Chelsea’s Justin Turner is coming off of a league MVP season in Cross Country, and has been racking up wins for indoor track this winter as well. The senior captain said he loves chemistry, but hopes to working in computer programming. Here, he is shown running the two-mile at a meet last Weds., Jan 9, during a meet at Lynn Tech.
When Chelsea High track standout Justin Turner hits the last lap of a two-mile race, it isn’t so much the training or preparation, but the mental toughness to find energy that just isn’t there. He would know.
The senior captain has prevailed in most
every two-mile event already in the indoor track season, and he also made a
huge splash in the Commonwealth Athletic Conference (CAC) as the League MVP in
“I think the finish is more mental, probably
because you know you’re so close to the finish and you want to do anything you
can to get there and also hold off anyone who is exact same thing to try to
catch you…At the beginning, I try to hold off the adrenaline rush for the
start. It’s about getting a good pace and settling in and focusing. On the last
few laps, you pull out everything you have left in order to finish – and that’s
the mental part.”
Turner, 17, attended the Early Learning
Center, the Berkowitz Elementary, the Wright Middle School and Chelsea High. He
said he started being athletic at a young age, playing football and other youth
sports, and becoming the athlete in his family.
He began cross country and track his
freshman year, and has participated continuously all four years. Having been
mentored by star athlete Jose LeClerc, who graduated last year, Turner said he
stepped up to lead the team this year. Though he is a quiet leader, he said
that he believes other team members look up to him.
Turner said he enjoys distance running
because it’s a very controlled sport.
“It’s more about paying attention to what
I’m doing and not getting distracted by what’s around me,” he said.
“You have to motivate yourself and if you
don’t it’s hard to stay focused,” he added.
When it comes to the classroom, Turner has
never had a GPA below 3.5, and he said he enjoys chemistry the most. However,
he hopes to focus his attention on computer programming in the future.
He said his older sister is involved in
that, and he watched her over the summer programming video games, and he felt
that was something he really wanted to do.
He has applied to seven colleges so far, but
said he hopes to be able to go to Suffolk University so he can try to run track
and cross country there as well.
Beyond the classroom and the athletic
fields, one might have seen Turner in the front row of the concert band, where
he plays flute and piccolo.
He said his mom and dad, Russell and Erikka
Turner, have been a support system throughout his track career not only for
himself, but also the whole team.
“My mom and dad and family came to my first
meet and they always come when they can,” he said. “They support me throughout
my years and they support the rest of the team too. They don’t just support me,
but everyone on the team.”
Turner also has three siblings, Jyllian,
Teri and Kyle, and he said he has enjoyed growing up in Chelsea.
“There is a stereotype out there that Chelsea
isn’t the best place, but people in this community fight that stereotype and
they do everything they can to make it the best city it can be,” he said.
The Chelsea High boys soccer team remained undefeated with a pair of impressive victories this past week, albeit by different means against very different opponents.
Last Wednesday Coach Mick Milutinovic and his crew made the long trek to Billerica to take on Shawsheen Tech in a battle for first place in the Large Division of the Commonwealth Athletic Conference. Shawsheen traditionally is one of the top teams in the CAC Large and this season has been no exception.
Shawsheen entered the contest in second place behind the Red Devils, who earlier this year handed Shawsheen its lone loss in league play. The field conditions were about as difficult as one could imagine, with the contest being played on a grass field in a hard-driving rain.
Chelsea struck first on a perfectly-executed, team-oriented goal 15 minutes into the contest. CHS leading scorer Delmer Romero, who was being shadowed all game by two Shawsheen defenders, made a nice crossing pass from the right wing into the center of the field near the top of the box.
Gabriel Contreras settled the ball and then laid it off for an oncoming Carlos Lopez just outside the top of the box. Carlos delivered a beautiful strike from about 22 yards out that cleanly beat the Shawsheen keeper into the left corner of the net for a 1-0 Chelsea lead.
The teams slogged through the remainder of the half at that score, but shortly after the intermission, Shawsheen took advantage of a bad pass by Chelsea at midfield that led to a Shawsheen breakout and goal that brought the teams back to level.
However, the Red Devils showed their resiliency and immediately picked up the attack. Five minutes after Shawsheen had drawn even, Romero took a direct kick from about 20 yards out and drilled the ball to the right side of the Shawsheen keeper and into the back of the net.
The Chelsea defense made the 2-1 advantage stand up for the remaining 20 minutes for the big victory.
This past Tuesday the Red Devils hosted Presentation of Mary Academy and cruised to an easy victory in which most of the CHS reserve and junior varsity players saw action. Among the CHS goal scorers were Carlos Ayala, who potted three goals, Gabriel Contreras, Alex Uceda, Wilmer Rivera, and Victor Guzman.
With the CAC Large title firmly within their reach, the Red Devils, who stand at 10-0-2 on the season, control their own destiny.
The Red Devils host Greater Lowell today (Thursday) and will travel to Lynn Tech next Tuesday.
CHS cross country
teams improve to 8-1
The Chelsea High girls and boys cross-country teams hosted a tri-meet last Wednesday on the Admiral’s Hill course. Both squads took on Northeast Regional, with the girls also entertaining Notre Dame of Tyngsboro and the boys hosting Medford.
Both Red and Black squads came away with two strong victories to improve to 8-1 on the season.
For the Lady Red Devils, senior Yarid Deris ran away from the field by over two minutes in the final home meet of her superb CHS cross country career.
Saira Carrento was second overall, with Jocelyn Poste close behind in third place. Yarelis Torres finished in fourth place and twin sister Nicole was 11th to clinch the meet for Chelsea.
On the boys’ side, Justin Turner ran the second fastest time ever on the Admiral’s Hill course with a clocking of 18:12. Only his former teammate, Jose Leclerc, who graduated last year and is running cross country at UMass-Dartmouth, has run faster.
Julio Valladares was second, with Wuilfido Hernandez coming across in third place. Sophomore Oscar Amaya grabbed the fourth spot and Limilson Tavares finished eighth overall to round out the scoring for the Red Devils.
Both the boys and girls teams were set to to travel to Shawsheen Tech yesterday (Wednesday) for a tri-meet with Shawsheen and Essex Tech. The CHS boys will be trying to win a share of the CAC dual meet title. If they beat both teams, they will finish with the same record (10-1) as Greater Lawrence and Essex.
This Saturday the boys and girls will be traveling to Falmouth to run at the Barnstable Fairgrounds Twilight Meet. The first race is at 5 p.m. and the final race goes off at 8 p.m.
“This will be our first year running this race,” said CHS head coach Don Fay. “It is very popular and a good team-bonding meet. The race is lit up by the light towers from the fairgrounds for the three-mile course.”
CHS girls soccer
earns a win and a tie
The Chelsea High girls soccer team enjoyed a successful week, defeating Whittier, 4-1, and battling to a nil-nil deadlock with Notre Dame of Tyngsboro.
Coach Randy Grajal’s squad now stands at 4-6-2 overall and 4-5-2 in the Commonwealth Athletic Conference.
The offense for Chelsea in the win over Whittier was provided by Elena Ruiz with two goals and Gitu Degefa and Isabel Alvarez with a goal apiece. Ruiz and Nancy Galdamez earned assists.
Ruiz displayed some nifty, heads-up play on her first goal. Elena played a ball quickly after a free kick was awarded to Chelsea and caught the Whittier defenders by surprise.
“Elena showed great game awareness on that first goal,” noted Grajal.
The contest with Notre Dame on the turf at Highland Park was a defensive struggle owing in no small measure to the inclement weather.
“This game was played under rainy conditions, but the team showed great ball control and had several opportunities to score,” said Grajal. “However, we were not able to get the ball past their keeper. Our defense was solid and they were able to stop any scoring chance Notre Dame had.”
The weather worsened as the contest wore on to such an extent that with 23 minutes left in the second half, the referees decided the conditions were not suitable for the game to continue and ended the game.
“The team continues to work hard during games and practices and we are very excited with the success we are having,” Grajal said. “At the same time, we are working on remaining focused and pushing each other to improve.”
The Lady Red Devils are scheduled to trek to Notre Dame today (Thursday), to Minuteman next Tuesday, and to Mystic Valley next Thursday.
teams fights hard
Although the Chelsea High volleyball team came up short in its two recent matches with Greater Lowell and Lynn Tech, the Lady Red Devils battled well in both contests.
The hard-fought duel with Greater Lowell went to five sets, with Chelsea just falling short, 15-25, 25-17, 27-25, 9-25, and 5-15.
Some of the highlights for Chelsea were provided by:
Coach Serena Wadsworth and her crew will play at Whittier Tech next Wednesday.
CHS football team
plays at Lynn Tech
The Chelsea High football team will be on the road for a contest at Lynn Tech Saturday evening. The opening kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
The Red Devils, who dropped a 26-0 decision to Minuteman this past Saturday, will be seeking their first win of the season.
Boxing’s Biggest Stage
Bay State star Mark DeLuca set for his big bout at the Garden
By Cary Shuman
Mark DeLuca grew up in the South Shore so he understands the boxing history of the TD Garden.
“This is the biggest stage and I’m honored to be fighting at the Garden where legends like Marvin Hagler and Tony DeMarco and Joe DeNucci fought,” says DeLuca, whose nickname is “The Bazooka.”
DeLuca, a former U.S. Marine will be fighting in the TD Garden on Saturday, Oct. 20, in a show that is being promoted by Ken Casey, founder of the Dropkick Murphys. DeLuca is Murphy Boxing’s biggest star.
DeLuca is well known among local boxing fans, including Chelsea City Councillor Calvin Brown, who was an amateur champion and considers DeLuca one of the rising stars in boxing and a world title contender.
“I’ll be at ringside,” said Brown, who rarely misses a big fight. “Mark is an exciting fighter who will have a ton of his supporters at the Garden. He always puts on a great show and the fans love his tenacity.”
DeLuca (21-1-0, 13 KOs) has been training under the tutelage of Hector Bermudez at the Bayshore Athletic Club in Braintree. He just returned from California where he sparred with Demetrius Andrade, who will be fighting in the main event at the Garden.
Bazooka, 30, will be stepping in to the ring in a rematch against Walter Wright, who handed him the first loss of his career in a controversial 12-round decision.
“I’m going to try to revenge my defeat,” said Bazooka, a three-time national junior champion.
Bazooka will carry his family’s esteemed, pugilistic tradition in to the ring. His father, Mark DeLuca Sr., was a former amateur and professional boxer and Massachusetts state boxing commissioner who used to run the South Shore Police Athletic League gym in Quincy.
“My father used to take me to all the fights at venues like the Roxy in Boston and the Roseland Ballroom in Taunton,” said Mark Jr. “He’s been a great motivator for me throughout the years. My father did a lot for me, bringing me to the gyms and the fights. When you become involved in sports at a young age, your parents have to be just as dedicated as their children are.”
DeLuca, who is 5-foot-9, is hoping that a win at the Garden will move his closer to a shot at the world championship. “I’m happy where my career is right now. I’m progressing well, but we all want a world title shot.”
He is expecting a lot of friends and neighbors to be in his corner at the Garden.
“I’m getting a lot of messages on Facebook inquiring about tickets to the fight,” said DeLuca. “People love the atmosphere of the Garden and being in the city.”
Travis Mazic Gambardella, a Revere native, will also be fighting on the undercard.
by Bob Morello
Bruins on the road again
The Bruins on Tuesday, embarked on their four-game trip that includes three stops in Western Canada to face the Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers tonight (Thursday 9 p.m.), and Vancouver Canucks (Saturday 10 p.m.), with their final stop coming against the Ottawa Senators (10/23 7:30pm), before returning to Garden ice October 25 to host the Philadelphia Flyers. The benefits of this long and early West coast trip, which usually occurs later into the schedule, is the team bonding, plus the chance for Head Coach Bruce Cassidy to get some final questions answered that he may still have before solidifying his roster. A recent release from Bruins GM Don Sweeney indicated that veteran forward Lee Stempniak who was on a professional tryout agreement at the Bs training camp, will not be signed by Boston at this time. The Bruins’ decision came prior to this road trip in order to allow Stempniak to move forward with any other options he may have available to him.
Cassidy did answer the question regarding his goaltending tandem of Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak for the next two games, confirming that Rask would be the starter versus Calgary on Wednesday (last night), and Halak would be in net to face Edmonton tonight, Thursday (9 p.m). At this point, Cassidy’s goaltending decision has been to regularly alternate both goaltenders, and it has worked out well as their four-game win streak coming into Calgary will attest.
Boston’s top line of Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak, continue to impressive with their scoring prowess, having notched 30 points together in the five games prior to Calgary. The trio’s total to date is comprised of Bergeron (5-6-11) to lead the team in scoring, Marchand close behind wit (1-9-10), and the man with the fascinating moves – Pastrnak third in team scoring with (7-2-9).
The National Hockey League added to the accolades by naming Bergeron the NHL First Star of the Week ending October 14. The honor is well deserved as Bergeron also posted his fourth career hat trick versus the Ottawa Senators in Boston’s home opener – in which his choice of hats was to keep a cowboy hat thrown on the ice by a celebrating fan. Having played all 15 NHL seasons with the Bruins, Bergeron this year will reach the 1,000 NHL games played mark, barring any injuries in December. Injured Bruins defenseman Torey Krug (left ankle) is not on the West Coast trip, but plans are for him to resume skating this week to see how his injury handles the contact.
On Wednesday, November 28th, at The Sports Museum’s 17th annual fundraising gala, The Tradition will honor former Bruins coach (1974-1979), Don Cherry, as the 2018 Hockey Honoree, with Bruins legend Terry O’Reilly scheduled to make the presentation. The remaining Honorees are, Paul Pierce (Celtics), Jim Lonborg (Red Sox), Deion Branch (Patriots), Julie Foudy (USA Women’s Soccer), and Richard Petty (NASCAR). Watch ‘Bruins Beat’ for more info in the coming weeks regarding this worthy event which allows fans to enjoy great food, mingle, associate and get photos and autographs from the honored celebrities, and to learn who will be presenting the awards to the honorees, and more.
Every time Chelsea High girls track coach Mark Martineau set a goal for Stephanie Simon this season, the 5-foot-4-inch sophomore eclipsed it.
Stephanie Simon is on her way to another victory for the Chelsea High girls track team.
“I think Stephanie exceeded our expectations to the point that we don’t know what the expectations should be for Stephanie,” said Martineau, who has piloted the CHS track program’s resurgence and helped Simon develop in to its marquee performer.
Simon just completed an outdoor track season that was unprecedented in school history. She was the Commonwealth Athletic Conference MVP in the track and field events at the CAC Meet and the season-long honoree. She set six school records and won every event in which she competed, with the exception of one. Her older sister, Martine, an All-State performer heading to Mass. College of Art, edged her out one time in the triple jump.
Stephanie qualified for the Division 1 State Meet in six events (high jump, triple jump, long jump, 100 meters, 200 meters, and 100-meter hurdles). She entered three events in the Division 1 Meet and finished second in the triple jump, third in the high jump, and third in the 100-meter dash.
Competing in the New Balance Nationals at North Carolina A & T State University against the trop track athletes in the country, Simon placed 15th in the high jump and 27th in the triple jump.
Martineau believes Simon’s improvement has been striking and that her future is exceedingly bright.
“Stephanie has improved a ton from freshman to sophomore year, which leads us to believe that there is more room to grow,” said Martineau. “It’s hard to predict what her ceiling is.”
So who is this emerging superstar that is already drawing comparisons to Autumn Lopez, Denise Chappell, Kristin Rosa, Tiffany Moore, Katrina Hill, Nancy Pilcher, Laurie Taraskiewicz, Minerva Cruz, and Loreen Bradley – some of the greatest female athletes to wear the CHS uniform?
Stephanie is the 16-year-old daughter of Hubert and Mathilde Simon, who are of Haitian descent. Both parents played soccer in Haiti. Stephanie attended the Early Childhood Learning Center, the Berkowitz School and the Clark Avenue Middle School. In addition to an older sister, Martine, she has an older brother, Norbert, a graduate of CHS and UMass/Boston and a former CHS track athlete, and a younger brother, Emmanuel, who will be a freshman at CHS.
What is Stephanie Simon’s best track event?
“The high jump is my favorite event, but my best event is the triple jump,” she said.
Simon is already raising the bar for next season.
“My goal for the high jump is to jump 5-6 by the end of indoor season and 5-8 in the outdoor season. For the triple jump, I want to be able to jump 38 feet consistently and in the 100 meters, I want to be in the high, 11-seconds. And we’re going to try out the 400 meters next year,” she said confidently.
She views her sister, Martine, as a role model and a motivating influence in her track career.
“Martine taught me in my freshman year the do’s and don’ts and I appreciate all that she has done for me,” said Stephanie.
The MVC (Most Valuable Coach) in her athletic career is Martineau, without a doubt. Martineau, however, is stepping down as coach to be the Grade 9 assistant principal at CHS.
“Coach Martineau has been an incredible mentor who has brought out all the excellence in me and I’m definitely going to miss him as my coach,” said Stephanie, with emotion in her voice. She added that she was also appreciative of CHS Athletic Director Amanda Alpert’s support and encouragement.
College coaches are becoming aware of Stephanie Simon’s record-breaking accomplishments. A good student, Simon is looking at such prestigious institutions as Amherst College, Smith College, and Tufts University.
“I’m only a sophomore and I believe I can get better,” said Stephanie.
The Chelsea High boys and girls indoor rack teams were set to open their season last night (Wednesday) against Greater Lowell at Lynn Tech.
For the first time ever, the Commonwealth Athletic Conference will host an indoor track league.
Chelsea has competed for the past three years in the Greater Boston League. However, the GBL has disbanded, with all of its remaining teams joining the Northeastern Conference.
“Just like every year the boys will have to fight for every win,” said CHS coach Mark Martineau.
Coming off a good cross country season, the Red Devil distance crew will be the backbone of the team. Senior Jose Leclerc earned CAC MVP honors for both this past cross country season and also was the CAC MVP last spring.
“Jose is looking to have another great season,” noted Martineau.
Junior Justin Turner had a breakout season in the fall that he is looking to build on. The throws team will be led by seniors Tony Bui and Nelson Hernandez.
However, the sprint team for the boys is a big question mark at this point. Senior Alex Pedrero is the only returning sprinter with more than one season of experience.
“Much of our season will be determined by how well this group comes together,” added Martineau.
The Lady Red Devil squad is coming off CAC cross country and spring track titles. The team is led by standout senior Martine Simon.
“Martine has been competing well at the state level since her sophomore year,” said Martineau. “She is looking to have another great season in the 55m dash as well as the long jump.”
The CHS distance team is strong, but thin. The trio of Yarid Deras, Jocelyn Poste, and Amanda Dias should all compete well at the state level.
“We are hoping to continue to develop our younger runners to support them,” said Martineau. Sophomores Stephanie Simon and Isha Osman are coming off great freshman years. Stephanie already has achieved the state-qualifying mark of 4′-10″ in the high jump in her second practice of the year.
Junior Masireh Ceesay and senior Adamaris Perez will lead a strong throws team.
“The throws have been the foundation of this team for some years now,” said Martineau. “We will continue to rely on this crew.
“The challenge the girls will face this year is in terms of depth” Martineau added. “In many events we will only have one or two athletes. This will make it hard to win. If we have one or two injuries, it could be a tough season.”
After hundreds of athletic banquets, wedding receptions and a whose who list of Chelsea political functions, that history all came tumbling down last Friday when the French Naturalization Club on Spencer Avenue was demolished for affordable housing.
Crews secured the area last Thursday, and began the demo on Friday – taking down the old Function Hall that many had known from the old days of political times or youth sports banquets. By the end of it’s stretch, though, it had seen better times, as a man was murdered in the Club during a party a few years ago.
That led to the Club’s end, and it became vacant until The Neighborhood Developers (TND) purchased the property for an affordable housing development.
That development was controversial when Mill Hill neighbors learned late in the game of TND’s plans to put up the housing.
That sparked a vigorous debate throughout the community two years ago, and led to a scaling back of the project and a return of the Spencer Avenue Extension to the City so cars could continue using it.
Now, the project will include 34 units of affordable rental housing in a brand new building that will feature a community space on the bottom floor and the activation of the sidewalks with front porches on ground-floor units.
City Manager Tom Ambrosino said TND has its permits and its financing in place. They are ready to commence the construction phase now.
CHS girls capture CAC track title; Martine Simon is named meet MVP
The Chelsea High girls track team scored a dominating 154 points — a total that was more than the second (Essex Tech with 97 points) and third-place (Shawsheen Tech with 54 points) schools combined — to capture the 2017 championship of the Commonwealth Athletic Conference in a meet held Saturday at Shawsheen Tech.
Martine Simon was named the Meet MVP in recognition of her three CAC title-winning performances in the 100 meter dash (12.96), 200 dash (26.72), and the long jump (15’-10”). In addition, Martine took third in the triple jump with a distance of 33’-5”.
To put her feat into perspective, Martine’s total of 36 points for the Lady Red Devils was more than what half the other teams at the meet scored.
Senior Sylvia Agywaa was another standout for Chelsea. Sylvia took first in both the high hurdles (16.20, a new meet and CHS school record) and the low hurdles (1:11.86).
“Sylvia has had an amazing season and is getting stronger heading into next week’s state meet,” said CHS head coach Mark Martineau.
Sophomore Amanda Dias continued her winning ways, taking first place in the two mile and adding a third in the one mile for 16 points.
Fellow sophomore Jocelyn Poste enjoyed a fine day, taking second places in the 800 (2:36.39) and the 400 hurdles (1:13.19) to post 16 points in the Chelsea column.
Senior Owliyo Mohamud took second in the 400 in a personal record (PR) time of 1:01.48 and third in the 200m (27.75). Freshman Stephanie Simon also turned in a splendid day, grabbing second in the high jump with a PR leap of 5’-0”.
The throwing events continued to be a strength for Chelsea. The Lady Red Devils took second, third, and fourth places in the shotput, led by Alex Martinez and Michena Eugene.
Chelsea also grabbed three places in the discus with Masireh Ceesay taking second (87’-7”), Tracy Flores third (81’-0”), and Jessica Martinez fifth (77’-2”).
“This was a great way to cap off a record-setting season for this girls’ squad,” said Martineau. “This is an amazing and special group of girls. Graduation will hit us hard on the track and in terms of leadership. We will be looking for new girls to step up and continue the winning ways.”
The 2017 crown mark the second straight CAC Meet title and the third straight undefeated duial-meet season for the CHS girls.
“The graduating seniors will have finished their career with a record of 40 wins, one loss, and one tie,” added Martineau. “Not bad for four years of work.”
CHS boys take second at CAC; LeClerc named MVP
The Chelsea High boys track & field team turned in a superb performance, scoring 78 points to place second, behind only Shawsheen Tech, at Saturday’s Commonwealth Athletic Conference championship meet.
“This was an amazing day,” said CHS head coach Mark Matineau. “What makes this accomplishment really amazing is the fact that we only had 12 individual boys compete at this meet.”
Leading the way of Chelsea was league MVP Jose Leclerc, who won a tough double, taking the two-mile (10:45) as well as the 800 (2:09).
“Jose has been undefeated in both events this year and had to be really focused and disciplined to pull off the tough double in a big meet like this one,” said Martineau.
Adriel Cedano also had a big day, winning the 400m (52.53) and finishing second in the triple jump with a new CHS school record jump of 41’-4”. The old record had stood since 1973.
Nick Ieng had a big points-day, finishing fourth in the 100 (11.6), third in the shotput, third in the javelin, and fourth in the 200m.
“Nick’s performance sums up the story of this team — kids working really hard, competing in multiple events, and leaving it all out on the track,” noted Martineau. “I can honestly say that this is one of the toughest squads ever to come through our program. They refuse to quit or give in. Like the girls, the boys will graduate much of their leadership and points. We have a strong young distance core that is progressing well, we will need to fill some sprints and jumps to round out this team.”
This Saturday the girls and boys travel to the MIAA D2 state championships at Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational Technical High School.
“With 10 girls and six boys going, this looks to be the biggest squad we have ever brought,” said Martineau.
CHS baseball team ready to wrap up 2017
The Chelsea High baseball team was set to conclude its 2017 campaign this week. Coach Alan Beausoleil’s Red Devils were scheduled to play at Essex Tech this past Tuesday and will play their season finale today (Thursday) against Whittier Tech at Carter Park.
The CHS squad dropped both of its contests this past week, falling to Greater Lawrence, 10-0, and to St. Clement’s, 11-5.
In the latter contest, Luis Jimenez had a hit, stole three bases, and scored a run. Andrew Falcon banged a double for an RBI and drew a base-on-balls.
Chelsea had closed to within 7-5 by the middle of the sixth inning, but St. Clem’s pulled away with four markers in the bottom of the sixth.
Frank DePatto and the position of Chelsea High School director of athletics were a perfect fit for 28 years.
DePatto was a Chelsea guy, the CHS class of 1957 president and a student-athlete. He had been a lifelong advocate for Chelsea sports, from the time he had sponsored and coached a team in the local summer basketball league to the countless Chelsea High School games he had attended as a fan.
DePatto succeeded Saul Nechtem as head of the entire CHS athletic program in 1988. No one had to tell DePatto how prestigious it was to be at the helm of a high school athletic program in the vaunted Greater Boston League. And no one had to tell DePatto about the legendary figure he was succeeding as director of athletics.
In fact, it was Frank DePatto who recommended that the gymnasium inside the new Chelsea High School be named the “Saul Nechtem Gymnasium,” which it was.
DePatto’s superb reign as the leader of Chelsea High boys and girls sports ended on July 1 when he retired from the position.
“After 28 years as the AD at my alma mater, there are many people to thank, especially State Senator and School Committee member, the late Andrew P. Quigley and School Committee member, the late Morris Seigal – they were my mentors,” said DePatto. I also want to thank the many superintendents and principals who supported me along the way.
“It has a been a pleasure to serve the youth of the city of Chelsea, a city I truly love.”
One of DePatto’s closest friends and supporters through the years was former city manager Jay Ash, who played college basketball at Clark University. Ash is the State Secretary of Housing and Economic Development.
“I’m proud that I’ve been one of Jay Ash’s mentors,” he said.
DePatto said his first immersion in to the fabric of the Chelsea sports community came when he organized and sponsored a very successful men’s and women’s summer basketball league. He coached the Chelsea Record and Salon 312 teams in the men’s league that drew sizable crowds to the old Merritt Park courts. One of the opposing teams, Charles Lee Disposal, featured none other than Councillor-at-Large Leo Robinson, a former CHS hoop player, at point guard.
DePatto also coached semi-professional basketball with many college stars on the roster including Jay Ash, Rudy Williams, Jerry Scott, Stu Primus, Danny O’Callaghan, John Miller, and Eddie Thurman.
From summer basketball, DePatto made the jump to the Chelsea High athletic program as its director in 1988.
“Replacing the great Saul Nechtem upon his retirement – it was a job made from heaven,” said DePatto.
Very early in his tenure DePatto made a monumental decision: he recommended that the Chelsea-Everett Thanksgiving football series be discontinued after the 1989 contest in which Everett prevailed by a dominating 32-0 score. Chelsea hasn’t played Everett in football since that blowout.
“Everett was always just too good with many more skilled players than Chelsea and the score mostly always favored Everett,” related DePatto about his decision to end the century-old rivalry. “As someone who played in the Chelsea-Everett game in the mid-1950s, it was a hard decision to make, especially when we drew 10,000-12,000 fans for some of the Thanksgiving games. Times were changing and it was time to move on.”
DePatto hired Joe Gaff as head football coach in 1993 and two years later he led the Red Devils to their only Super Bowl championship, defeating Old Colony for the title.
Around the same time DePatto brought Ramona Foster on board as the new Chelsea High girls basketball coach and Foster “turned the program around.”
DePatto made it a point during his directorship to recognize those individuals who contributed much to CHS athletics. It was DePatto who recommended that the press box at Chelsea Memorial Stadium be named in memory of the late Arnold Goodman, a beloved teacher, player and coach.
DePatto helped launch the Stop & Shop High School Basketball Tournament, bringing the best teams in New England to Chelsea. Teaming up with Leo Papile of the BABC and philanthropist Herbie Kupersmith, DePatto raised more than $55,000 for Chelsea scholarships. Teams from as far away as Hawaii and Florida played in the tournament “and we were the talk of the basketball universe for 15 years.”
When Boston hosted the NBA Summer League, the Philadelphia (76ers) and Indiana (Pacers) teams held their practices at Chelsea High.
DePatto said his proudest accomplishment was sending many CHS athletes on to compete at the college level. DePatto was instrumental in former soccer star Michael Bustamante’s matriculation at Boston University. Bustamante later continued his career for the New York Red Bulls in Major League Soccer (MLS), a professional league in the United States.
DePatto always stood up for Chelsea High athletes, once packing the Aldermanic Chambers for a School Committee meeting at City Hall to help change a rule that brought Chelsea’s academic eligibility requirements for athletes in line with MIAA requirements.
He re-instituted the indoor and outdoor track programs that are now producing championship teams. He organized the first Chelsea High Annual Awards Assembly 26 years ago. He also launched the girls soccer program.
During his time as AD, DePatto returned to the sidelines as an assistant coach on Jack Niven’s boys basketball staff. He served as the head coach for three seasons before Jay Seigal succeeded him.
Last year, DePatto was selected to represent the Commonwealth Athletic Conference at the National Athletic Directors Conference. He received numerous awards in recognition of his outstanding service at Chelsea High.
“I made many friends as athletic director – a job that I loved,” said DePatto. “I am a former player, a former coach, and now a former AD, and I will always be –a No. 1 fan of the Red Devils. I’m proud to have followed Saul Nechtem and a great line of coaches and athletic directors.”
DePatto made it a point to wish new director of athletics Amanda Alpert “success in her endeavors.”
“I’m going to miss Chelsea greatly,” said DePatto, who finished out the 2015-16 school year at the request of Supt. of Schools Dr. Mary Bourque, who wanted him to be part of the transition process. “There will be a void in my life. This job truly has been a labor of love.”
Outgoing Athletic Director Frank DePatto was honored with a football jersey bearing his original number during the 26th Annual Chelsea Sports Awards last Thursday night, May 26. DePatto spoke of the game he played at which he cost the team a victory, but learned a valuable lesson in life.
When Amanda Alpert takes office on July 1 as athle
New Chelsea High School director of athletics Amanda Alpert is pictured adjacent to the school sign. Alpert will take office July 1 as the leader of the athletic program
tic director (AD) at Chelsea High School, she will be the first woman to serve in the prestigious position.
Alpert’s official title is coordinator of physical education, comprehensive health, and athletics for the Chelsea school district but it’s those two letters – AD – that all will recognize for being the person in charge of all CHS sports programs.
The late Saul Nechtem held the position for a half century before Frank DePatto succeeded Nechtem in 1989. DePatto is stepping down this year after a sterling 27-year career.
Supt. of Schools Dr. Mary Bourque appointed Alpert to the new position that also includes overseeing physical education and health classes in all local schools. Alpert is a guidance counselor at CHS but has begun the transition to her new office.
“I’m excited about my new position and putting my thoughts in to action,” said the 32-year-old Alpert.
She is currently a CHS boys and girls assistant track coach and she previously served as an assistant coach on Mike Stellato’s football staff.
Alpert has made a name for herself as a women’s professional tackle football player, having won all-league honors as an offensive lineman 11 times. She has played on three Super Bowl championship teams and is still active as a player for the Boston Renegades, who play their home games at Dilboy Stadium in Somerville. This weekend, Alpert and her team will fly to Pittsburgh for a professional game that will be televised by the local Pittsburgh station.
Alpert played tennis and competed in indoor and outdoor track at Saugus High and went on to compete in track at Endicott College. She holds a Master’s degree in School Counseling from Suffolk University and is pursuing a Master’s degree in Athletic Administration.
She was a teacher at Malden High School before becoming a guidance counselor at CHS in 2009. Alpert is now poised to build on the success of the CHS athletic program that competes in the Commonwealth Athletic Conference.
Alpert feels that CHS athletes should be receiving more recognition for their accomplishments.
“I would like to see the community more involved in the athletic program,” said Alpert. “I think the accomplishments of our athletes need to be publicized. Some of our athletes are amazing scholars and I want the community to know about them and where they’re going to college. I want our student-athletes to focus more on their studies and be more serious about their education.”
She will also stress sportsmanship to the CHS student-athletes. “I would love to say that winning a championship for every team is my goal but realistically it’s not. I think what’s more important is what the students are learning through playing sports.”
Alpert intends to meet with Chelsea parents to discuss the school’s expectations for student-athletes. She will also reach out to the leaders of Chelsea youth sports programs.
She thanked Dr. Bourque for the opportunity and said the schools’ top administrator has been very helpful to her in her new role. “Dr. Bourque has been super supportive through this whole process and I’m very lucky to have someone like her involved in this transition.”
Amanda Alpert has been immersed in Chelsea for much of her life. She is a member of a well-known philanthropic Chelsea family. Her father, Allan, is the city’s emergency management director and the esteemed toastmaster general for local social events. Her grandfather, Norman Alpert, played sports at Chelsea High and was a CHS teacher, while his brother, Julius Alpert, was also a standout athlete at Chelsea High School.
She is grateful to her parents, Allan and Laraine Alpert, for their support and encouragement throughout her athletic and professional career.
“When I told my parents that athletic administration was a field I wanted to pursue, they were 100 percent supportive,” said Alpert. “Whether it’s been women’s pro football games or coming to track meets or tennis matches in high school, they would come by to watch me compete. I think my father has missed one only one home football game in my playing career. They’ve been great through everything. They’re excited for me and I think my dad is really excited for me to be so involved in sports in Chelsea because they were really important to his dad. I think he’s proud that I found a love for Chelsea that he has and that his father had.”
The Chelsea Public School announced on Wednesday that Amanda Alpert has been chosen the next Director of Athletics for the Chelsea Public Schools.
She will begin her role on July 1, and the role will be expanded to include director of physical education and health. The official title, which is new, is Coordinator of PE, Health and Athletics, and it is a full-time position.
The former Athletics Director, Frank DePatto, served for decades in the position, and had been serving on a part time basis.
“Amanda has served as Track & Field Coach from 2006 to the present and Assistant Junior Varsity Football Coach from 2009 to 2012,” said Supt. Mary Bourque in an official announcement. “Since her involvement with the Chelsea High School Girls Track and Field Team, the team has experienced five undefeated season and four conference meet championships. Amanda believes deeply that these awards are wonderful, but it is the Sportsmanship Award that she wants all our teams bringing home. Amanda was awarded the Commonwealth Conference Coach of the Year Award in 2012. Amanda will spend the next few weeks transitioning from guidance counselor to Coordinator for PE, Health, and Athletics. We thank Frank DePatto for serving and supporting her during these transition months.”
Alpert holds a B.S. in Psychology; a M.Ed. in School Counseling and she will soon receive her second Master’s Degree, a M.Ed. in Athletic Administration. She is the daughter of Chelsea Emergency Management Director Allan Alpert.
Alpert’s Chelsea career began in 2008 as a Special Education Inclusion Teacher at the Brown Middle School. Since 2009, she has been a guidance counselor at Chelsea High School.
“She understands the vision of the school district to integrate over the next few years: PE, Health, and Athletics as one comprehensive K-12 model where healthy eating and active living are the key skills our students leave us with; active living will include a vibrant sports program,” said Bourque. “Amanda’s experience as a guidance counselor brings to the athletics position a high regard and high standard for promoting Chelsea scholar-athletes.”