2017 sees many high school teams finding success
ATHOL — The year 2017 started off with the success of the Mahar varsity basketball programs, moved into the success of the Athol varsity softball team, then into the Lions taking the Chuck Stone Little League crown and into the fall season that saw many high school teams make the playoffs, just to name a few of the best happenings in sports this year.
As for the rest of the year, let’s take a look:
On Jan. 4, the Mahar boys’ basketball team won the first game of the year to stay undefeated at 8-0 with a 54-26 win over Frontier Regional. Bryce Cleveland scored 25 points in the game…On Jan. 6, the Mahar girls’ basketball team defeated Monson 61-53 for the first time in three years…On Jan. 12, the Mahar boys’ basketball team put their undefeated record on the line against 7-1 Turners Falls and won 77-51…The very next day, the Athol boys’ basketball team won their first game of the season, scoring 39 second half points to beat Smith Academy 61-47…On Jan. 19, the Mahar Middle School girls’ basketball team came out on top against Hopkins Academy in a battle of the undefeateds…On Jan. 26, Orange resident Richard Bergquist was inducted into the Western Mass. Baseball Hall of Fame.
On Feb. 4, the Mahar boys’ wrestling team topped Athol 42-35 to win the Tri-County league title...On the same day, the Mahar Middle School girls’ basketball team improved to 11-0 with a 36-12 win over Frontier…On Feb. 7, ARMS’s Joseph Gray won first place in the 143-pound weight class at the Youth Wrestling Association South sectional tournament…On Feb. 8, the Athol girls’ basketball team pulled off a comeback against Frontier Regional to win 45-41 as Hope Parker scored 23 points…On Feb. 14, Athol’s Merrick Decker claimed his third Western Mass. wrestling title and the Red Raiders placed third overall at the championship meet…On Feb. 16, Athol’s Kris Selanis broke a school record in shot put and won a gold medal at the PVIAC championships with a throw of 48 feet, 7 ¾ inches…On Feb. 17, the Mahar boys’ basketball team defeated Hopkins Academy, Hopkins’ first league loss in over two years.
On March 6, the Mahar girls’ basketball team came back from a 13-point deficit to defeat Greenfield 71-65 to advance to the Western Mass. tournament quarterfinals…On March 8, Rob Gronkowski was spotted and photographed at the Subway of Athol…On March 10, the Mahar girls’ basketball team fell to top ranked Hoosac Valley in the quarterfinals round of the Western mass. tournament…On Marh 18, Emily Casella of Athol was named to the Assumption College track team, a Division II program out of Worcester…On March 23, Athol’s Chase Michaud, Gabe Roberts, Mason Barrieau, Kris Selanis, Dennis St. Jean and Shelby Mailloux earned all-league selections for the indoor track season.
On April 10, more than 200 canoes took part in the 54th annual River Rat Race….On April 12, the Athol boys’ volleyball team won their fourth match in a row after starting the year 0-2…On April 12, the ARMS baseball team defeated Hopkins 26-1…On April 28, the Athol softball team used an eight-run inning to defeat the rivaled Mahar Senators 9-6.
On May 1, Mahar’s Sam Paul pitched seven shutout innings to defeat the rivaled Athol Red Raiders 3-0 in varsity baseball action…On May 2, the Athol boys’ volleyball team took down Putnam 3-1 to take the lead atop the PVIAC East Division…On May 4, the Athol softball team defeated Greenfield 10-6, who were undefeated going into the matchup…On May 16, the Athol boys’ volleyball team qualified for the postseason with a 3-1 win over Holyoke…On May 17, Athol softball senior Jess Soucie reached 100 career hits with a four hit performance against Mahar…On May 19, the Athol softball team qualified for the postseason with a 14-4 win over Hopkins Academy…On May 31 the ARMS softball team completed their perfect 18-0 season.
On June 2, the Athol High School softball team defeated Hoosac Valley in the opening round of the West Division III playoff tournament…On June 9, the Lions defeated V.F.W. 17-4 to win the Chuck Stone Little League championship, completing their undefeated season…On June 22, the Mahar girls’ summer basketball team used a 14-2 run to defeat Quabbin.
On July 11, the Mahar girls’ summer basketball team held Narragansett to seven points in the second half to win 37-17…On July 14, NASCAR drivers Timmy Solomito and Matt Swanson made their way to Athol…On the same day, the Mahar boys’ summer basketball team beat Gardner 51-30 in a game of undefeateds…On July 21, the Mahar boys’ summer team defeated Ayer to complete their season 11-0.
On Aug. 11, a local attorney completed a Super Spartan race…On Aug. 14, the New England Equestrian Center of Athol unveiled “Elwin Bacon Way” in honor of Elwin Bacon, a recently deceased community member who created NEECA…On Aug. 29, Orange’s Chloe Wright won her first race at Monadnock Speedway.
On Sept. 8, the Mahar girls’ soccer team defeated Frontier 4-1, a perennial soccer program from the Pioneer North league…On Sept. 12, the Mahar girls’ soccer team defeated the 20th ranked team in all of Western Mass. in Gateway, 2-0…On Sept. 14, the Mahar girls’ volleyball team came back from a 2-0 deficit to defeat Athol 3-2…On Sept. 22, the Athol boys’ soccer team defeated Narragansett 8-0…On Sept. 23, the Mahar varsity football team used a 100-yard kickoff return by Jon Gariepy to defeat Athol 18-16.
On Oct. 9, the Mahar girls’ soccer team defeated Mount Greylock 1-0 and were off on their best start in program history with a 9-0-3 record…On Oct. 11, the Athol girls’ volleyball team defeated Greenfield 3-0 to move above .500 for the first time throughout the season and to move their win streak to five games in a row…On Oct. 12, the Mahar girls’ volleyball team defeated Mohawk to clinch a playoff berth…On Oct. 14, the Mahar girls’ volleyball team defeated Athol 3-1 for the season sweep…On Oct. 20, the Mahar boys’ soccer team defeated Mohawk Trail 3-0 to clinch a playoff berth…On Oct. 24, the Mahar field hockey team defeated Turners Falls 4-1 to move into a playoff spot…On Oct. 25, Athol’s Julia Ramos earned her 100th ace of the season against Pioneer Valley…On Oct. 27, the Athol girls’ volleyball team clinched a playoff spot with a win over Mohawk Trail…On Oct. 31, the Mahar girls’ soccer team clinched the league title with a 5-1 win over Athol.
On Nov. 6, the Athol boys’ soccer team defeated the Renaissance school in a shootout in their playoff match… On the same day, the Mahar girls’ soccer team won their playoff game against Pioneer Valley, 3-1… On Nov. 10, Mahar’s Jon Gariepy reached 1,000 yards rushing in Mahar’s 40-8 win over Monument Mountain… On Nov. 11, the Athol varsity football team pulled off the 15-12 upset over Amherst, a team coming off of a playoff loss… On Nov. 23, the Athol varsity football team defeated Mahar 24-22 on Thanksgiving Day for their fourth straight Thanksgiving Day win.
On Dec. 11, Athol High School hosted the Red Raider Invitational with many locals earning medals… On Dec. 15, Athol’s Kris Selanis qualified for the National Indoor meet for indoor track, the first ever to do so in school history… On the same day, the Athol boys’ basketball team hosted the Red Raider Holiday Hoop tournament…On Dec. 20, the Mahar boys’ basketball team defeated the No. 15 ranked Easthampton Eagles 59-52…On Dec. 27, Mahar swept rivaled Athol High School in back-to-back games between the boys’ varsity team and the girls’ varsity team.