Holiday Tournament Results: How Did Choate Fare?

Photo courtesy of Anne Stewart

Defenseman Kyle Sanborn ’19 and goaltender Jackson Elkins ’18 follow a puck out of the zone.

The week before we left for winter break, Boys’ Varsity Hockey, Boys’ Varsity Basketball, Girls’ Varsity Basketball, and Girls’ Varsity Hockey were away at tournaments across New England. There are a lot of challenges to traveling to a tournament with classes still meeting the following week, which was different from past years. It is a problem because many of the athletes have homework and tests to make up when they return the following week; however, it is also an opportunity for the players on the teams to get to hang out together outside of practice and games. The tournaments also help showcase how the teams have performed to this point in the season.

Boys’ Varsity Hockey

The boys played in Lawrenceville Tournament, which is one of the oldest tournaments in the nation, as it has been around for more than 60 years, so going to the tournament is a big tradition for the team. This time around the team didn’t do as well as they hoped.

Coach Pat Dennehy said, “We battled hard in this tournament, and even though we outshot all of our opponents in the four games we played we only were able to post an 0-3-1 record.” The team played well, but they just didn’t get the lucky bounces; however, their losses all came against solid competition. They played Upper Canada College, Belmont Hill, and Northfield Mount Hermon.

Zach Vandale ’21, Anish Deena ’19, and John Russo ’20 played particularly well in the tournament. When asked about the play of the young players, Sasha Tertyshny ’18 said, “Whenever they got a shot they made the most of it, and it really gave the team a boost. It’s nice to see, especially with the amount of work they put in on a daily basis.”

Going forward, the team hopes the get some better bounces and avoid the mental lapses they suffered in the tournament. The team still has big games left this season against Deerfield, Andover, and Avon Old Farms. Last week, it grabbed a big league win against Taft.

Boys’ Varsity Basketball

The team traveled to the Sea Coast Holiday Classic up at Tabor in a nice groove, going in undefeated. The boys have yet to lose a game, as they went 3-0 defeating Brunswick, Phillips Academy, and Tabor. Jayden Nixon ’18 played very well in the tournament, despite the fact that he was fighting the flu. Caden Dumas ’18 and Jaylen “Juice” Sandifer ’18 also turned in outstanding performances.

The team has been superb this season as the players have been able to win the close games and looked dominant in others. One of the highlights of the tournament was the boys’s 28-point victory over Brunswick. With over a three-hour drive to the tournament, the team had a great opportunity to grow closer over the course of the tournament.

When asked about the experience of playing in a tournament, Elliot Sawyer-Kaplan ’18 said, “It’s a great chance for us to get away from school as a team for a bit and play against some good competition.” The boys hope to maintain their undefeated record by winning big, upcoming games against Loomis, Deerfield, and Suffield.

Girls’ Varsity Hockey:

The girls have had a rough start to the year, but fared alright in the Taft Invitational, playing to a 1-2 record. When asked about why they play in the Taft Invitational, Coach Nicole Stock said, “It is a great exposure piece for the girls. College coaches attend to watch all of the teams play and evaluate talent. There are also good teams that play in the tournament and give us good competition.”

The girls lost to two strong teams in Tabor Academy and Kent, but they beat a talented Hotchkiss team in a close game. The team gave a really good effort overall. Kaleah Haddock ’19 and Liza Diffley ’19 played particularly well in the tournament. This is a young team, so they should expect to continue to grow as the season goes on. The girls have tough games against Deerfield and Berkshire to look forward to, but welcome the challenge with open arms.

Girls’ Varsity Basketball

The girls played in the New England Basketball Classic at Deerfield Academy, which they have been going to for years. It was their first chance to play for a championship this season, so the girls were excited and ready to go. Their excitement showed as they won the first two games of the tournament, defeating St. Paul’s by ten points and rivals Deerfield by 23. As usual, there were big contributions from Jocelyn Polansky ’19, Sam Gallo ’19, and Jordan Obi ’20.

The girls have been good on the season so far jumping out to a 7-2 record. The girls suffered their first loss of the tournament at the hands of Pomfret, but that didn’t appear to dim the girls’ enthusiasm. The loss can mostly be attributed to the hot shooting by Pomfret, whose players couldn’t seem to miss.

Gallo said about the tournament, “We see this as a great way for the team to bond. We get extra games in and get to compete for a championship.” The team has been playing great basketball this season, and it looks to continue that in big games against Loomis and Exeter.

Overall, the holiday tournaments have proved to be a great way for the teams to evaluate their progress so far. For Choate teams that didn’t fare as well as they would have liked to, there is still time left in their respective seasons. For those who did, there is plenty to look forward to going into the back stretch of the season.


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