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Area high school sports players ready to take next step in college

  • Merrimack Valley’s Kyle Dube will play at Colby-Sawyer College. Elizabeth Frantz / Monitor file

  • Merrmiack Valley's Coby Mercier sprints past the Manchester Central defense on Thursday during a Division II boys' lacrosse playoff game in Penacook. Jason Orfao

  • Bow running back Steven Guerrette powers through Plymouth defenders Sean Griffiths (82) and Joe Cleary (40) during the first half on Saturday, September 7, 2019. GEOFF FORESTER

  • Bow’s Taylor Burnham is heading to Stonehill College in Easton, Mass. Elizabeth Frantz / Monitor file

  • Chelsea Woodsum

  • Hanover's Patrick Daley (2) stretches for the puck in front of the Bow goal during its game in West Lebanon, N.H., on Dec. 15, 2018. Bow's Jacob Mielcarz, back, tries to force Daley out of range. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Jennifer Hauck

  • Brett Patnode starred in two sports at John Stark, ice hockey and baseball, but he’ll be sticking to baseball at American International College in Springfield, Mass. Jason Orfao / Monitor file

  • Merrmiack Valley senior Coby Mercier (11) changes direction with John Stark's Ian Combs (12) defends and teammate Nathan Innerfield (38) pursues on Thursday during a Division II boys' soccer game in Penacook. Jason Orfao

  • John Stark offensive lineman Joshua Booker greets running back Nikos Biskaduros (26) after he scored the Generals first touchdown during the first half against Merrimack Valley to start the 2019 football season on Friday night, September 6, 2019. GEOFF FORESTER

  • Ellie Owen scored the game-winning goal for Hopkinton when they repeated as girls’ soccer champs last fall. Owen will be playing soccer at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor file

  • Hopkinton's Katie Meserve (7) gets congratulated after scoring her second goal against Bishop Brady on Friday, October 4, 2019. GEOFF FORESTER

  • Hopkinton midfielder Colby Quiet gets off a shot even after the best effort to stop him by Plymouth midfielder Vance Acton during the first period at Laconia High School during the Division III semi-finals on Wednesday June 6, 2018. GEOFF FORESTER

Monitor staff
Published: 5/17/2020 4:52:00 PM

Merrimack Valley’s Kyle Dube lost his senior season before anyone had even heard of the coronavirus.

After leading the Pride boys’ basketball team to the Division II semifinals in 2018 and 2019, the 6-foot-4 Dube tore the ACL and meniscus in his left knee in the summer of 2019 and had to watch from the bench as the Pride struggled to a 2-16 record without him this season.

“It was tough, especially after we made it to the semis that last couple of years, and like my only goal ever was to win a state championship for our school, so it was tough to know that now I can’t do that,” Dube said. “But I’ve always been a person where, it happened, I can’t change it, so there’s no point in complaining about it. Things happen.”

That attitude helped buoy Dube through the season. Knowing that he was going to keep playing at Colby-Sawyer College also helped.

“It’s not like I’m done playing competitive basketball,” Dube said.

He’s not the only local high school senior who will keep competing next year. At MV alone there at least five other student-athletes who will test their talents at the next level, including some who missed the senior season of their favorite sport due to the coronavirus

“Oh yeah, I know exactly how they feel, like my friend Coby (Mercier), he had to miss his senior season of lacrosse,” Dube said.

Like Dube, Mercier will keep playing next year as he plans to join the men’s lacrosse team at Rivier University. Other Merrimack Valley seniors who are planning to play sports in college include Emma York (women’s cross country/track, University of New Hampshire), Theresa Irving (track, Southern New Hampshire University), Jesse Hirway (men’s lacrosse, Plymouth State), Sadie Merrow (softball, Plymouth State) and Logan Cassin (men’s soccer, New England College).

Seniors who lost their spring sports season can look to Dube for inspiration on what to do when the games get taken away. Even though he couldn’t play because of his injured knee, he went to every MV boys’ basketball practice and game this winter and did what he could to help the team and improve himself.

“I got to be an assistant coach on the JV team, and I want to be a coach when I’m older, so it was nice,” Dube said. “And I would do a lot in our varsity games, too, and say my piece and stuff. Obviously I would rather be playing, but it was still a cool experience.”

Dube is back to playing now, shooting in his driveway for an hour or two every day. He started running last month and is working hard to get into shape for the next level, where he’ll be joining 2019 Concord High grad Scott Lampron on the Colby-Sawyer team.

“I know Scott and we talked a little bit,” Dube said. “I’ve played a lot of pickup with him and we played Concord a few times in the preseason. He dropped like 14 3s on us in one game, so I was like, yeah, that sounds like a guy I want to have on my team.”

Bow High School

Two of the seniors that helped the 2019 Bow football team to a 10-1 record and a spot in the Division II semifinals had very similar choices when it came to playing college football. Both Steven Guerrette and Andrew Berube could have gone to the University of New Hampshire as preferred walk-ons and tried their hand at the D-I level. They also could have stayed even closer to home and played D-II college football at Saint Anselm. Instead, they both chose to go to D-III schools in Maine.

Berube, who was a First Team D-II North offensive lineman as a junior and senior, will be going to the University of New England in Biddeford, Maine.

“The three schools I was picking from were all very different, and very different levels of football,” Berube said. “I wasn’t going to get athletic scholarships from any of them, so money wasn’t a factor for me. So, I just picked the school that I liked the most on my visit. And I really liked UNE, the whole campus was very nice, and the athletic facilities were all new and really nice, too. And I like being on the water and being so close to the beach, that was cool for me, too.”

Berube was also an outstanding defensive lineman for Bow, but he’ll be sticking to the offensive line at UNE. He hopes to get into a rotation for playing time as a freshman, assuming the coronavirus precautions have eased enough for college athletics to resume in the fall.

“I heard that (UNE) is planning in-person classes for the fall, so if they’re doing that it seems to me like they would have sports, too,” Berube said.

Guerrette, a running back, defensive back ad punter, was a unanimous choice for D-II North Player of the Year in 2019 after running for 1,311 yards and 21 touchdowns and leading the Falcons in tackles. He was also a D-II North First Team pick at running back as a junior.

In addition to UNH and Saint Anselm, he also had options to play at American International College, Bentley, Plymouth State, Massachusetts Maritime Academy and other D-III schools, but in the end he chose Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, for its location and academics.

After playing on soccer teams together for most of their lives, including the last four seasons for the Bow girls’ varsity soccer team, twins Lindsey and Taylor Burnham will be going their separate ways to play college soccer, and they will likely play against each other. Lindsey will be playing at Southern Connecticut State University and Taylor will be at Stonehill College in Easton, Mass. Both schools are in the D-II Northeast-10 Conference and last year they played each other in the NE-10 women’s soccer quarterfinals with SCSU claiming a 1-0 win.

Like Berube, Bow’s Jake Mielcarz will be going to UNE. Mielcarz, the 2019 Monitor Golfer of the Season, will play golf for the Nor’Easters. And Riley Elliot, who had the walk-off hit to win the 2019 D-II NHIAA baseball title for Bow, is going to SNHU and planning to walk on to the baseball team, where he could join 2019 Bow High grad Connor Blandini.

John Stark RegionalHigh School

Most student-athletes stick to one sport when they get to college, but not Stark’s Chelsea Woodsum, who plans on playing both soccer and basketball at Nazareth College in Rochester, N.Y. She also wants to cram in more academics than your average college student.

“I mainly chose Nazareth for the occupational therapy program, it’s accelerated, so I can get my degree in a shorter amount of time,” said Woodsum, who surpassed the 1,000-point plateau this winter for the Stark girls’ basketball team and was a D-II First Team pick. “And I can play both basketball and soccer, so that’s a huge thing for me, a lot of other schools weren’t providing me with both.”

Stark’s Nikos Biskaduros is also going to try and play two sports at Massachusetts Maritime Academy – football and track and field. Brett Patnode starred in two sports at Stark, ice hockey and baseball, but he’ll be sticking to baseball at American International College in Springfield, Mass. AIC has a D-II baseball program, but its hockey team is D-I.

“I think I’ll just watch the hockey games,” Patnode laughed.

Like Woodsum, Stark’s Christian Barr hit the 1,000-point mark this winter. He’ll be staying local and playing for the men’s basketball team at Plymouth State. Other Stark seniors planning on playing at the next level are Anna Stenger (women’s basketball, Rivier Collge), Anna Salisbury (women’s lacrosse, Colby-Sawyer College) and Tryten Williams (baseball, Plymouth State).

“Our senior class was one of the most successful in terms of playoff appearances and state championships,” John Stark athletic director Mark Searles said in an email. “But beyond their success on the field more importantly is their positive impact they had on the school community at John Stark. They were positive role models for their peers as well as younger students in the district. They will be missed by coaches and teammates. I feel very sad that the senior spring athletes will not be able to represent the school one last time.”

Hopkinton High School

This senior class played a major role in Hopkinton winning nine state championships during the 2018-19 school year, when they were juniors. So, it makes sense that 12 of them are looking to play college sports, but 12 is a remarkable number considering the school has about 280 total students.

Colby Quiet led the Hawks to a third straight D-III boys’ lacrosse title last spring, and Meg Blanchette led the softball team to the 2019 D-III title, and both of them will be playing those sports at Keene State. Emma Rothe and Lily Sabol were at the front of the pack for Hopkinton’s 2019 and 2020 D-IV girls’ Nordic championships, and the 2018 girls’ cross country title, and they will both be running at the next level – Rothe at St. Lawrence University in Canton, N.Y., and Sabol at St. Michael’s College in Vermont, where she will also compete for the Nordic team.

Ellie Owen scored the game-winning goal for the Hawks when they repeated as girls’ soccer champs in the fall of 2019 and she will be playing soccer at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. Danny Miner had the low score (76) for the Hopkinton golf team when it claimed the 2018 D-IV championship and he will be playing golf at Paul Smith’s College in upstate New York.

Avery Barrett, the 2019 D-III field hockey Offensive Player of the Year, and Katie Meserve helped the Hopkinton field hockey team to back-to-back final four appearances the last two seasons and they will both be playing college field hockey, Barrett at Skidmore and Meserve at Tufts University in Medford, Mass. Sophia Staples-Roy helped the Hawks to the 2019 girls’ lacrosse title and will be playing lax at Ohio Wesleyan.

Shepyrd Murdough and Elizabeth Berliner will both be trying out for teams at big schools in distant states – Murdough for cross country and track & field at the University of Tampa and Berliner for the Alpine ski team at Ohio State University. And Sydney Stockwell will be joining the women’s swim team at Stonehill College.

Concord High School

The Plymouth State softball team just had a pair of Concord High players for four years – 2019 graduates Cassidy Emerson and Debra Morrill – and the Panthers are getting another quality pair of Tide players for the next four years in Abby Corbett and Nicole Lebrun. Those two helped Concord to the 2018 D-I title as sophomore starters and Corbett, a catcher, was a First Team D-I pick in 2018 and 2019.

Gavin Graham won both the classic and freestyle races at this year’s D-I boys’ Nordic championship (after finishing second in both races last year) to lead the Crimson Tide to its 12th straight Nordic title. Graham will continue skiing at St. Michael’s College. Ella Doherty captained the Concord field hockey team to a spot in the 2019 D-I final and she will be playing field hockey at Wesleyan College in Middletown, Conn.

Three members of the Concord track & field team will keep running in college – Ryan Devine at Middlebury College, Sarah Waite at Bates College and Martin Vose O’Sullivan at UNH.

Pembroke Academy

Three PA seniors will be making the hour-trip west to play their sport at Keene State. Shea Shackford was the only non-senior starter for the Pembroke boys’ basketball team that won the 2019 D-II title, a 2019 D-II Honorable Mention and a 2020 D-II First Team pick, and he will be playing basketball for the Owls. Peter Apgar (baseball) and Alison Corriveau (field hockey) will also be competing at Keene State. And a pair of PA student-athletes will go to Castleton St. in Vermont to continue their athletic and academic careers – Jackson Frazier for Alpine skiing and Austin Wallace for men’s lacrosse.

The Pembroke softball team has been one of the best in D-II in recent years and it will be sending two Spartans off to play in college – Olivia McCarty at Husson University in Bangor, Maine, and Chloe Carignan at NHTI.

Nate Carter will try to play two sports at Thomas College in Waterville, Maine, ice hockey and lacrosse. The other Spartans competing at the next level include Shyanne LeSage (cheer, SNHU), Kayley Couture (track & field, Colby-Sawyer) and Madison Bailey (women’s soccer, Springfield College).

Bishop Brady High School

Jordan Wicklund will be going D-I in a sport that’s not even offered at Bishop Brady – equestrian at Delaware State. Kaylee Smith had to miss her last girls’ basketball season at Brady with an injury, but she’ll be playing roundball at the next level at D-III Bridgewater State University in Connecticut.

Tommy Fraser will be taking a shot at D-II men’s basketball at Saint Anselm, Haley Hildreth will be staying close to home to play women’s ice hockey at New England College and Jack Compton is planning to play football at Nichols College in Dudley, Mass.

Pittsfield High School

Devin Bedell was the 2019 D-IV Player of the Year as a junior when he helped Pittsfield to the D-IV final, and he’ll be playing baseball next year at New England College. The 6-foot-9 Quinn Bissonnette helped the Panthers to the D-IV boys’ basketball semifinals this winter and he plans on playing hoops at Great Bay Community College. And Haley Gillenney plans on playing for the NHTI women’s basketball team.

Pittsfield athletic director and boys’ basketball coach Jay Darrah had some thoughts on how the coronavirus has impacted student-athletes in small towns like Pittsfield.

“Athletics isn’t high on the priority list when it comes to concerns in our society when talking about the COVID-19 Pandemic. However, in smaller communities like ours, athletics is something that brings the community together. Without athletics there is a void and that void extends to our student-athletes,” Darrah said in an email. “I feel for all the spring student-athletes, but especially for the senior athletes who looked forward to hitting the diamond for their senior season. They’ll miss out on the opportunity to experience senior traditions and finish goals they set forth as freshman. As an athletic director and coach, I am thankful for what this group of seniors has brought our school and community and the work they have put into their programs. I am thankful for their time, their commitment and their dedication as Panthers.”

(Tim O’Sullivan can be reached at tosullivan@
cmonitor.com or on
Twitter @timosullivan20.)




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