Schools roundup: Turners Falls swimmers have plenty of open water

  • Turners Falls swimmer Nik Martin competes in the 200-yard individual medley during action against Renaissance School on Friday in Turners Falls. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

  • Nik Martin of Turners Falls swims the breast stroke leg of the medley relay against Renaissance School on Friday. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

  • Senior Cameron Bradley competes in the 200-yard freestyle during Turners Falls’ meet against Renaissance on Friday. Bradley won the event in 2 minutes, 11.84 seconds. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

  • Turners Falls swimmer Hannah Marchefka moves through the pool en route to a victory in the 200-yard freestyle during her team’s 48-7 win over Renaissance on Friday. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

  • Senior Jade Tyler handles the backstroke portion of the 200-yard individual medley in Turners’ Falls victory over Renaissance on Friday. Tyler won the event with a time of 2:35.23. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Published: 12/13/2019 10:54:47 PM
Modified: 12/13/2019 10:54:32 PM

TURNERS FALLS — It was a long, lonely 500-yard freestyle for Olivia Whittier in the Turners Falls High School pool on Friday.

In season-opening action against Renaissance School, the Turners junior was the lone swimmer to compete in the event as the Phoenix had just two available competitors on their roster. That left nobody to race against or look to for motivation on her left or right.

Whittier began the first of 20 laps to cheers from her teammates and the crowd. After each lap to the long end of the pool, a teammate held a sign underwater updating her on how many laps she had completed.

“I don’t do it very often,” Whittier said of swimming the 500 free. “This is maybe the second time in my career I’ve done it. I was doing it for a filler because we don't have as many people this year. I was just trying to go at a good pace. I wasn’t striving for the (WMass qualifying) cut.”

As she closed in on the final lap, the official rang a bell to alert her she was nearly finished. Her teammates got louder as Whittier came to the finish line with a time of 6 minutes, 47.03 seconds, scoring points for her team that helped the Thunder girls earn a 48-7 victory in Constitution League action. 

“It’s weird, everyone’s watching me,” Whittier said of the race. “There’s nobody else to watch. I feel like I’m going against myself. I was just trying to get it over with and have fun with it.”

Whittier also won the 200 freestyle relay along with Hannah Marchefka, Jade Tyler and Allison Wheeler. The quartet also competed alone and finished with a time of 2:09.45, and Whittier captured a victory in the 100 breaststroke where she swam alone and finished in a time of 1:19.09.

Turners Falls coach Colin Machat was proud of the way his girls handled swimming in relative tranquility, which he knows isn’t an easy task.

“It’s definitely a challenge,” the second-year coach said. “Swimming is one of the weirdest sports because although you are on a team and score everything as a team, it’s such an individual sport. You’re always going against your time, it’s not necessarily points. Whenever girls or boys have to swim by themselves, they need to focus on what they’re doing. You don’t have to keep pace with anyone. Do what you can and push yourself to the limit.”

Other winners on the girls side included Wheeler, Whittier, Tyler and Hannah Dziedzic in the 200 medley, swimming unopposed for a time of 2:23.21. Marchefka took first in the 200 free (3:32.43) and the 50 free (37.52). Tyler won the 200 individual medley (2:35.23) and the 100 butterfly (1:14.53), while Wheeler came out victorious in the 100 free (1:08.52) and 100 backstroke (1:24.32). 

On the boys side, it was Turners that found itself down on numbers. Renaissance picked up a 60-18 victory over a four-man Thunder roster.

Cameron Bradley earned first place in the 200 free (2:11.84) and 100 fly (1:03.86), and Nik Martin took first in the 200 individual medley (2:42.17).

Machat was impressed with his team’s effort throughout the meet.

“Compared to last season, just looking at the returning swimmers across the board both men and women, their times are faster,” Machat said. “Going into the season, it’s looking nice because I’m not worried about having to get them back to where they were at last year. The newer kids we have, they did really well at the first meet so I’m really excited to see how much they improve as the season goes on.”

Boys basketball

Ware 44, Mohawk 31 — Facing a tough Indian squad in the finals of the Eagle Holiday Classic, the Warriors were unable to get their offense going for consistent stretches, scoring a combined seven points in the second and third quarters which culminated in a 44-31 loss. 

“We want to play on a high level so we want to play teams that will challenge us,” Mohawk coach Darren Schmidt said. “We just need to learn to play more consistently on the offensive end.” 

Senior Anthony Moffatt, who scored 14 points in Thursday’s win over Franklin Tech, was held to three points Friday, but was named to the All-Tournament team.

The Warriors didn’t have an answer for Ware forward Keith Smith, who finished with a game-high 23 points on nine field goals. Smith was named the Tournament MVP.

Matt Gabaree was the lone Mohawk player to reach double-figures, scoring 10 points.

Franklin Tech 52, Mt. Everett 48 — If Franklin Tech was hoping to get close-game experience early in the season, its wish was answered in the Eagle Holiday Classic. 

Following a loss to Mohawk Trail in the final seconds on Thursday, the Eagles jumped out to a big halftime lead in the consolation game on Friday. Mt. Everett fought its way back and pulled within four points with a few minutes to play, but that was as close as it would get as Tech came away with a 52-48 win on its home court to nab third place. 

“As a coach, I’d rather have us in close games,” Eagles coach Tim Artus said. “It’s a good learning opportunity. We learned some things from (Thursday ngiht) and I learned and grew from it as well. These games are helpful to have early in the season.”

Senior Bailey Young erupted for 26 points in the win, knocking down three shots from downtown. Young dropped 15 points on Thursday and was named the Franklin Tech team MVP of the tournament.

“He was fearless,” Artus said. “He scored in a lot of different ways but also led us on defense. He was a strong two-way player for us and he was deserving of the award.” 

Garret Cole had eight points and 12 boards for the Eagles and Justin Littlewood dropped in seven points.

Monson 67, Turners 54 — The Thunder trailed by 11 going into the halftime break, but broke out a press in the second half that got them back in the game. 

In the end, though, it wasn’t enough, as Colby Duggan scored 29 points and Logan Gerry added 23 to help the Mustangs capture a 67-54 independent win on Friday.

Anthony Peterson led Turners with 17 points and pulled down 15 boards while Chace Novak joined him in double figures with 12 points on four 3-pointers.

The Thunder fell to 0-2 with the defeat, and they’ll next play Mt. Greylock on Sunday at the Cage in Amherst.

Girls basketball

Hopkins 50, FC Tech 28 — Defending WMass Div. 4 champion Hopkins Academy added some more hardware to its trophy case on Friday night.

The Golden Hawks used big second and third quarters to defeat host Franklin Tech, 50-28, in the championship game of the Eagle Holiday Classic in Turners Falls.

Hopkins (2-0) led just 7-5 after one quarter, but outscored the Eagles by a 38-13 margin over the next two periods to snag the title.

Franklin Tech (1-1), which beat Mt. Everett in the semifinals on Thursday to reach the title tilt, had solid first and fourth quarters, but couldn't maintain that momentum over 32 minutes.

“The girls played hard,” Tech coach Joe Gamache said. “They finished strong, played until the end.”

Jocelyn Crowningshield led the Eagles with 10 points, while Isabelle Duga added 6 points on the night. Allison Kowal-Safron paced Hopkins with 11 points.

Frontier 49, Lenox 42 — It was a balanced scoring attack for the Red Hawks on Friday night in South Deerfield, as three players finished in double figures in the team’s 49-42 independent win over the Millionaires at Goodnow Gymnasium.

Seven players in total scored for Frontier, and first-year coach Dave Machon was proud of the way his whole team stepped up.

“We had periods where we struggled scoring,” Machon said, “but our bench stepped up big and everyone chipped in to the win.”

The Red Hawks came out of the gates strong, taking a 31-17 lead into the halftime break. A six-point third quarter allowed Lenox back into the game.

Meghan Self and Amelia Sobieski scored 12 points apiece for Frontier while Sierra Warren added 11 points of her own.

The Red Hawks knocked down eight 3-pointers as a team, two each by Warren and Self.

The Millionaires struggled mightily from the charity stripe, knocking down just 15-of-36 free throws.

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