By Lloyd Jones
Julianna Livingston get a big hug from Coach Bernie Livingston, who is also her grandfather, at the annual Kennett High Spring Sports Awards Night on June 14, after receiving the Don Trimble Track and Field Award for the second year in a row. (LLOYD JONES PHOTO)CONWAY — The Kennett High School Athletic Department held its annual Spring Sports Awards last Tuesday before a good-sized crowd in the Loynd Auditorium.
Neal Weaver, athletic director, served as master of ceremonies for the evening and praised, athletes, parents and coaches for their dedication and commitment to Kennett athletics
Athletes and parents were treated to a slide show — created by Mackenzie Murphy, with images supplied by Josh Spaulding — that captured the Eagles in action this spring to music.
The presentation of the major awards were given by the coaches and a presentation of sports letters for each team followed the awards ceremony in separate rooms.
This year's athletic award winners were:
The Jack Burns Memorial Baseball Award was presented to Adam Marstinese while the newly created David "Doc" Walker 10th Player Baseball Award went to Nathanael Mathieu.
Kennett finished the season 3-13, matching last year's win total, but played much better baseball according to head coach Josh McAllister. The Eagles gave up 40 fewer runs than last year, but offensively the team batting average was just .225.
"We know we've got to hit better," McAllister said. "We struck out 40-50 times less than last year, but even though we put the ball in play, we hit a lot of soft ground balls. If you don't hit, you don't score many runs, and that was our season. I know we were a better team this season than last year although the records won't show it."
No. 2 Souhegan won the Division II championship by topping No. 1 Portsmouth 2-1 on June 13 at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium in Manchester.
The Eagles lose four seniors to graduation in co-captains Nate Emerson and Martinese along with Axel Olson and Mathieu.
In softball, Carolin Jaeger received the Softball Award.
The Eagles went 4-12 during the regular season and failed to make the playoffs for the first time in 29 years.
Coach Peter Ames admits it was a frustrating season.
"The kids certainly played hard, but it was more a matter of working individually to get better," he said. "All season I offered for the kids to come and take extra hitting or ground balls and I had just three all year, and that was like for once each. That's the first time that's ever happened. We've always had kids who wanted to get better and were willing to put in the time to make themselves better."
No. 6 Milford edged No. 1 Windham 2-1 to win the Division II championship at Southern New Hampshire University on June 11.
The Eagles lose six seniors to graduation in Victoria Burns, Rowan Grieb, Maddie Grzesik, Jess Hodgkins, Caroline Jaeger and Kate McPherson.
Nine seniors (up from four last year) — (back row from left) Nick Brown, Frank Thompson, Kherry Rober and Jack Ricker with Atheltic Diector Neal Weaver; (front row) Victoria Burns, Isabelle Forde, Julianna Livingston and Emma Niiler, — were recognized for being three- sport athletes during their four years at Kennett. It’s an award the New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association created seven years ago. Missing from photo: Thomas Welch. (LLOYD JONES PHOTO)The Boys Tennis Award went to Kyle Alber.
The Eagles went 4-10 on the season, but lost four tough 5-4 matches. Had the ball bounced its way and Kennett won those, it would have made the playoffs.
The Eagles, who finished 13th overall (only the top eight teams made the playoffs), won their final match of the season when they topped Manchester West 6-3 on May 18.
"It was a good season," said Joe Murphy, Eagles' head coach. "It's already weird that we are no longer playing. It's hard to believe it's over. The last two weeks were pretty hectic (eight matches in 18 days). At one point we had a three-match winning streak and were at 3-5. I thought we might have gone on a little run, but it didn't happen. We lost a tough 5-4 match against Berlin (on May 9) and then ran into Portsmouth (13-1) and Coe-Brown (11-3), who are really good."
Lebanon, the No. 2 seed, won the Division II championship May 31, topping No. 1 Oyster River 6-3 at Bedford High School.
The Eagles will lose seniors Zach Bradley, Kyler Phillips and John DeVitto to graduation.
Emma Niiler received the Girls Tennis Award.
Kennett finished the season 4-10, matching the win total from 2015. The Eagles were forced to forfeit two matches to the Plymouth because they didn't have players to fill the No. 6 singles and No. 3 doubles slots. That advantage was just what Plymouth needed to pull out a hard-fought 5-4 victory .
"Despite going in to the contest with an automatic 2-0 deficit, we made a match out of it," Jacques Couture, Eagles' head coach, said. "As you can imagine we were super excited to do as well as we did. I'm proud of how they all stepped up. The girls seemed really happy with their performance as well. Of course it also shines a glaring light on the fact that with even one more of our 'middle of the lineup' girls, we stood even a better chance of pulling out a win.
No. 2 Hanover topped No. 1 Portsmouth for the second straight season, winning 6-3 to claim the Division II championship on June 1 Bedford High School.
The Eagles lose Emma Niiler, Allie Wanek, Kathryn Lees, Olivia White and Jean Tanjai to graduation.
In Lacrosse, Tristan Andreani received the KHS Lacrosse Award.
The Eagles finished 3-11 for the regular season and 15th place out of 18 schools in their second season in Division II.
The highlight of the season came May 3 and May 9, when Kennett beat rivals Kingswood 8-6, and Plymouth, 7-6, respectfully. Both of those schools went on to make the tournament.
Coach Alec Frankel, in his first year at the helm of the program after having spent the previous year on the junior varsity sidelines, was pleased with the effort of his troops. He believes the team is heading in the right direction.
No. 1 seed Derryfield cruised past No. 2 seed Hollis-Brookline 10-3 on June 11 to win the Division II championship at Bill Ball Stadium in Manchester.
In Track, Cam Labrie and Julianna Livingston received the Track and Field Award.
The Don Trimble Track Award went to Julianna Livingston, Hailee Tilton, Isabelle Forde and Garrett Fortin.
The Eagle lose only a few seniors off this year's squad of roughly 100 athletes. Among them are this year's team captains Livingston and Forde for the girls and Fortin and Labrie for the boys along with the multi-talented Nick Brown and Thomas Welch.
The KHS boys' and track team both won the Wilderness League Championship this spring while the girls were second.
A memorable year ended in style for the Kennett High track team Tuesday when Athletic Director Weaver announced the Eagles had received the sportsmanship award for Division 2.
The track team received a long round of applause for the honor.
"It means a lot," said Bernie Livingston, Eagles' head coach. "You think you have great kids and you're doing it the right way, but to have other schools appreciate what you're doing, this validates it. I'm very proud and humbled by this."
Kennett was chosen first out of 21 other Division 2 schools.
Nine seniors (up from four last year) — Nick Brown, Victoria Burns, Isabelle Forde, Julianna Livingston, Emma Niiler, Jacks Ricker, Kherry Rober, Frank Thompson and Thomas Welch — were recognized for being three sport athletes during their four years at Kennett, it's an award the New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association created seven years ago. The Eagles received hooded sweatshirts for their accomplishments