Sports 02-09-2017

CHS Roundup

CHS records tumble at track meet Saturday

In what CHS track coach Mark Martineau termed an “unbelievable day” this past Saturday at the Last Chance Meet held at the Reggie Lewis Track Center in Boston at which more than 1800 athletes participated from throughout the state, five new Chelsea High school records were established and two others came within a whisker of being broken.

“The MSTCA Last Chance meet is an opportunity to have athletes focus on time and distance without the pressure of scoring that they  face in dual meets,” said Martineau. “For our athletes, this was perfect timing.  Every meet this season we had to put our best team out there and focus on place and not so much on time or distance.”

The Lady Red Devils set three new school marks. Sophomore Amanda Dias turned in what Martineau described as “the performance of the day” in the two-mile event. Amanda smashed her own school record with a time of 12:31.20, more than 20 seconds better than her previous best.

“It has been frustrating for Amanda over the last month, winning every race by at least one lap and not seeing any competition that would help push her,” said Martineau. “This meet gave her that competition and she rose to the occasion.”

Dias’s time propelled her into a lofty fourth-place finish and an automatic qualifying time for the upcoming State Division 2 championship.

Senior Sylvia Agyuwaa continued to peak at the right time. Sylvia finished 10th in the high hurdles (among a large field of over 80 contestants) with a CHS record of 9.52 seconds, which provisionally qualifies her for the state meet.

Capping off the girls’ records on the day was sophomore Jocelyn Poste, who broke teammate Owlyio Mohamud’s 600 meter record with a time of 1:49.82.  Jocelyn now holds the CHS record in both the 600 and the 1000.

“We will have to wait and see how Jocelyn performs at next week’s GBL championship to decide which race she will take part in at the state meet,” noted Martineau.

Coming close to breaking Poste’s 1000 record was fellow sophomore Yarid Deras, whose clocking of 3:28.68 was less than one second off her teammate’s school record.

Also performing well for the Lady Red Devils was junior Martin Simon, who just missed breaking her own record in the long jump with a leap of 16′-2″.  Freshman Isha Osman had a personal record (PR) in the 50 meter dash with a time of 7.98.  Senior Owliyo Mohamud set a PR in the 300 dash with a time of 44.16.

The boys achieved records in the 300 and 1000 meter events.  Senior Adriel Cedano, who is continuing to peak at the right time, set a new CHS school record in the  300 dash with a time of 37.49, a clocking that qualifies Adriel for the state championship.

“Adriel has been working hard this year and he looks stronger and stronger each time out,” said Martineau.

Junior Jose Leclerc did not run in his usual event, the mile, and instead competed in the 1000 to work on his speed.  In the process, Jose broke the CHS school record in the event by 10 seconds with a time of 2:53.56.

“Jose has been running well and we will see how he performs at the GBL meet next weekend to see what he will run at the state meet,” said Martineau.

Another fine performance was turned in by Nick Ieng in the 50 meter dash with a time of 7.10.

“With our indoor program still relatively new, it’s not unusual for records to be broken,” Martineau commented. “What is unusual is how many records were broken in one day.  What this tells us as coaches is that the athletes are peaking at the right time.  This is perfect, with the tough challenge ahead of us next week at the Greater Boston League championship.”

The previous Saturday (January 27), a number of CHS tracksters competed at the State Coaches Invitational Meet, for which only a handful of athletes qualify for what is an elite meet.

The top CHS finisher was Junior Martin Simon, who took seventh overall in the long jump with a leap of 16′.  Simon also finished 29th in the dash in her season-best time of 7.77.  Freshman Isha Osman also had a season-best in the dash with a clocking of  8.16. Senior Owliyo Mohamud ran a PR of 42.23 in the 300 dash.

Sophomore Jocelyn Poste turned in a PR of 1:50.26 in the 600 dash and Yarid Deras ran the mile in a time of 6:00.03.  The 4 x 200 team of Mohamud, Sylvia Agyeiwaa, Osman, and Alexis Shillingford ran a season-best time of 1:54.8.

On the boys’ side, senior Nick Ieng competed in the dash (7.11) and junior Jose Leclerc competed in the 600 (1:34.16).

“Just making it to this meet is quite an accomplishment,” noted Martineau. “These were the best athletes from Divisions 1 and 2 from the entire state, not just from Eastern Mass.”

The GBL championship is set for Saturday at 4:00 at Reggie Lewis.

Bruins Beat

by Bob Morello

Bruins make coaching change

The question most often asked by Bruins fans during Claude Julien’s coaching career in Boston was: “Is Claude Julien going to be fired? Now the answer is perfectly clear as Bruins management dropped the axe on their head coach who posted the most wins in franchise history (419) replacing him with assistant coach Bruce Cassidy. Management decided that cutting ties with their ten-year head coach could wait no longer, and executed the move with a press conference, coincidentally at the same time as Boston’s victorious 2017 Super Bowl Champion Patriots were stepping off  to receive fan accolades for winning their fifth Lombardi Trophy.

While many anticipated, and even cried for management to dismiss Julien from his job during his decade-long tenure, his record proved successful in many instances. His position was most prominently in question at the end of last season after missing the playoffs for the second consecutive year, when then General Manager Peter Chiarelli was shown the door. The Bruins decided to keep Julien on thin ice, not solidifying his job quickly, but rather, keeping their options open with ‘no decision,’ thus putting him on the so-called ‘hot seat.’

Bruins management at the time promised ‘tweaks’ to the lineup, but instead gave Julien ‘squeaks,’ by adding players to the roster that made insignificant improvements. In other words, no upgrade, but rather a status quo adjustment. Julien was expected to take this lineup to new heights with the minor ‘tweaks.’ Management’s move to provide goaltender Tuukka Rask with sufficient backup also failed, as Rask has been worn thin carrying the ultra-heavy load of games played. The bottom line is that management has either failed Julien, or made some very poor player personnel decisions. For the 56-year-old Julien with still another year remaining on his contract, and a Stanley Cup (2011) on his resume, his length of unemployment will be short-term, as he will be snatched up quickly by another NHL team, possibly even before this column hits the streets.

Cassidy has served his coaching apprenticeship well as minor league head coach of Jacksonville Lizard Kings, Indianapolis Ice, Trento Titans, and Grand Rapids Griffins, before NHL teams took note of his success. The Washington Capitals hired him for his first NHL head coaching position in 2002, he lasted one-season plus, before he was terminated, and moved on to the Chicago Blackhawks as an assistant coach. His first year was the 2004-05 NHL lockout season, followed by a 36-43-13 record, and dismissal. His stint with the Kingston Frontenacs lasted one-season plus. The 2008-09 season began his five-season tenure with the Providence Bruins as an assistant to head coach Rob Murray. Following three seasons as assistant coach, Cassidy was promoted to the head coach job 2011-12,

Despite failing to qualify for postseason, Cassidy came back strong in 2012-13 by posting the rest record in the league with 105 points, but in the playoffs, Providence squandered a 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven series, then lost four in a row. Providence made the playoffs again in 2013-14, making it to the second round. Another playoff run in 2014-15, again resulted in elimination. His final season 2015-16 in Providence saw the team drop the Division Semifinals in three games. His regular season accomplishments were rewarded on May 24, 2016 when he was named an assistant coach to Julien. Upon Julien’s termination this week, Cassidy was named interim head coach, and as Bruins general manager Don Sweeney noted, is on the list for those being considered for the head coaching position.

Cassidy will have little time to prepare his troops as the Bruins tonight (Thursday) will host former Bruin Joe Thornton and the Pacific Division leading San Jose Sharks at 7:00pm to begin a three-games in four days homestand which also includes back-to-back games on Saturday (2/11 at 1:00pm) with the Vancouver Canucks, and a matchup with Atlantic Division rival Montreal on Sunday (2/12 at 7:30pm). Monday begins Boston’s bye-week during which they are not scheduled to play another game until the following Sunday (2/19), when they will be hosted by the San Jose Sharks.

Thus, Bruce Cassidy’s foray as head coach of the Boston Bruins begins tonight (Thursday), it remains to be seen if this move will change anything in the future fortunes of the Bruins, and it could also show if the terminating of their coach (Julien) was the proper decision.

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