Monitor Sports names fall Players of the Season

  • Hunter Duncan of Bow High School hits his tee shot on the ninth hole at the individual golf championship held at Beaver Meadown Golf Course in Concord on Oct. 15. Duncan won the Division II title by four strokes and also led the Falcons to the team title in their first year in D-II. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

  • Concord running back Elia Bahuma scores a touchdown against Windham at the end of the first half on Oct. 21. Bahuma led all Division I rushers with 1,536 rushing yards and 22 touchdowns and was a big part of the Tide’s turnaround in 2022. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

  • Bow’s Lyndsey LaPerle (3) jumps for joy after scoring to put Bow ahead 1-0 in the Division II semifinals against Pembroke at Stellos Stadium in Nashua on Nov. 1. The Falcons eventually lost, 2-1, but LaPerle finished the season with 23 goals, 15 assists and was named to the D-II All-State First Team.  Rich Miyara / NH Sports Photography

  • Concord Christian Academy defender Levi Campbell (center) celebrates with teammates and head coach Craig Anthony after winning the Division IV boys’ soccer championship, the first title for the Kingsmen since 1993. Campbell – whose father Jeff played on the last championship team – was named to the D-IV All-State First Team for the third time. Top-seeded CCA outscored opponents 112-3 and finished with an 18-0-1 record. Campbell scored eight goals and recorded six assists. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

  • John Stark midfielder Aubrey Fischer jumps to avoid getting hit by the ball by Souhegan midfielder Chloe Luongo during the second half of the Division II championship on Oct. 30 at Bedford High School. Fischer was named to the D-II All-State First Team and was a key cog for the undefeated, top-ranked Generals. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

  • Coe-Brown’s Noelle Sartin (30) goes up for the kill against John Stark during the Division II semifinals on Nov. 3 at Pinkerton Academy. Sartin was one of the Bears’ top hitters this season, finishing with 10 kills in the D-II championship against Oyster River. Coe-Brown finished 17-2 and played in the D-II final for the second consecutive year. Rich Miyara / NH Sports Photography

  • Bow’s Susanna Zahn races to a victory in the Girls’ Small School Race at the 47th Manchester Invitational at Derryfield Park on Sept. 24. Zahn’s time of 18:15 was the fastest time posted out of all female runners across all divisions. Zahn later claimed the Division II state title on the same course on Oct. 29 in 18:51, wrapping up an undefeated season against D-II runners. BEN CONANT / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • Coe-Brown’s Aidan Cox leads the pack at the Division II cross country championship at Derryfield Park on Oct. 29. Cox was later passed by Lebanon’s Birhanu Harriman, but finished second to lead his team to its fifth straight title. Cox finished fifth at New Englands two weeks later. Jay Smith / 

Published: 11/23/2022 5:44:45 AM

It was a great fall season in the Monitor Sports coverage area. From Concord football nearly doubling its win total from last year to John Stark field hockey winning its first ever Division II championship to Concord Christian boys’ soccer taking home the D-IV title, there were a lot of highs on the athletic fields over the last three months. Before we jump into the winter season, we’re taking one more opportunity to highlight some of the players whose play stood out the most this fall.

Here are our fall Players of the Season, in no particular order:

Hunter Duncan,Bow golf

When you are part of a program that has won nine state titles in the last 11 years, it can be hard to stand out, but that’s exactly what Duncan did in mid-October, claiming the D-II individual crown.

Duncan – a junior – shot 5-under par 67 through the first round at Ridgewood Country Club on Oct. 1, tied with Trinity’s Samuel Maurice for the lead and four strokes ahead of the third-place golfer.

That performance led the Falcons to the team title in their first year competing in D-II.

Two weeks later at Beaver Meadow, Duncan overcame a rough start on Bow’s home course, but shot well on the later holes to win the individual title, maintaining his four-stroke lead.

Duncan was also the Falcons’ top golfer last year, but head coach Matt Davis noted Duncan’s tremendous “growth on the mental side.”

“He demonstrated the ability to rebound after a bad shot and limit mistakes by moving on.”

Eli Bahuma,Concord football

Concord football owed a large part of its success in 2022 to the play of its junior running back who was playing just his second full season of football. Week after week, Bahuma seemingly found the end zone multiple times per game and spearheaded the Tide’s offense.

“Eli’s pretty good, huh?” head coach Jim Corkum said earlier in the season. “He’s just a phenomenal kid all around, football aside. … He’s a great student, he’s humble, everybody likes him.”

On Sept. 9 against Keene, Bahuma ran for 305 yards and three touchdowns. On Sept. 17 against Manchester Central, Bahuma ran 29 times for 185 yards and three touchdowns. Against Nashua South on Oct. 8, he turned in another three-touchdown performance, running for 231 yards on 20 carries. He finished the season with 1,536 rushing yards and 22 touchdowns – the most in Division I in both categories.

The Tide concluded the year 5-4 after losing to No. 6 Timberlane in the D-I preliminary round, 20-14. It was a marked improvement from Concord’s 3-6 campaign in 2021.

Lyndsey LaPerle,Bow girls’ soccer

If you watched Bow girls’ soccer at all throughout the 2022 season, you undoubtedly saw LaPerle’s unmatched speed on the soccer field. Even though the Falcons came up short in the D-II semifinals against Pembroke, LaPerle helped lead Bow to another highly successful season, finishing 15-3-0.

“Lyndsey just has a motor that keeps going,” Bow head coach Jay Vogt said after the Falcons lost 2-1 to the Spartans in early November. “She has a desire to score. She has a desire to beat people, and that’s what you need in a forward. You need that, and she gave it to us.”

LaPerle finished the season with 23 goals and 15 assists playing alongside her twin sister Bella who also put together a strong season with 22 goals and seven assists.

Lyndsey will continue her soccer career next year at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Connecticut.

Levi Campbell,Concord Christian boys’ soccer

The Concord Christian Academy Kingsmen did something that CCA hadn’t done in a generation – win a championship. The No. 1 Kingsmen finished the year with an 18-0-1 record, outscoring opponents a combined 112-3 through those 19 matches, and Campbell was a huge factor on both ends of the pitch.

A three-time D-IV All-State First Team pick, Campbell anchored the central defense with fellow senior Aidan Duffy. Campbell’s ability to step up and make big plays on defense helped Concord Christian finish the season with 16 clean sheets, but also contributed to CCA’s aggressive attack with eight goals and six assists.

“He dominates the back field physically and sets the tone with great communication,” CCA head coach Craig Anthony said. “He is as tough as nails – a true soccer warrior. He always puts the interest of the team first. Levi has the intangible will to win. His a natural born leader.”

The D-IV championship game was an emotional and meaningful end to Campbell’s CCA career. Four of the Kingsmen seniors – Campbell, Duffy, and midfielders Ethan Young and Wilson Rose – have been playing together in the CCA program since kindergarten. Campbell’s father, Jeff, was a member of Concord Christian’s last soccer championship in 1993.

Aubrey Fischer,John Stark field hockey

One of the biggest success stories in the Monitor coverage area this fall was John Stark field hockey (16-0-1). Head coach Dennis Pelletier and assistant coach Gretchen Guevin led the Generals to their first ever D-II field hockey championship after knocking off Souhegan, a perennial powerhouse.

Senior Aubrey Fischer was a major contributor to the success. Playing alongside her twin sister Reagan and younger sister Edie, Aubrey helped lead John Stark through uncharted waters all the way to the championship game. She finished the season with nine goals, eight assists and 42 shots on goal while playing center mid.

Over her high school career, she played in 57 games, scoring 17 goals with 15 assists and 93 shots on goal.

The title for John Stark represented a culmination of seven years of hard work from Pelletier, Guevin and their players, building a field hockey program in Weare from scratch. Back in late September, Aubrey recalled the beginning of her field hockey journey in fifth grade:

“We had literally no knowledge going in,” she said. “Mom’s like, ‘Here guys, we’re going to field hockey. Here’s a stick.’”

Her performance throughout the 2022 season showed how far she and the rest of her teammates have come.

Noelle Sartin,Coe-Brown volleyball

Like John Stark field hockey, Coe-Brown volleyball made it very difficult to pick one standout player from an incredibly talented roster. Bears’ head coach Renee Zobel liked to talk about how her players could play all six positions on the floor, and that was a big reason for their 17-2 season that saw them finish as runners-up in Division II.

Senior Noelle Sartin was a key cog all season for Zobel’s team that returned 12 of the 14 players from its 2021 championship team.

“Just a really great year for her, both from the service line, from the front row. She’s also a great passer,” Zobel said of Sartin after Coe-Brown swept John Stark, 3-0, in the D-II semifinals on Nov. 3. “She can certainly do the job of six rotations. She’s been outstanding.”

Sartin finished the season with a hit percentage over .300 (the team average was around .200) and a serve percentage over 90 percent.

Aidan Cox,Coe-Brown boys’ cross country

Few athletes have had high school careers as dominant as Cox. Despite being hampered by injuries, Cox finished runner-up in the D-II championship race to lead the Bears to their fifth straight team title and to 11th place in New England.

An injury flared up in the second mile of the championship race, but Cox still finished with a stellar 16 minute, 10.9 second 5K at Derryfield Park, where he won the Manchester Invitational earlier in the season.

Two weeks later, he ran a 15:45 to finish fifth individually in New England

“Just had some real bad timing to a setback with a muscle strain at (D-II) which ultimately affected Meet of Champions and New Englands,” said Aidan’s father and co-head coach, Tim Cox. “However, he did not consider dropping out of either (D-II) or not running New Englands as his team needed him.”

Co-head coach Brent Tkaczyk added: “Aidan is the hardest working and most dedicated runner that we have worked with over our careers. … As amazing as his middle and high school years have been, the best is yet to come for Aidan.”

A two-time D-II and two-time MOC champion, Cox finished in the top two in D-II all four years. The state record holder with a blistering 5K time of 14:58.8 (run at MOC his sophomore year), Cox is continuing his running career at the University of Virginia.

Susanna Zahn,Bow girls’ cross country

Zahn had consistently been a strong runner throughout her career, but burst onto the cross country scene as a senior, improving from 24th in D-II as a junior to finishing this season as a champion.

Not only is Zahn the 2022 individual D-II titleholder (something that the Bow girls’ program hasn’t accomplished since Gretchen Andrus won in 2004), she was undefeated against all D-II runners this season, losing only one race all year (to Portsmouth Christian’s Brianna Malone who ultimately finished second in New England).

Zahn won the Manchester Invitational (a meet featuring 70-plus teams from all over New England) in 18:16, 29 seconds ahead of the runner-up, and also won the 20-team Bobcat Invitational in 18:39, winning by 47 seconds.

Along with fellow senior Maya Brochu, the Falcons had a 1-2 punch as good as any in the state and finished the year in third in D-II, the best finish by Bow in D-II since 2008.

“She takes it so seriously and lives and breathes running,” head coach Dave Niemaszyk  said, commenting on   Zahn’s incredible drive. “She does all the things she needs to do, preparation, putting in the mileage, tightening up her form, those kinds of things. She does the little things that add up.”

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