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20 - February 25, 2011

Hudson~Litchfield Sports Hudson~Litchfield Sports

Purcell Hits the Coveted 1,000 DJ Purcell launches her 1,000th point

by Sue LaRoche From the tender age of four years old, Deanna “DJ” Purcell was in a gym, watching her older sister, Amandra “Mema,” play basketball. She recalls being in awe over the incredible speed at which the girls were playing and thought to herself, “I want to do that someday.” Well, DJ picked up a basketball and has not stopped. She has played for many years and on many teams, including Hudson Recreation travel teams, AAU teams (the Crusaders—qualified for Nike Nationals in Augusta Georgia and Shooting Stars), Hudson Memorial School Team, and Alvirne High School. She was also on a state title- winning, 10-year-old AAU team with nine other Hudson teammates. Once she hit the high school level, the goal of hitting 1,000 points developed. The culmination of her efforts throughout her career were recognized on Tuesday, February 15, at the Steckevicz Gymnasium, when with 6:54 to go in the final quarter against Manchester Memorial, DJ sunk a three-point shot, which gave her 1,000 points for her high school career. In a brief ceremony after her accomplishment, this four-year varsity player was given a plaque by Head Coach Steve Tracy, which outlined her

scoring throughout her high school career: 179 points as a freshman, 260 points as a sophomore, 274 points as a junior, and her 287th point so far in her senior year. She is quick to point out that she could not have accomplished this feat without her teammates, who “really had my back.”


joins an elite club of six female players who have scored 1,000 points for the Alvirne High School Broncos: Karen Biagini, Lauren Moore, Kelly Nadeau, Barbara Pierce, Patty Skelton, and now Deanna Purcell. Athletic Director Karen Bonney said, “This is a great accomplishment for DJ. It is well deserved. She has represented us very well.” DJ explained the relief she felt, as this was a “big burden off my shoulders.” Knowing that she was close to the 1,000-point mark right after the Christmas tournament (needed only 153 points on January 3, 2011), she felt as if she was playing differently. “You try not to think about it, but it is hard,” she related. With the support of her coach, teammates, and fans, DJ was thrilled with her accomplishment and received the net and ball after the game. She knew that her 1,000th point “was a spark to her team,” and hoped for the victory over Memorial; unfortunately, that was the only damper on the night, as the Broncos lost the contest.

Throughout her career, DJ felt privileged to have had some very influential coaches, including Ed Petersen, Kara Leary, and Frank Girginis. “I am truly thankful to all of my coaches, but I really feel that Frank made me the player that I am,” explained Purcell, who noted the trust he had in her and the confidence he instilled in her. There were many supporters in DJ’s basketball

career, not the least of which were her parents Cassie and Scott Purcell, who “let me play basketball all those years; without them, I wouldn’t be the player I am today.” Her older sister Amandra plays for Rivier College and younger sister Sandi is her teammate on the Alvirne team. This National Honor Society student has received many awards: Second Team All-State for volleyball in 2010, honorable mention in her sophomore year and second team in her junior year for basketball, and was nominated as a McDonald’s All-American. She also volunteers as a coach for younger aspiring basketball players. DJ would like to continue to play basketball in college and has had interest in and from several schools, including Southern New Hampshire University, Stonehill College, Merrimack College, Rivier College, and Rhode Island College.

AHS Swim Teams Produce New England Qualifiers

by Sue LaRoche On February 13, the Alvirne girls’ and boys’ swim teams competed in the State Championships and the Meet of Champions held at the University of New Hampshire. It was an outstanding meet for these athletes, as they set nine new school records and

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will be sending two individuals and two relay teams on to the New England Championships, to be held on March 5 at the University of New Hampshire. For the girls, Becky Dionne qualified for the second year in a

row (100 Freestyle and 100 Backstroke, 200 Medley Relay, and 200 Freestyle Relay team). The 200 Freestyle Relay team consisting of Jess Cocozziello, Desirae Ouellette, Jamie Martineau, and Dionne, and the 200 Medley Relay team of Dionne, Christina Stewart, Ouellette, and Cocozziello will also swim in the New Englands. Matt Beningo was the lone qualifier for the boys in the 100 Breaststroke.

In the NHIAA Division I meet, the Broncos finished strongly as teams, with the girls finishing in eighth overall with 77 team points and the boys finishing 11th overall with 42 points. The girls’ 200 Medley Relay team consisting of Dionne (28.46),

Stewart (34.97), Ouellette (29.67), and Cocozziello (27.24) finished sixth overall with a time of 2:00.34. In the girls’ 200 IM, Ouellette finished 10th overall in 2:28.70. Dionne took first place in the 100 Freestyle in 54.50. The girls’ 200 Freestyle Relay team finished sixth overall in 1:48.20, which consists of Cocozziello (28.11), Ouellette (27.12), Martineau (27.73), and Dionne (25.24). Also finishing first in the 100 Backstroke was Dionne in 59.70, while Ouellette finished 10th in the same event in 1:08.19. Stewart finished 10th overall in

the 100 Backstroke in 1:16.19. For the boys, Alex Luebbers placed eighth overall in the boys’ 200

Freestyle in 1:57.55. Beningo placed sixth overall in the 50 Freestyle race in 23.75. Luebbers placed 10th overall in the 100 Butterfly in 1:00.20. Steven Balevre finished 20th in the boys’ 100 Freestyle in 57.69. Unfortunately, the boys’ 200 Freestyle team of Michael Deminico, Zach Keller, Luebbers, and Beningo were disqualified in the 200 Freestyle Relay event. Beningo placed fourth overall in the boys’ 100 Breaststroke in 1:07.48. Finally, in the boys’ 400 Freestyle race, Luebbers, Keller, Balevre, and Beningo placed seventh overall in 3:46.89.

In the Meet of Champions, a meet that includes swimmers who posted qualifying times from across all divisions, the Broncos had Dionne place third in the 100 Freestyle in 55.08, and second in the 100 Backstroke in 1:01.03. The girls’ 200 Freestyle team of Cocozziello (27.91), Ouellette (26.79), Martineau (27.27), and Dionne (25.50) placed sixth overall in 1:47.02. The 200 Medley Relay team of Dionne (28.58), Stewart (35.40), Ouellette (29.51), and Cocozziello (27.16) also qualified for the New Englands with a time of 2:00.79 and a ninth-place finish. All of the above swimmers qualified for the New Englands. For the boys, Beningo placed 10th overall in the 50 Freestyle in 24.09, barely missing a berth into the New Englands in that event, but he secured a spot in the 100 Breaststroke with at time of 1:06.53, good enough for a sixth-place finish. The Alvirne High School Records that were broken include: •

Matt Beningo, 100 Breaststroke

• Boys’ 400 Free Relay: Alex Luebbers, Zach Keller, Steve Balevre, and Matt Beningo

• Alex Luebbers, 200 Freestyle •

Alex Luebbers, 100 Butterfly

• Becky Dionne, 100 Freestyle • Becky Dionne, 100 Backstroke • •

Christina Stewart, 100 Breaststroke

Girls’ 200 Free Relay: Jess Cocozziello, Desirae Ouellette, Jamie Martineau, and Becky Dionne

• Girls’ 200 Medley Relay: Becky Dionne, Christina Stewart, Desirae Ouellette, and Jess Cocozziello.

Coach Sean McLaughlin, who has been coaching since the inception of the Alvirne Swim program, is very pleased with his teams’ efforts. The girls finished with a record of 15-6, and the boys finished 16-5. “Both teams did very well this year,” he explained. “This is the first time in team history we have sent both boy and girl swimmers along with relays to the NE Championships.”

Colts Wrestling Concludes First Season Strong

Brandon Levesque with near-fall points as the clock winds down in the first period

submitted by Mark Levesque The Hudson Memorial Colts officially ended their inaugural season on Sunday, February 13, at the “NH Meet of Champions State Finals” held in Rochester. The Colts had 10 individual wrestlers that qualified at the regional tournament that was held in Litchfield on February 6, which gained them a spot to participate in the State Finals in their respective weight brackets. In the 7th/8th grade division, Brandon Levesque placed first, capturing the title of “State Champion” at the 122-pound weight class with a pin in the second period. Ian Elliot was the runner-up at 198 and Taylor Thyne placed third in the 79-pound class. Both Jacob LaValley and Evan Manning earned fourth place at 130 and 147, respectively.

photo by Jeff Rodgers

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