tend to take affirmative action,“ especially if they can see that someone is having a hard time, the workout is hard for them, you can see it on their face or body that they’re getting drained, you can continue it with them, or give them motivation to help them through it.” It’s just the way of the Dartmouth track team.
As someone who strives to beat past times, every meet is like a mini-Mount Olympus built by herself, that she has to climb. She remembers one such instance,“it was my junior year at the states meet during winter track, it was the last meet of our season, my relay team was working really hard towards the goal of beating the school record that season.”
She remembers after the relay, the team was filled with one sentiment, “I think we did it. Anticipation, waiting to see the time. Once it happens you’re filled with joy. You’re jumping up and down. Your heart is still racing,” Madison was shocked, “I couldn’t believe it, I just stared at the time, it didn’t feel real, I couldn’t believe I just did that.” She swelled with pride for herself and her team, and the accomplishment has become a pillar of her track experience, motivating her to keep going, to achieve the bliss of seeing a record on the clock.
Records are not the only motivator by any means, the personal nature of rivalries between players is a significant factor in meets. “Anytime we run against Durfee there is this one runner that I know will push me. We are always neck and neck, if she is in a race, it will be an important race to me specifically. It’s a good motivation.” Madison appreciates how the competitive nature positively affects her.
Madison plans to continue track in college, and is weighing her options currently. She knows, “it will be a whole new aspect of running. I’ll be running against all these other runners I’ve never ran against before. I’m excited for it. I know in college other people will feel the same passion I have for track, and will take it as seriously as I do.” She does not shy away from a new challenge because of the strength the Dartmouth track team originally provided her, “they’re gonna be big, strong, and fast, which is intimidating, but I know they’ll be as welcoming as this team was when I was a freshman.”
Madison passionately believes the positive effect that track has provided her is unparalleled. “Track is individualized, so you get more attention and support because it’s just you,” she says. “It keeps you in shape physically and mentally. I would suggest doing track to anyone.”
By Mackenzie Boucher
Special to southeastconferencema.org
Track is one of the few sports that runs all year round, similar to the sport itself, it’s more about longevity than one-time lucky breaks. It’s also arguably one of the hardest sports to understand. The first thing that comes to mind for a non-track expert is races, but the sport itself is much, much more complicated than getting a fast time. Track and field includes shot puts, vaulting, javelin throwing, variations of jumping, relay, distance running, and racing, making it more of a collection of sports than a single sport; such as soccer or football. But for some athletes, like Dartmouth High School senior captain Serena Carnes, the complicated amalgamation of skills it takes to succeed at track becomes second nature.
Serena has done softball, soccer, field hockey, lacrosse, and basketball, but “track is the hardest, yet most rewarding sport” she says, “it is a way to clear your thoughts and be in a better mental state.” She has fully committed to doing track during the winter and spring seasons, cross country in the fall, and occasionally has done the 4×4 relay.
Serena has been part of the track team since freshman year, “I originally had no desire to do track, but my mom encouraged me a lot to do it and try something new.” She looks back at that paramount choice now, “it is one of the best decisions that I made in high school.”
Four years later, she is now captain, acting as a mentor to the team. “As a person, I believe that one of my strongest attributes is my overriding positivity. As a captain, I feel as though my positivity is also one of my strongest attributions to everyday track life.” She leads warmups, and always offers unwavering support to the team, “I truly value making sure everyone feels heard and appreciated.”
As opposed to sports like basketball, where there can only be one Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, and the rest of the team is consequently subjected to anonymity, track and field is about lifting each other up, because everyone has to rely on each other to win a meet.
“The motivation from my teammates and coaches, along with the strong desire to better my times in my races, is what truly feeds the love that I have for track. It is the most welcoming and inviting environment, because no matter how you perform, you will always have a smile on your face on the bus ride home because of the support that everyone gives you,” Serena says about the social dynamics of the team.
When the natural pressure of going for gold combines with outside factors, no one is immune to feeling stressed, but Serena attributes her ability to rise above the stress to the encouragement from Coach McCarron-Deely and her teammates. To be on the Dartmouth track team evidently involves having the strength to help others reach their goals, and the humbleness to be helped yourself.
But don’t let the friendly demeanor of DHS track fool you. At its core, track and field is highly competitive, as seen in the rivalry against the Bridgewater-Raynham (B-R) track and field. “B-R has been Dartmouth’s biggest competitor for a long time,” Serena says about the power struggle. “Before our last dual meet on Tuesday (1/24/23), the girls Dartmouth track and field team had only beaten B-R once before, and the boys Dartmouth team had never beaten them before. This meet was by far our biggest and hardest meet of the year, and it came down to the relay races at the end to ultimately win.”
At Coach McCarron’s directions, Serena, “ran around the track spreading out the team and telling them to be as loud as possible because the last relay races were very important,” all part of being captain and biggest cheerleader of her own team.
Serena points to the last meet as being the most important meet of her athletic career. She had the exhaustive task of running the two mile after the one mile race, against their biggest competitor, and the pressure was starkly high. Running the two races took endurance, mental strength, and adrenaline, but in the end her determination rained triumphant and she earned first place, “Our team ended up winning against B-R for the second time ever, becoming Southeastern Conference league champions.”
Serena plans to continue track in college as a club, “I’ve learned so much about myself and that if I can put my mind to something, it is definitely attainable.” Serena thoroughly enjoys track and the sport has taught her that, “trying new things can take you by surprise, and you can start to love them and leave what you’ve known behind,” a lesson that hopefully we all get to experience.
With its 48-22 victory conference foe New Bedford, the Bridgewater-Raynham wrestling team captured the Southeast Conference title undefeated. With the win, the Trojans improved to 12-1 overall and closed out their league schedule with a perfect, 3-0 mark. With the loss, the Whalers finish their SEC schedule with a 1-2 league record.
“We just wrestled so tough,” said B-R coach Sean Petrosino. “I have been coaching for 19 years and this may have been the best overall team effort I have ever seen. Top to bottom everyone wrestled like warriors. I have never been more proud of a group of individuals.”
B-R Wrestling stats:
Senior Nathan Leach 19-0 (Ranked #1 in the State)
Senior Captain Chris Hogg – 9-0 (Over 100 Career wins)
Senior Captain Christian Curley 21-1 (Ranked #7 in the State)
Sophomore Brent von Magnus – 20-1 (Ranked #6 in the State)
Junior Myles Beckett 10-2 (ranked #6 in the State)
Sophomore Jackson Rinke 12-2
Sophomore Luke Driscoll 12-5
Sophomore Matty Fernandes 9-6
Freshman Jack Alves 14-6
Freshman Kennedie Davis 19-6
It’s been happy holidays for the Durfee boys and girls basketball teams as both squads won their respective holiday tournaments. The Hilltopper boys won their own Skip Karam Holiday Tournament, while the Lady Hilltoppers captured the Taunton Holiday Classic.
In the boys’ finals match-up, the game went down to the wire, as Durfee held off a late charge from a talented Taunton squad, 76-73. The Tigers went into that contest undefeated. Durfee, which started quickly in the game, built a double-digit lead in the third quarter while Taunton standout Tyler Santos was on the bench due to foul difficulty.
Santos returned to the game and the Tigers quickly closed the gap. The Toppers were equal to the task however, as clutch performances from Jeyden Espinal and Devontae Stewart helped Durfee fend off the Tigers’ surge. Espinal was named the Tournament MVP.
Durfee had a balanced attack with Espinal leading the way with 21 points. Stewart had 19 points, while Jaleale Simmons added 17 points and Avonte Lamore chipped in with 13. Santos, with a dominating fourth quarter performance, lead all scorers with 28 points.
In the semi-final round game, Durfee had little trouble in advancing with a dominating 90-41 win over Brighton. Taunton had advanced by handing Dartmouth its first loss of the season, 61-57. Hunter Matteson scored a game high 31 points to lead Dartmouth in that one. The Indians had an easy go of it against Brighton in the consolation game.
The Durfee girls took the Taunton Holiday Classic with a solid 49-29 win over Holliston in the finals. With the win, the Lady Hilltoppers remain perfect on the year at 5-0. Mya Hayes-Paulette led Durfee with 12 points, while Jada Holley added 10. Both girls were named to the All-Tourney team
In the semi-final round match-up, Durfee handed host Taunton its first loss of the year with a 49-39 victory. Hayes-Paulette led Durfee with 14 points in that one, while Holley added 10 and Landry Caron and Julia Hargraves chipped in with eight points each.
The Durfee Swim & Dive teams dominated Bishop Stang at the UMass-Dartmouth Tripp Athletic Center. The Durfee girls posted a 100-67 victory, while the Hilltopper boys prevailed, 89-40.
With the win, the Lady Hilltoppers improved their record to 2-1 on the season. It was a complete team effort, with many athletes being able to try new events and allow the Topper squad to show off its depth.
Individual winners for Durfee included Rachael Silva in the 1-meter dive with a score of 225.65, Aimee Tiebout in the 500-meter freestyle, Zoie Mussotte in the 100-meter backstroke, and Claire Bjerre in the 100-meter breaststroke. Mussotte and Tiebout teamed up with Avery Antunes and Gill Tiburtino in the 200-meter medley relay to take first in that event. Other strong performers for Durfee were Paitynn Botelho, Casey Carvalho and Abigail Carrerio.
The Durfee boys also came home with a win to improve to 2-0 on the season. The Hilltoppers showed off the hard work they have been doing this season going into the holiday break. Individual winners included Cooper Long in the 50 and 100-meter freestyle, Michael Harrington in the 500-meter freestyle, Jack Fitzgerald in the 100-meter backstroke and Forrest Malo in the 100-meter breaststroke. The relay team of Harrington, Fitzgerald, Long and Omar Mahmoud took home the win in both the 200-meter medley and 200-meter freestyle.