Thayer Athletics in the News
Thayer Academy student excels on court and classroom
PHOTO/ PHOTO COURTESY OF CAMERAWORK, USA
Sasa Jovanovic is a rising star in junior tennis circles.
Weymouth’s Sasa Jovanovic dropped both matches in the New Balance High School Championships last week at Harvard University’s court in Allston, but she gained valuable experience playing against the top juniors in the world.
Sasha Harcie of Bloomfield Hills, Mich., edged Jovanovic in the opening round, 4-6, 6-1, 6-3; and Molly Paradies of Atlanta, Ga., ousted the Weymouth player in the consolation round, 6-2, 6-3, but they are many more tournaments ahead for the young and talented Jovanovic.
During the spring, she had an outstanding season for Thayer Academy, playing her way to the coveted No. 1 singles spot and. Jovanovic went 11-1 during the season. It earned her a berth on the Patriot-Ledger All-Scholastic squad.
The loss was Jovanovic’s first loss in two years at Thayer. Milton Academy’s Maddie Dewire of Hingham, whom she beat as freshman, was the victor in their rematch.
But tennis is more than just a one-season sport. You must play 12 months a year to become a rising star and Jovanovic certainly is considered a promising junior.
Jovanovic is ranked ninth in New England among rising juniors by tennisrecruiting.net and 11th in USTA New England girls’ 16 singles.
In the classroom she is as talented as on the tennis court. Jovanovic is a high-honors student and a member of several school clubs, including the Model UN, TA Trends (a fashion club), the debate club and jazz combo.
The New Balance event is in high school tennis, which is way they sponsor the event.
“New Balance believes the high school tennis player will be a tennis player for life, and we are proud to recognize the commitment these athletes have to the game,” said Bruce Schilling, General Manager of Tennis for New Balance. “We are also excited to build relationships with the high school state athletic associations through this new and exciting event and work with them to develop ongoing programs and services for individual players and coaches.”
As for the New Balance tourney, in the final match for the Boys’ Division, Matt Kuhar of Smithfield, R.I., beat Matt Cancilla of Huntington Beach, Calif. In the final match for the Girls’ Division, Madison Clarke of Phoenix, defeated Jenna Moustafa of Los Angeles, Calif.
Each earned a bonus for their victories.
They were awarded wildcard spots in an International Tennis Federation (ITF) junior event held in the U.S. prior to the 2014 US Open Junior Championships.
The student response to Chris Herren's visit was overwhelmingly enthusiastic. In small-group discussions after the presentation, students said they appreciated how he didn't preach and how he took responsibility for his part in the nightmare. They liked hearing about how students at other schools had shared their own stories with him, and were reassured when he emphasized that nobody had to face such problems alone. They were intrigued that his stories had sparked a larger conversation, and took to heart his message about getting comfortable with your true self.
In the Hale Theater on Monday, September 22nd, Chris Herren held 480 Upper School students spellbound. His story was gritty and real, his sincerity, irresistible. As he spoke a new and surprising picture of drug addiction emerged.
Chris Herren's life has been like a classic tragedy, with one exception: In this story, the hero doesn't rise to great heights only to crash and burn. Yes, he does crash, but then he picks himself up and perseveres. For a while, it did seem that the All-American athlete had become (in the words of one rehab counselor) “a no-good washed-up junkie” and that his fabled narrative had come to an end. Fortunately, Chris Herren’s story is far from over, because after years of battling his illness, after finally understanding that the disease of addiction was stronger than he was, he decided to accept help from others. He agreed to seek treatment and is now in recovery.
Chris reaches out to young people, hoping to prevent them from suffering the consequences that wreaked havoc on his family, destroyed his basketball career, and nearly cost him his life. He wants to be a voice for the kids who can’t speak for themselves: the ones who are bullied, who live with depression, who cut or burn themselves, who consider suicide, who turn to alcohol and drugs.
At a young age, Chris Herren was a local legend and a national sensation. A superstar on his high school basketball team, and a standout player in college, he ultimately made it to the NBA, playing for the Denver Nuggets and the Boston Celtics. He married his high school sweetheart, had three beautiful children, and was living the dream – until it morphed into a living nightmare.
Chris pointed out that most cautionary tales about drug abuse focus on the end: the struggle to kick the habit, the horror of withdrawal symptoms, the devastation of loss. He suggests that we look at the beginning instead. He asks, “What does Day One look like?” Day One looks pretty harmless: It looks like a party. Chris said that for him it began, "with a red Solo cup and a blunt.” Then he paused for an uncomfortably long moment to let that image sink in before making this understatement: “Nobody starts out wanting to become an addict.” The problem is that nobody knows who’s susceptible until it’s too late.
Each person in the audience felt that Chris Herren was speaking directly to him or her, and each person felt the urgency in his voice when he shared his wish list.
He wishes he had known that…
- Because alcoholism ran in his family, he was 40 times more likely to succumb to addiction
- 90% of all addictions begin in the teenage years
- When he spent $20 for his first 40-mg hit of OxyContin, it would grow into a 1600-mg-a-day habit that would cost him $25,000 a month
- The little yellow pill he held in the palm of his hand would become a syringe that would stay in his arm for the next 8 years
- Using alcohol and drugs was a way of hiding from his true self
He said he wished he had liked himself enough; enough to skip the drugs and alcohol; enough to fit in without becoming someone else. He asked, “What’s so bad about being yourself? Why do you think you need to change who you are?”
It was a forward-thinking group of parents who pooled their resources to bring Chris Herren on campus. Thayer students are lucky to have heard such a dynamic speaker on a subject of such grave importance. Chris Herren says “The Game Has Changed,” and he is so right about that. The game changer is the widespread availability of those little pills (OxyContin, Percocet – the painkillers that are so common at high school and college parties nowadays).
Everyone knows that heroin is bad. Not everyone knows that the pills have the same active ingredient as heroin; that they cause as many, if not more deaths from overdose. Those pills are expensive, too. Once you’re hooked, nobody (not even a professional basketball player) can keep up with the cost of feeding that habit. And once you’re hooked, heroin doesn’t seem so bad because it’s affordable and it keeps you from feeling sick. This is what was so surprising about Chris Herren’s story: It shows that heroin addicts no longer look like down-and-out homeless people. Now, they look like our friends, family members, and neighbors. The profile of a typical heroin addict now includes A students, Division I athletes, and charismatic people with a promising future like Chris Herren.
To find out more about the relationship between prescription drugs and heroin addiction, check this article from the Huffington Post, or this one from golocalworcester.com, and this one from time.com.
To learn more about Chris Herren, you might want to see the ESPN film Unguarded, or read Fall River Dreams by Bill Reynolds, or Chris Herren’s 2011 memoir Basketball Junkie. You can get a sense for his speaking style through this CBS News “Note to Self” and this TEDx piece. There is also a wealth of resources at www.theherrenproject.org. You can contact The Herren Project by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or phone (401.243.8590).
Thayer's Legendary Un-Un-Un Football Team (1964) finished with a season record that has yet to be matched in the state of Massachusetts. (Pictured here: Coach Arthur Valicenti' 51 P '75 '75 '77 '10 '14 '14 and Frank Badger '67)
In 1964, Thayer’s football team was un-defeated, un-tied, and un-scored upon. This fall marks the 50th anniversary of that storied season. The team was inducted into Thayer's Sports Hall of Fame in in 1995, and on Friday, September 12, they were honored at the New England Patriots' Hall of Fame, in a ceremony attended by former members of the team and coaches from that era. Read the Patriot Ledger article about the celebration in The Hall at Patriot Place »
First Row A. Denly, R. Cheney, J. Hayes, R. Wagner, B. Thayer, E. McNeil, R. Walters, B. Cavanagh, D. Johnson, G. Bone, M. Potsaid, M. Georges. Second Row Mr. Benelli, Mr. Litchfield, F. Thompson, W. Pierce, D. Condon, A. Rando,W. McGrath, T. Flaman, P. O'Brien, D. Swan, Mr. Valicenti, Mr. Driscoll. Third Row L. Beal, B. McLeod, B. Gallagher, T. Likos, G. Crowell, J. Heller, F. Badger, R. Whitney, R. Pope, P. Oldfield Fourth Row A. Goodwin, M. Dushman, M. Potsaid, B. Brougham, M. Correia, R. Leatherbee, W. Wagner, R. Marquis, R. Frankel, J. SanClement
It was a season for the record books, and the story is best told by the editors of the 1965 edition of The Black & Orange:
This past year concluded the most successful season in the history of our school. It was definitely a team effort as the team displayed rugged determination, unity, good sportsmanship, and, most important, individual pride in achieving its “un-un-un” goal. The scoring was well distributed, with "Magilla Gorilla" Georges, "Jigger" Johnson, and Co-captain Bob Walters leading the way. Through the airways, Bob Gallagher passed frequently to Bill Cavanagh and Greg Bone, his all-prep ends, in accomplishing a 50% completion average. Offensive team highlights were a total of 2,204 yards rushing for the year, and 272 points scored, an average of 34 points a game.
Of course, the big thing was the "nothing" registered by other teams against our great defense, led by "Ripper Mature'', "Little Mature" Hayes, and Co-Captain Willy "Lump Lump".' Their efforts also resulted in seven blocked kicks, four safeties, and only one team gaining more than 1OO yards rushing, that being Thompson. Also, the offensive line did an outstanding job in blocking for our backs.
Although twelve of the fourteen seniors were starters, next year's captains-elect Bob Gallagher and Dave Condon hope to lead their team to another successful season. Incidentally, Mike Georges, Greg, and Billy were all-prep selections, a fact which, along with seven or eight honorable mentions, made us the most highly-rated, in terms of quantity and quality, of any prep-school team in Massachusetts.
Stew Curran, head coach of the ISL's 2014 championship boys' lacrosse team earned himself a spot in his alma mater's Hall of Fame. Plymouth State University announced on August 27th that Coach Curran would join his fellow iconic alumni to be celebrated as an accomplished student-athlete. To read on, click the link below.
Kelcie Finn, a graduate of the class of 2013 is making an impact on Trinity Field Hockey this season. She's already made an impact during her short freshman season leading the league in points tallied as an attacker. Congrats Kelcie!
Ivy Arlia earned All-League honors to end her junior season at Thayer in addition to being team captain, team MVP and Patiriot Ledger All-Scholastic. Over the summer, she was selected to play in the Under-Armour All-America lacrosse game, she was added to Inside Lacrosse's feature on the game as a player to watch. Lastly, Ivy was named to US Lacrosse's 2014 All-American team. Congrats Ivy!
Rising senior Jake Ratti played for the Massachusetts championship team in the New England Amateur Junior Invitational golf tournament at Ledgmenont Country Club in Seekonk last week. Click the article to read on about Jake's accomplishments.
Bryn Boucher, a sophomore lacrosse player at the University of Maryland experienced history on Sunday as her team won Maryland it's twelfth National Championship in program history. The Maryland Terps faced a tough Syracuse team who got a slow start to the game but stayed patient on attack and kept the game interesting. Ultimately, the Terps were able to hold a 3-goal lead ending the game 15-12 in Maryland's favor. Congrats, Bryn!
Check out the article below that ranks Thayer as the state's strongest lacrosse team. Check out the highlight reel from the Thayer vs. Nobles game (April 9, 2014).
BostonLax Final Regular Season Statewide Poll
Congratulations to Rebecca McGovern '10, who has been named to the 2014 Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association All-America team! Rebecca also received All-Regional honors and was named NESCAC Player of the Week twice this season. Read more about her selection below.
Congrats to senior lacrosse standout Tyler Blaisdell who made the 2014 Under Armour All-American Team. Check out the full 2014 roster -- Tyler can be found under the Boys' North Team divison.