Patriot Community Sports

Wrestlers Come Up Short in Last Home Meet against Winnacunnet, Win 2 of 3 at Plymouth

by Tommy Gates

The Blue Devils went on the road last Saturday and won two of their three matches in a quad meet with Milford, Newfound, and powerful Plymouth.  It was quite a successful day for coach Todd Oljey and his very young Blue Devils squad, and he had five of his wrestlers go unbeaten in their three matches on the day.  Freshmen Ryan Bolduc (103 pounds), Zach Hicks (112 pounds), Alex Lira (125 pounds), sophomore Brett Pittera (135 pounds), and captain Steve Comtois at 171 pounds were all able to go 3-0 on the day.  Salem beat Milford 58-18; they whitewashed Newfound 58-0; and then lost to Plymouth 51-26.  Sophomore Devin Deardon went 2-1 in his 119-pound weight, as did Cam Yergeau at 130 pounds, Jason Herrick at 140 pounds, Tyler Dietrich at 145 pounds, and Richie Cronin at 152 pounds, and Alex Norman earned a huge victory at 160 pounds.

Last Wednesday night, the Salem grapplers played host to the Winnacunnet Warriors and decided to start out at the 145-pound weight.  The Warriors took the first three matches and had an early 16-0 lead before senior captain Steve Comtois got four points back for the Blue Devils in the 171-pound group when he scored an 11-2 major decision.  Salem forfeited the next three matches because they didn’t have a wrestler at 189, 215, or 275 pounds, and Winnacunnet forfeited the 103-pound bout against freshman Ryan Bolduc, and that left the warriors with a 34-10 lead heading into the 112-pound match that saw freshman Zach Hicks dismantle his opponent 13-2 for a major decision victory.  Salem sophomore Devin Deardon lost a tough 125-pound contest, 5-0, but Cam Yergeau took a 6-3 victory at 130 pounds, and Brett Pittera closed things out with a 7-0 shellacking at 135 pounds.  The Blue Devils lost this 43-22, but coach Todd Oljey knows that his kids are ready for a great week of practice as they get ready for the Division 1 Tournament this weekend.  Oljey offered, “We are much improved over the last month or so and we can really start to see it.  All of our freshmen have pretty much seen it all and they are all excited to wrestle against some of the kids they lost to earlier in the year, to see how much they’ve improved.  I have never been one to get serious about dual meet records when you have a team that is almost exclusively made up of freshmen and sophomores, but we did start out the season with a 1-6 record and we finished up with a 9-10 dual meet record, so that tells me a lot about our kids.”

The Blue Devil grapplers will head to Nashua South High School and begin the Division 1 Tournament on Friday, February 20 starting at 4 p.m., and will continue Saturday morning beginning at 9 a.m.

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West Breaks Boys Wins Streak at Seven with 55-44 Upset, Start Another against Keene

by Tommy Gates

Yes, the Manchester West Blue Knights broke the Blue Devils seven-game win streak last Friday night, but coach E. J. Perry’s boys regrouped with a nice two-hour bus ride west Tuesday night to Keene, and they didn’t have any trouble starting another winning streak.  Coach Perry had nine of his kids hit the scorebook and eight three-pointers were sank in this game that saw Salem jump out to a 15-7 first quarter lead and breeze to a 70-49 triumph.  Mike Kimball, Josh Jones, and Alex LaRosa had a pair of three-pointers each and Mark Adamson and Matt Cannon each drilled a trey, as the Blue Devil offense was clicking on all eight cylinders.  Mike Kimball led all scorers with 24 points, LaRosa lit it up for 13 points, Josh Jones sank 11 points, and senior forward Sean Bergeron had a big game inside on the boards and had eight points in the paint.  The 10-3 Blue Devils will host the 7-5 Exeter Blue Hawks this Thursday night at Davis Gymnasium at Salem High.

The Blue Devils entered the week tied at 9-2 with Pinkerton for third place in the Class L standings, but Manchester West came to town Friday night with their own little surprise gunner named Besfort Syla.  Syla is a 5-foot-11-inch senior playmaker who would light up the Blue Devils for 24 points with several hoops coming off steals and end-to-end layups.  West led 14-12 after one period, but LaRosa kept the Blue Devils ahead at the half, 24-22, by hitting for 10 points and two three-pointers.  Syla did give the Blue Devils fits with his quickness but it was almost a carbon copy of the Blue Devils earlier game against Manchester Memorial, where they suffered a very cold night of shooting.  West outscored the Blue Devils 18-9 in the fourth quarter to come away with the 55-44 upset that dropped Salem’s Class L record to 9-3.  Mike Kimball led Salem with 21 points, LaRosa had 14 points, sophomore forward Joe Gallant had five points, and Josh Jones was held to four points for the Blue Devils.

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Swimmers Shine at State Meet at UNH

by Tommy Gates

The Salem boys swimmers tallied 90 points Saturday at the Swasey Pool at the University of New Hampshire (UNH) to finish in sixth place with 90 points, and the Salem girls accumulated 81 points on the day to take eighth place at the State meet, and this pleased coach Missy Rowell and assistant coach Lois Nardo.  Salem senior Mark Bacigalupo enjoyed his weekend as he finished second in the 100-yard backstroke in a time of 57.96 seconds, beaten only by Manchester Central’s Carter Pribis’ winning time of 55.63 seconds.  Bacigalupo also swam the 100-yard butterfly where he placed third in 57.52 seconds, as Concord’s Stephen Muzzey won that race in 56.55 seconds.  The Blue Devils also had two fourth place finishes in relay events and Mark Bacigalupo was a big part of both teams.  The 200-yard medley relay team of Bacigalupo, Christopher Foote, Matt Gaudet, and Dylan Endyke took fourth place in 1:50.07, with Bishop Guertin’s quartet winning in 1:45.72.  Salem’s 400-yard freestyle relay team of Gaudet, Endyke, Sean Merkle, and Bacigalupo took another fourth place ribbon in a time of 3:41.86.

Salem sophomore Caitlin Shea had a banner day for the Blue Devils as she finished second in the 200-yard freestyle in a time of 2:01.44, just a hair behind Manchester Central’s Katie Aldrich.  Caitlin’s sophomore Salem buddy Jackie Mayo was able to grab the fourth spot in this race in a time of 2:07.08.  Caitlin Shea also picked up a fourth place finish in the 200-yard intermediate in a time of 2:22.36, which was won by Dover’s Amber Long.  Salem’s 400-yard freestyle relay team of Mayo, Danielle Dickie, Zoe Nikitas, and Shea was able to grab a sixth place ribbon when they finished up in 4:02.33 as the Merrimack girls won that event.

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Hockey Breaks Out With 8-1 Sinking of Central, but Lose 4-2 Battle to Exeter

by Tommy Gates

Saturday night’s home game against Exeter at the Icenter was a win that the Blue Devils definitely needed if they were to have any shot at finishing in the top four seed before the playoffs started, and they certainly looked sharp in the first period when Joel Vastl scored midway through the opening period with the assist going to Aaron Mackey.  Salem had a 5 on 3 situation that they couldn’t score on, and the first period ended with Salem up 1-0, but the whole game completely changed just two and a half minutes into the second period.  With the puck along the boards deep in the Exeter end, Kenny Frazier and Dakota Mckenzie went in to check and try to get the puck free along the boards right in front of one official who kept an eye on the action, but the other official who was 50 feet away on the other side of the rink came rushing in blowing his whistle and handed out two Salem penalties to Frazier and McKenzie at the same time.  A look down at the Salem bench told me that coach McGinn was not at all pleased.  With two Salem players in the penalty box, Exeter tied it up with a 5 on 3 goal, and as Exeter scored that goal, the official whistled Cory Lavallee with a two-minute cross-checking penalty.  One minute later, the Blue Hawks had another power play goal and a 2-1 lead.  With 19 seconds left in the second period, Salem was whistled with yet another two minute penalty and Exeter scored another power play goal just 15 seconds in the third period for a 3-1 lead.  Exeter upped the lead to 4-1 with 11 minutes left as Liberatore stopped the first shot, but the blue Hawks scored on the rebound.  Jon Pettorutp scored to make it a 4-2 Exeter final, but Salem had another goal that was scored taken away with seven minutes left as one of the Exeter defenseman knocked the net off the pass, but that was never seen by the officials.  The 8-6 Blue Devils will be trying to beat Londonderry Wednesday night at Cyclones Arena in Hudson.

Scoring came early and often last Wednesday afternoon at the Icenter in Salem as coach Mark McGinn tried to stress the importance of how much these last six regular season games matter when it comes to getting home ice in the playoffs.  The Blue Devils must have listened to their fearless leader, as Manchester Central was in town with their 6-6 record, trying to pass Salem (7-5) in the standings, but the Blue Devils came out kicking.  Salem scored four first period goals and added a pair in the second and third period to slam Manchester Central 8-1.  Salem’s junior goalie Robbie Liberatore would only have to stop eight shots to earn the victory, but the one goal that the Little Green did score in the first period was a beauty that they earned.

It didn’t take the Blue Devils long to start lighting the lamp in this contest as Chris Smerdon scored just 1:10 into the game off a nice assist from Marc Baroni.  With 7:10 left in the first period, Joel Vastl scored a shorthanded goal from John Pettoruto to give the Blue Devils a 2-0 advantage.  With 3:24 left in the first period, a Central forward did a super piece of footwork getting around the Salem defender and went in on a 2 on 1 situation and put the puck up in the far upper corner to make it a 2-1 game.  Just 35 seconds later, it was junior Bryan Thibodeau’s turn to light it up as he took a pass from Kenny Frazier and tingled the twine for a 3-1 lead.  With two minutes left in the opening period, Joel Vastl struck again with the assists going to Chris Smerdon and Cory Lavallee.  After the goal, while both teams were milling around center ice for the upcoming face-off, a Central defender came up from behind Vastl and was seen talking some trash, trying to instigate a fight with Vastl, but the calm and collected Vastl just kept smiling and pointed up at the scoreboard that showed ‘Salem 4 Manchester Central 1,’ and then just skated away.  With 3:48 left in the second period, Marc Baroni hit the scorebook with a goal assisted by Chris Smerdon, and with 23.9 seconds left in the second period, Cory Lavallee scored with the assists going to Smerdon and Kenny Frazier, to give the Blue Devils a 6-1 cushion after two periods.  Mike Frahm and Dakota McKenzie would add third period goals to give coach McGinn’s Blue Devils the 8-1 verdict that gave them an 8-5 Division 1 record.

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Hard Playing, But Soft Scores for Saints

submitted by Tracey Durfee

The Saints Mite 1 team had an intense game against North Andover that ended in a 2-2 tie score.  Mason Healey scored both goals for the Saints with Noah Gilbert and Patrick Cohen getting the assists.  The game showcase impressive goaltending performances by Brandon Paiva and Daniel Smith

The Squirt 1 team went 1-1-0 over the weekend.  On Saturday the shorthanded Saints lost a very close game to Arlington at 2 to 0.  The other game was a win at 2 to 1 against Stoneham that showcase great goaltending by both teams.  Saints’ goals were scored by Nick Storniolo and Dylan Salvo.

The Squirt 2 team had a tough weekend loosing both of their games, to Marblehead, 4 to 0 and Woburn, 2 to 0.  These were two close games against the two top teams in their division. 

Saints PeeWee teams went 2-2-0 for the weekend.  The PeeWee 2 squad won against Haverhill 3 to 0 with Chris Ronan and Andrew Gosson teaming up to get the shutout.  The Saints got a goal in each period with the 3rd period goal by Nick Donnelly assisted by Dom Bruzzese and Nick Brooks sealing the win.  The other goals were scored by Dom Bruzzese and Jimmy Tokanel with assists going to Nick Donnelly, Brad Brock and Jake Yennaco.  The second game for PeeWee 2s was a win 3-0 Sunday night against Nashua with Ryan Montbleau, Dan Donovan and Chad Desaultels getting the goals. 

The PeeWee 3 team didn’t have the same luck as the P2s.  They lost to Stoneham, 8 to 3 at the beginning of the week and then a very close 2 to 1 loss to Burlington with Jacob Folley getting the lone goal.

Bantam Saints went 2 - 4 - 0 during the play week with the Bantam 1s 0 - 3 - 0, loosing to Reading 9 to 1, Exeter 6 to 5 and North Reading 5 to 3.  The Bantam 2 team recorded the two wins for the division, winning against Woburn 2 to 1 and getting a shut out against Marblehead at 3 to 0.  Rounding out the Bantams, the three-squad played a tough game loosing to Burlington 3 to 0.


Mite Saints.jpg

Mite Joey Carney skates hard against North Andover.

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Gymnasts Outstanding at NH

Phantom Gymnastics competed at the Level 4-6 Sectional meet in Dover on Saturday, January 31 and Sunday, February 1 to qualify for the state competition in March .  All 26 girls on the Phantom team easily qualified to the state meet, which requires a 33.0 or higher.  Many of the gymnasts are qualifying at new levels of competition this season.  Each session consists of a few teams from around the state.  Phantom gymnasts placed extremely well in their session, as well as the overall results for all two days sessions combined.

In the level 4 division all of the phantom gymnasts were in the 6-8 year old age group among 69 competitors.  Leah Faber (Salem) was second all around with a 37.75 for both sessions and overall.  She was first on bars 9.625 and tied for second on floor 9.525. 

Erin Faber (Salem) was sixth in the session and 10th in the overall with a 36.550.  Elizabeth Aldrich (Salem) was seventh in the session and 11th in the overall meet with a 36.450. 

Mikayla Hawkins (Windham) was ninth in the session and tied for 19th in the overall meet with a 35.8.  Jordan Wakim (Salem) was 15th with a 34.7 and Sydney Chretien (Salem) was 16th with a 33.95. 

Level 5 team also did well in the overall meet!  In the 7-8 year old division Sydney Bartlett (Salem) took second in the all around with a 35.175 in the overall meet, second on vault 8.25 overall, first in the session and second overall on beam with a 9.325 (first) on floor 8.95 (third overall).

Olivia Champagne (Salem) took fifth in the overall meet with a 34.275.

Age 9-10 Jessica Shatford (Pelham) took first in the overall meet with an all around 36.55, first; vault 8.8, second; bars 9.175 third; beam 9.35 fourth; floor 9.225 sixth.

In the Level 6 team, 9-10 year old division Sara Fisher (Pelham) took 11th in the overall meet with an all around of 34.7. 

For more all the results go to


Phantoms Sectionals.jpg

Front row:  Sydney Chretien (Salem), Anissa Sroka.  Second row:  Mikayla Hawkins (Windham), Katelyn Cadotte, Sydney Bartlett (Salem), Elizabeth Aldrick (Salem), Kacie Blanchette (Salem), Jordan Wakim (Salem), Ruth Mahoney, Morgan Suech, Victoria Boutin, Emma Thomson, Julianna Irrabino.  Third row:  Olivia Champange (Salem), Leah Faber (Salem), Erin Faber (Salem), Jillian Parnigoni, Jesssie Shatford (Pelham), Michelle George, Haley Shaw, Sara Fisher (Pelham), Jessica Blaine, Alexis Pugh.  Fourth row:  Lucy Tibbetts, Abby Lindsy, and Emily Davison.

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Gymnasts Compete in ‘Cupid’s Twist’

submitted by Cathy Robertson-Souter

What better way to celebrate St. Valentine’s Day than getting a good workout?  The Gym-Ken Gymnastics girls gymnastics teams celebrated February 14 at the Cupid’s Twist competition in Bow, taking home second place team prizes for both levels 4 and 5.

Level 4 took second place in the team competition.

Ages 6-7:

Alexandra Masone of Windham, 9.1 for first on vault, 8.250 for fifth on bars, 8.85 for first on beam, 9.2 for first on floor and first place in the all-around (AA) with 36.4.

Rebecca Heath of Windham, 8.75 on vault, 8.6 for second on bars, 8.3 for second on beam, 9.1 for third on floor and second place in the AA with 34.750.

Anya Comeau of Derry, 8.8 on vault, 8.650 for first on bars, 7.8 on beam, 9.150 for second on floor and fourth  place in the AA with 34.4.

Tory Sipes of Windham, 8.9 fourth on vault, 8.550 for third on bars, 8.0 for fourth on beam, 8.9 for fifth on floor and fifth place in the AA with 34.350.

Age 8:

Alexis Ouellette of Salem, 8.8 on vault, 7.5 on bars, 8.6 on beam, 9.0 for fourth on floor and 33.9 AA.

Paige Butler of Windham, 8.85 on vault, 7.5 on bars, 8.250 on beam, 8.6 on floor, and 33.2 AA.

Ages 9/10:

Samantha Jezak of Windham, 9.150 on vault, 9.550 for first on bars, 9.050 for third on beam, 9.6 for first on floor and first place in the AA with 37.360.

Gabriella Palermo of Salem, 9.0 on vault, 9.050 for third on bars, 8.0 on beam, 9.2 for third on floor, and 35.250 AA.

Scarlett Souter of Windham, 8.85 on vault, 8.750 on bars, 8.350 for fifth on beam, 9.0 on floor and 34.950 AA.

Level 5 took second place in the team competition.

Erica Muse of Salem, 8.5 for fourth on vault, 8.850 for fourth on bars, 9.3 for first on beam, 9.150 for second on floor and second place with 35.8 AA.

Lindsay Maffei of Windham, 8.850 for first on vault, 8.9 for third on bars, 8.650 for fourth on beam, 8.8 for fourth on floor and second place with 35.2 AA.

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Girls Hoopsters Climb Over .500 Mark with Wins against West and Keene, Now at 8-7

by Tommy Gates

The Salem girls basketball team used two more explosive third quarters to raise their Class L record to 8-7 last week when they came up with come-from-behind victories over Manchester West and Keene.  The Salem girls were looking at a 3-6 record three weeks ago and were kicking themselves with several tough losses to Londonderry, Dover, and Goffstown, but have now bounced back with second half comebacks in wins over Bishop Guertin, Merrimack, Alvirne, West, and Keene.  This past Tuesday night the Blackbirds from Keene were at Davis Gymnasium in Salem and they were able to grab an early 11-8 first quarter lead.  Keene threatened to blow the game open in the second stanza as they led 19-12 with three minutes left before halftime, but coach Liz Briggs’ Blue Devils got hoops from Caitlin Peters, Gina Righini, Kelsi Record, and Nora Galvin to cut Keene’s lead to 21-18 at intermission.  Salem captain Caitlin Peters had six points in the first half, with Gina Righini having four points, and four other Blue Devils having a bucket apiece.  The Salem girls have had a lot of luck going into their halftime chats the last five games, and they’d benefit once again against Keene.  Nora Galvin started Salem off with a three-pointer to knot it up at 21-21, and Peters, Galvin, Sarah Raye, and Kelsi Record ran off an 11-2 Salem run to put them up 29-23 with a minute left in the third quarter.  Galvin and Righini hit two late hoops, and now Salem enjoyed a 33-25 cushion heading into the final frame.  The Salem girls were scrappy and aggressive on defense, with Righini causing several Keene turnovers and she, Peters, and Sarah Raye went diving out of bounds to keep balls alive, and it certainly paid large dividends.  Junior forward Amanda Vaudreuil had Salem’s only five points for the first six minutes of the fourth quarter, before Keene hit three hoops and then added a long three-pointer with 20 seconds left, but Nora Galvin iced it for the Blue Devils to give them their 40-36 victory.  Galvin led Salem with 11 points, Peters popped in eight points, Vaudreuil added seven huge points, Gina Righini sank six points and was tremendous defensively, Kelsi Record had four points, and Sarah Raye and Melissa Oullett hit a bucket apiece.

Last Friday the Salem girls had to travel to Manchester to face a winless West team that certainly looked like a trap game.  The Blue Devils were able to grab a slight 11-8 lead after one quarter, but the Blue Knights started clicking in the second period and were able to forge ahead 22-20 by halftime.  A 16-10 third quarter surge by Salem put them up 36-32 heading into the final eight minutes, as freshman forward Kerry White was having her finest outing in varsity ball, Olivia Connors was battling tough inside, and Caitlin Peters was at her best in leading the Salem offense.  Salem hit a good percentage of their foul shots late too, as they outscored West 17-14 in the last quarter to escape with a 53-45 win that put them at .500 at 7-7.  Kerry White led the Blue Devils with 10 points, Peters and Connors had nine points apiece, Amanda Vaudreuil had six points, Gina Righini had five points, and Kelsi Record, Sarah Raye, and Nora Galvin had four each.

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22-0 Blue Devils Win State Title over Trinity - 2008 Class L Boys Basketball Champions

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