GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

December 31, 2012

Top 10 Sports Moments of 2012

Compiled by Sports Editor Nick Curcuru, Photos by Allegra Boverman
Desi Smith and others

---- — 1. Construction for a new Newell Stadium begins

Newell Stadium has needed a renovation for more than a decade now, and in September, after years of fundraising efforts, ground was broken to begin work on a brand new stadium. The new Newell Stadium, which is slated to be finished in June, will have a new turf playing field and a regulation sized track surrounding the field surface.

2. Gloucester Triathlon and Run Gloucester Road Race fold

They were two of the largest and most popular races in Gloucester, but in 2012 the Gloucester Fisherman Triathlon and the Run Gloucester Road Race closed shop after just three and two years of competition respectively. High overhead costs were the problem for the wildly popular triathlon while the Run Gloucester Road Race was a victim of the areas saturated road race schedule, which features several popular and long standing races.

3. Gloucester’s U-16 Riptide soccer wins state title

Gloucester’s U-16 Riptide made history in June taking home Cape Ann Youth Soccer’s first state championship. The Riptide got into the championship round by the skin of its teeth with a wildcard berth but in the end there was no doubt who the best team in the state was. Gloucester picked up the title with a 2-1 win over Wilmington in the title game with Eli Horne scoring the game winner with an assist from Shaun Aspesi.

4. Two Gloucester track records go down

In February, Gloucester sprinter Bianca Giacalone ran an unforgettable race at the Northeastern Conference Indoor Track Championships at the Reggie Lewis Track Center in Boston. Giacalone’s 300m time of 42.78 set a new school record. Three months later, in May, Calvin Kipruto re-wrote the Gloucester track record book with a record setting performance in the 400m. At the Class B State Championship meet, Kipruto’s 400m time of 51.28 set the Gloucester High School record.

5. Rockport hockey has it’s most successful season

Since head coach Derek Papalegis took over as head coach of the Rockport hockey team, the Vikings have regularly seen success. In 2012 the Vikings set the bar a little higher with a 13-6-1 record and their first ever berth in the sectional semifinals. The season came to a climax in March when Rockport bested Marblehead, an old nemesis that eliminated Rockport from tournament contention twice in the previous three seasons, in the quarterfinals to move on to the semifinals for the first time.

6. Unforgettable seine boat race

This summer’s St. Peter’s Fiesta men’s seine boat finals may go down as the most exciting race in the sport’s history, and it is tough to imagine a race matching the drama in the future. Eventual winner Closing Time battled runner-up Wharf Rats and three time defending champion Kaos down to the wire in this classic race. Closing Time finished in first by about 1/4 of a boat while less than a half boat separated all three crews, for the duration of the 1-mile row.

7. Audrey Knowlton scores 1,000 points

Gloucester’s Audrey Knowlton, a model of consistency in her four years at Gloucester High School, became the fifth girl and 10th player in Gloucester High School basketball history to reach the 1,000 point mark. Knowlton completed the milestone in February at Danvers on a jump shot from the free throw line. Knowlton is currently a Freshman in college playing for New York Institute of Technology.

8. Manchester Essex boys hoop dominates the CAL

Despite being one of the three smallest schools (by a wide margin) in the shark tank that is the Cape Ann League, the Manchester Essex boys basketball team ran roughshod over the league with an 18-2 regular season record, best in the entire league, and a 19-3 mark overall. The Hornets, led by CAL MVP Chris Bishop and senior captains Sean Nally and Joe Burgess to name a few, played with a fan friendly run and gun style where they frequently outworked and out-hustled opponents en route to the CAL title.

9. Rockport softball has been season in program history

A year removed from its first Cape Ann League title in school history, the Rockport softball team set the bar even higher in 2012 with not only a CAL Division 3 title, but a deep tournament run. The Vikings topped North Shore Tech and Whittier Tech in the first and quarterfinal rounds to make its first trip to the Division 3 North Semifinals. Rockport was led by senior pitcher Kristin Turner, who was named CAL Division 3 Player of the Year.

10. Week to remember for Manchester Essex boys soccer

The Manchester Essex boys soccer team appeared to be dead in the water entering the final week of the regular season. The Hornets had pretty much no margin for error needing to go 3-0-1 in it’s final four games, all coming in a weeks time, but the Hornets did just that beating two teams that had previously beaten them (Rockport, Ipswich) en route to the state tournament. The run started with a win over Rockport and the Hornets rode the wave of momentum into the postseason.