By Nick Curcuru and Jeff Lander
This spring sports season brought us many memorable moments from both teams and individuals. It would be impossible to mention them all but here are the best of the best from this spring season.
MVP: Taylor Meek, Manchester Essex girls lacrosse. While she's only a Sophomore, Meek has a wealth of experience playing high school lacrosse at a high level as she has been with the team since she was a seventh grader. This season, however, she took her game to the next level becoming a legitimate offensive force for a Hornets team that could compete with any team in Division 2 North. Meek broke the 60 mark this season and helped lead Manchester Essex to a dramatic 11-10 win over Newburyport in the Division 2 North first round. In that game Meek scored the game winner.
Honorable Mention: Michelle Fuca, Manchester Essex girls tennis; Joe Burgess, Manchester Essex baseball; Kristin Turner, Rockport softball; Coltyn Rivas, Gloucester boys lacrosse.
Best Team: Manchester Essex girls tennis. The Hornets (17-2) may have lost in the Division 3 North Quarter Finals, but make no mistake about it, they were the most dominant team on Cape Ann this spring. The Hornets had the unfortunate break of drawing Bedford in the Division 3 North Quarter Finals, a team that would beat them 3-2 and a team that was so good the Hornets found themselves indirectly playing for a state title in their first tournament game.
Up and down the lineup Manchester Essex was stacked. No. 1 singles Michelle Fuca finished the year unbeaten while the No. 1 doubles tandem of Rachel Daley and Molly Carlson were voted All Cape Ann League. The Hornets also began the year on a 17 match winning streak.
Honorable Mention: Rockport softball.
Breakout Player: Tie, Calvin Kipruto, Gloucester boys track; Jason Vizena, Gloucester baseball. This award was not big enough for just one recipient as both Kipruto and Vizena burst onto the scene in big ways this spring. Kipruto, a Sophomore sprinter, improved by leaps and bounds this spring and made the transition from a good runner, to one of the most feared sprinters in the Northeastern Conference. Kipruto broke the school record in the 400m at the Class B State meet and then broke it again in the teams season finale against Revere in a time under 51 seconds. The scariest thing is Kipruto has two more years to build on that record. The Northeastern Conference has already taken notice, before he done running at Gloucester High School the state may also take notice.
On the baseball diamond Vizena went from a sparingly used reserve and role player as a Sophomore to the team's staff ace and top hitter as a junior. Vizena picked up a win in his first career state tournament start and was a staple in the middle of Gloucester's batting order this spring. Both are spots that Vizena will have locked down in 2013.
Honorable Mention: Lorenzo Colosanti, Gloucester boys tennis; Melodie Orrell, Gloucester girls lacrosse; Elizabeth McCormack, Gloucester girls track.
Unsung Hero: Amanda Chalmers, Rockport softball. Chalmers may not have been the league MVP like teammate Kristin Turner or put up gaudy hitting numbers like Gabby Muniz and Mollie Watson, but Chalmers had just as big an impact on the team then anybody. Chalmers, a Cape Ann League All Star, gave the Hornets invaluable defense at second base and leadership qualities on and off the field. She also improved on her game offensively turning into one of the most productive hitters on the team by season's end.
Honorable Mention: Matt Corwin, Manchester Essex baseball; Carolyn Heslop, Manchester Essex girls lacrosse;
Best Game: Rockport softball vs. Whittier Tech, Division 3 North Quarter Finals. There were plenty of games to choose from this spring but this one had the drama and the importance to trump them all. Trailing 3-2 heading into the bottom of the seventh inning the Vikings were down to their final strike on multiple occasions only to have Chalmers come through with a walk-off two RBI single to propel the Vikings into the Division 3 North Semi Finals for the first time in school history.
Honorable Mention: Manchester Essex boys tennis vs. Pentucket, Division 3 North Quarter Finals, a 3-2 Hornets win; Manchester Essex baseball vs. Northeast, Division 3 North Quarter Finals, a 1-0 Northeast win.