Andover has always bred its share of top athletes. From the youth sports program on up, the community has a reputation for turning out top-rated players in every sport — from hockey to baseball, skiing to track.
Too many Golden Warriors to count have gone on to be recruited by highly regarded prep schools and some of the nation’s elite colleges. Several have landed on the rosters of many a professional sports team.
At times we take for granted the athletic prowess that exists around us. Post-season play is almost a given for every sports team, girls and boys, at Andover High.
But it’s by no small feat that it happens.
It takes talented athletes who dedicate themselves to their chosen sport.
It takes the tireless efforts of an army of coaches who turn over their lives to their teams each season.
And it takes a supportive network of parents who sacrifice so their children can achieve success.
It doesn’t hurt to have the backing of a solid “jungle” of fans either.
This winter, Andover High saw its girls and boys basketball teams, boys hockey teams and girls and boys indoor track teams, and more, advancing to post-season competition.
The girls basketball team captured the Division 1 North title behind coach E.J. Perry, the fiercely competitive football coach who surprised many three years ago when he decided to take over as head coach. But there he was on the court of the TD Garden in Boston Monday night orchestrating plays in the Division 1 state semifinal game. Despite a tough defeat to Braintree, he talked about the special class of graduating seniors, including his own daughter, Julia, who he had coached for the past three years.
“This class really made it possible for me to fit into this job,” he told reporter Dave Willis.
Andover High boys basketball coach David Fazio had similar accolades for his 2015 team, which traveled to the Division 1 North semifinals before bowing out. He, too, praised his seniors, saying, “They fought so hard, and they have for four years”
Not to be outdone was first-year boys hockey coach Chris Kuchar. With the team coming off a tough season last year, no one expected Kuchar to lead the Warriors to post-season play. But under Kuchar’s direction, the team skated to the Division 1 North semifinals for the first time since the program joined the Division 1 ranks seven years ago.
“No one other than this team thought we could make it this far,” Kuchar said.
It doesn’t end there. The boys track team got a police escort back to town last month after securing the All-State title, its second in six years. Coach Peter Comeau called it “the most satisfying win” he has ever had.
Girls gymnastics also posted a noteworthy season that earned the team the North sectional crown. And Golden Warrior swimmers and skiers also had their share of wins to boast of, too.
All of this winter’s athletes deserve the community’s congratulations on a spectacular season. Sure, Andover prides itself in being a sports town. But it’s a pretty impressive showing nonetheless.
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