Summer has officially arrived, and with it comes the official end to Andover High’s 2018-19 sports campaign.
The Golden Warriors certainly closed the school year out with a bang, delivering a tremendously memorable spring sports season.
From the baseball team’s thrilling run to the North Finals, to another dominant year for the boys and girls tennis teams, to breakout seasons for both the softball team and a few track newcomers, it certainly was a season to remember.
Before we start thinking about the fall, here’s a look back at a super spring.
Andover was the upset story of the Massachusetts baseball scene in 2019. The Golden Warriors delivered a surprise run to the Division 1 North finals, and did so in dramatic fashion.
There were signs something special was brewing when Andover beat eventual Division 1A state champion North Andover in its regular season finale.
The Warriors then rallied from a two-run, sixth inning deficit to beat Boston Latin in their tourney opener, needed 11 innings to beat Lynn Classical in the North quarterfinals and rallied for two runs in the eighth to top neighboring rival Lawrence in the North semifinals.
At the heart of that success, of course, was the work of ace pitcher and leadoff hitter Josh Gruenberg. The senior finished the season with an 8-1 record, a 1.20 ERA and 52 strikeouts in 64 innings as a pitcher and hit .338 with 22 runs. But he was far from alone.
On the mound, Andrew Theriault starred as both a starter and top reliever (2.84 ERA) and Arvin Nunez (2.83 ERA) excelled in the No. 3 starter spot, including a complete-game win over Lawrence.
At the plate, Matt Potts hit a team-high .351 with 17 runs while Nolan Schirmer (.333), Patrick McConnell (.329, team-high 18 RBIs, 15 runs) and Aidan Ritter (.318) also delivered big seasons on the diamond.
Fantastic freshmen lead track
It’s hard to believe that Jodi Parrott still has three more years to make her mark on the high school track scene.
This year as a freshman, Parrott broke the Andover High school record in the long jump with a 20-3, and her 14.80 in the 100 hurdles was the second best in Andover history. She also ran a 12.73 100 dash and jumped a 5-0 in the high jump.
Many ranked it among the greatest freshman seasons in MVC track history. And she wasn’t the only freshman to start her career with a bang,
First year Olivia Foster, a pole vaulter, won the MVC title (8-6) and was second at the EMass. Division 1 championship (career-best 9-6). She also happens to be Parrott’s best friend.
It wasn’t just the youngsters. Senior Lauren Olson took second in the javelin at MVCs (112-1) and was third at EMass. Division 1 states (personal record 117-7).
Senior Delia Barbanti continued to shine. She won the 100 at Andover Boosters (12.74), and in the 200 took second at MVCs (25.61) and third at EMass. Division 1s (25.31).
On the boys side, first-year track athlete Michael Makiej won the high jump at MVCs with a career-best jump of 6-4.
Pole vaulter Matt Campbell was second at MVCs (11-6) and EMass Division 1 states (12-0). Dan Blatman threw a 49-9 in the shot put and Ryan Dennehy ran an 11.17 100 dash.
Softball storms back
After missing the state tournament in 2018, and entering the spring with a new head coach in Rick Quattrocchi, there were plenty of questions about the Andover softball team this spring.
The Golden Warriors answered many of the questions by delivering an 11-10 record and a 10-6 upset victory in the Division 1 North tournament over Lexington.
Anna Zdunczyk led Andover with a .474 average, 20 runs and 22 RBIs before suffering a torn ACL.
Pitcher/slugger Ashley Cocchiaro (.440 average, 21 RBIs) and infielders Scarlett Gillette (.426) and Alexa Pacy (.420) were also red hot at the plate all spring.
Andover is known for dominating the local tennis scene, and this spring was no different for the boys or the girls, led by a pair of MVPs.
Behind MVC Player of the Year Isabel Zhou, the girls tennis team went 19-2 and advanced to the Division 1 North semifinals.
The Warriors were also led by the likes of singles standouts Corina Muntean and Sidney Conway and top doubles teams Annette Kim and Caroline Yang and Anna Higgins and Grace Lyons
In all, 14 of the Golden Warriors’ wins were 5-0 sweeps and both of their losses were 3-2 nail-biters, including the tourney loss to Acton-Boxboro, which would go on to repeat as Division 1 state champs.
On the boys side, David Grossman won MVP honors in the MVC, leading Andover to a 14-3 record.
Others leading the Warriors were Avi Jonarthanan and Bryan Hun Htun on singles and Sam Feng, Justin Gu, Alex Earl, Vishnu Suresh and Joe Colecchi in doubles.
Memorable moments for volleyball, lacrosse
It was an up-and-down season for the Andover volleyball team, but the Golden Warriors did manage some special moments.
The Warriors avenged a crushing early-season loss with a 3-1 win over North Andover, topped rival Methuen 3-2 and rallied from a pair of deficits to beat Lowell 3-2.
Leading Andover was 6-foot-4 middle hitter Alex Durham, who averaged 11.9 kills, six service points and four digs per contest. He was named All-MVC.
Other key contributors were Jyles Amirault (5.7 kills per match) and Troy Kennedy (20.2 assists per match).
The boys lacrosse team delivered a memorable moment when it beat perennial state power and archrival North Andover 12-6, led by three goals by Vin Bono.
Coming off a brilliant hockey season, Alex Trottier led way, scoring 24 goals. Others with big seasons were Joe Hoar (13 goals), Shamus Florio (22 goals), Matt Schuhwerk (20 goals) and Bono (20 goals).
John Marshall is a top defensive midfielder and CJ Puglisi, the son of longtime coach Wayne Puglisi, was always steady in net.
The girls lacrosse team closed the season with its biggest win, beating rival Methuen — coached by former Andover standout Brianna Gross, the sister of Golden Warriors coach Cat Gross — by a 13-6 score.
Midfielder Libby Pustis (10 goals) and always-dangerous Shea Krekorian (30 goals) earned All-MVC honors and led the Warriors along with Emma Gilmartin (21 goals).
Contact David Willis at @DWillisET or DWillis@eagletribune.com.