Monitor announces athletes, teams, coaches of the year

  • Concord senior Elizabeth Blinn was a force on the basketball court but was equally effective while playing volleyball and softball. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

  • Hopkinton senior Quinn Whitehead was also a three-sport star, excelling in lacrosse, soccer and basketball.  JEFF SULLIVAN / SullivanEventPhotography.com

  • The Concord High varsity boys ice hockey team celebrates its championship victory over Bedford on March 12, 2022. The Crimson Tide defeated the Bulldogs 3-0. Rich Miyara / NH Sports Photography

  • Hopkinton players congratulate forward Loren Charron (right) during the first half against Derryfield on Wednesday evening, Novemeber 3, 2021 at Manchester Memorial. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

Published: 6/18/2022 4:14:11 PM

At the conclusion of each sports season, the Monitor sports desk announces its top athletes from the previous months. In June, though, we also take a broader view as we revisit the accomplishments and triumphs that area athletes and teams made throughout the school year.

These are our 2021-22 winners. This list encompasses all 15 schools within the coverage area and it was no small task to pinpoint the winners amid the many worthy candidates. Unlike the fall, winter and spring editions, we have decided to also add in one boys and one girls team of the year. While individual recognition is critical, high school sports are predicated on a team atmosphere and the lessons that playing with a team provides for a student-athlete. The teams we have chosen stood out both in and out of their respective sport.

And lastly, we are pleased to announce a coach of the year. Much like the teams of the year, we chose one boys’ coach and one girls’ coach. 

Girls’ athlete of the year:Elizabeth Blinn, Concord

Blinn is among the few athletes who played a sport each season throughout the year. Her three of choice, volleyball, basketball and softball, all saw success for the Crimson Tide this school year. All three of the teams made the postseason, and she was a captain of each team.

She set the record for most blocks in a career for Concord’s volleyball program with 166 as part of a 12-8 season that included an upset win over No. 7 Portsmouth in five sets during the preliminary round.

Blinn’s prowess stayed in the gym as one of Concord’s star basketball players, but she was set back by an injury and missed a few games in the early portions of the season. When she returned, the Tide rattled off 10 straight wins and earned the No. 4 seed in the Division I tournament. She collected First-Team All-State honors, too, as voted on by the New Hampshire Basketball Coaches Organization.

Lastly, the senior closed out her career with the Crimson Tide on the diamond as the softball team’s first and third baseman. She was in the clean-up spot of Concord’s batting line-up and helped paved the way for its second consecutive Division I runner-up finish.

Blinn will continue her athletic career at Bentley University in Waltham, Massachusetts, as a member of its volleyball team.

Boys’ athlete of the year: Quinn Whitehead, Hopkinton

Whitehead also was a three-sport athlete and managed to keep himself busy throughout his career with the Hawks.

He spent his fall as a member of the Hopkinton boys’ soccer team where he earned First-Team All-State recognition for his play at forward. Hopkinton went 15-2 and earned the No. 2 seed for the Division III tournament. The Hawks were upset in the second round by No. 10 Bishop Brady, 3-2.

Whitehead then transitioned from the field to the gym as a forward on the basketball team that faced high expectations heading into the season. Hopkinton finished as runners-up in 2021 and with a large portion of its talent returning, it collected the second seed but lost to No. 7 Mascoma Valley in the quarterfinal round. Whitehead for his winter efforts earned Honorable Mention in Division III.

Finally, in the spring, Whitehead helped captain the Hawks’ boys’ lacrosse team back to the Division III state championship behind a regular-season record of 12-2. An attack, Whitehead had found the back of the net often for Hopkinton and in the 12-10 loss to Laconia in the title game, he scored four goals. He earned First-Team All-State honors this spring, making him the only area male athlete to earn All-State recognition in three sports. 

Girls’ team of the year: Hopkinton girls’ soccer

It was the Hawks’ championship to lose this season and despite some initial close games during the playoffs, they successfully won their fourth consecutive Division III championship. Hopkinton cemented its legacy behind its 2-1 win over No. 3 St. Thomas in early November as it won the program’s ninth championship.

The Hawks had a perfect season at 19-0 and had an impressive six All-State selections.

Boys’ team of the year: Concord ice hockey

It’s well-known that if you want to be the best, you have to beat the best, but Concord still remains at the top of the Division I circuit despite other programs’ best efforts.

The Crimson Tide capped the 2021-22 season by winning their third consecutive championship, a 3-0 final over Bedford in March at SNHU Arena. Concord won its first 12 games of the season before the first blemish appeared on its record, a 2-2 tie against Hanover on Valentine’s Day.

Concord earned both the top seed and a first-round bye in the tournament as it won its quarterfinal and semifinal games against Salem and Hanover by a combined 10-2.

With their third consecutive championship and 11th overall, the Tide finished the season 19-0-2 with five All-State selections, highlighted by junior center Brooks Craigue earning Division I Player of the Year. 

Girls’ coach of the year: Mike Zahn, Hopkinton soccer and lacrosse

Zahn is one of the few coaches in the Monitor’s coverage area to run two separate programs, and he’s been successful, but 2021-22 might be a year to remember.

He guided two Hopkinton squads to state championship victories with girls’ soccer in the fall and girls’ lacrosse in the spring. Zahn has been the head coach for both programs since the 2018-19 school year and in that time he’s won a combined six championships.

Boys’ coach of the year: Dunc Walsh, Concord ice hockey

Once again, Walsh took home the Division I championship trophy for Concord. Walsh has been the coach of the Crimson Tide since the early 1990s and winning championships – nine of them to be exact – isn’t anything new, but of course the most recent one is always the most special.

Walsh has a career record of 537-184-22 behind the bench for the Tide and in 2022 guided them to win their ninth championship under him. This season proved to be a difficult one as well with a young, inexperienced defensive core, consistent injuries and always the threat of a COVID outbreak. Yet, he navigated Concord through all of it and accomplished the yearly goal of retaining the title.


Matt Parker bio photo

Matt Parker is a sports reporter at the Monitor and started in August 2021. He is an Ohio native and relishes being from the Buckeye state. A proud graduate of Ohio University located in Athens, Ohio, he served as the sports editor for the student-run newspaper, The Post, from 2019-20. When not at a game or chasing around a coach, you can catch him playing his guitars or looking for the next Peanuts memorabilia piece to add in his growing collection.



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