TEAM RECORD: 12-5-5
KEY HIGHLIGHTS: The Eagles entered the Super 8 state tournament as the No. 4 seed. They first traveled to Loring Arena in Framingham for a first-round matchup against Catholic Conference rival Xaverian, the No. 5 seed in this double-elimination tournament.
Before a packed house, the Prep carried the play for the better part of the first two periods, building up a 2-0 lead on a power play goal from senior tri-captain and defenseman Jack Gilligan (Salem), followed by a laser from senior tri-captain and forward Ryan Webb (Rockport).
Penalties became a concern for the Eagles in the final frame, when Xaverian cut the lead in half during a 4-on-4 sequence, but St. John’s buckled down in the defensive zone to hold off a late flurry by the Hawks, who inserted an extra skater after pulling the goalie.
Moving on into the winner’s bracket, the Prep took on top-seeded Arlington last Sunday. In front of a sold-out crowd at Stoneham Arena that packed standing-room attendees three deep on the upper concourse, the Eagles struggled to get on track early, surrendering three first period goals to the Spy Ponders.
For the next two frames, the Prep dominated play and possession, but scratched out only one goal, a strike from senior forward Ned Malolepszy on the power play, despite outshooting their opponents, 36-26.
THE WEEK AHEAD: After press deadline, fourth-seeded St. John’s was scheduled to face No. 6 seed Xaverian (9-7-6) on Wednesday, March 4, at 6 p.m. in a Division 1A Super 8 elimination game again at Stoneham Arena. A victory would put the Eagles in a win-or-go-home showdown on Saturday, March 7, versus the winner of the matchup between No. 2 seed Boston College High (14-4-4) and No. 8 Framingham (15-6-2), also scheduled for March 4.
RECENT RESULTS: Tied for fourth at All-State Championships
KEY HIGHLIGHTS: St. John’s Prep produced four top-five finishes at the All-State tournament last Saturday in Methuen, including bronze-medal performances by freshman Rawson Iwanicki (53-3) of Andover at 138-pounds and senior Achilles Gikas (49-5) of Peabody at 160.
The former won the state Division 1 title earlier this month, while the latter took silver at that meet.
Capping a phenomenal sophomore campaign, Adam Schaeublin (54-2) of Salem, the Division 1 champion at 106, took fourth place. Junior Nick Curley (50-5) of Burlington, the state Division 1 silver medalist at 113, finished fifth.
In the team competition, powerhouse Springfield Central scored 119 points, followed by Central Catholic (80) and Chelmsford (70), while Melrose and the Prep settled for a tie for fourth with 68 points apiece.
THE WEEK AHEAD: Schaeublin, Curley, Iwanicki and Gikas will compete at the 2020 New England High School Wrestling Championships on Saturday and Sunday, March 7 and 8, at Methuen again.
KEY HIGHLIGHTS: At last weekend’s New England Interscholastic Championships, junior Harry Portorreal (Lawrence) took eighth in the long jump competition with a leap of 21 feet, 4 inches. He finished sixth in the state (21-6.75) to qualify for last weekend’s event.
Meanwhile, the Prep’s 4 by 400 relay quartet finished 11th on the strength of quality splits from senior Jack Wilmot (Topsfield), junior Griffin Tache (Middleton), sophomore Tyee Ambrosh (Wenham) and junior Jarrett Young (Haverhill).
At last week’s BU Last Chance Meet, senior Steven Jackson (Reading) narrowly missed the school record in the 1,000, clocking in at 2:31.37.
Senior Connor Hughes (Melrose) and junior George Nikolakopoulous (Lynn) both had personal bests in the mile, crossing the line in 4:28 and 4:29, respectively.
Breakthrough freshman Nathan Lopez (Lynnfield) ran an 8:56.68 in the 3,000, which smashed the Prep freshman record, which ranks as one of the top times in the nation in his class. Lopez sits in the top three nationwide among freshmen in the 1-kilometer, the mile and 3,000.
THE WEEK AHEAD: The Eagles’ top five distance athletes – Jackson, Hughes, Lopez, Nikolakopoulos and junior Noah Mooney (Georgetown) – will compete at the New Balance Nationals Indoor Meet (March 13, 14) in New York City.
Chad Konecky is a Communication Specialist for St. John’s Prep.