Todd Kress the Class I Coach of the Year for the Pythons with NHIAA official Jeff Holmes.
Salem basketball coach E. J. Perry had a little extra jump in his step last Sunday night as he got ready to coach the Class L Senior Stars against coach Todd Kress and his Class I stars at Concord Vocational Technical School in the Granite State Games. Perry, along with Jeff Holmes of Exeter, coached a Class L All-Stars team that saw Blue Devils Josh Jones and Mike Kimball play with new teammates like Brennan Donnelly of Alvirne and Jason Chevrefils of Memorial, who had just got done a 27-point performance last Wednesday night to knock the Blue Devils out of the tournament. Jones and Kimball and the rest of the Class L All-Star Seniors were off to a nice 48-36 halftime lead before NHIAA official Jeff Holmes took to the microphone to name Pelham senior guard Justin Hojlo the Class I Player of the Year. Hojlo was dressed and at the game but did not play because of a serious injury to his thumb that he suffered in the Pelham semi-final 56-54 win over Laconia. Hojlo went to the Class I finals twice and won one title and tossed in 1,210 points in his four years of playing for the Pythons. Right after that, Todd Kress was called to the podium to accept the Class I Coach of the Year for the Pythons. Kress admitted that the brand of basketball played ay Pelham High has been great since about 2002 and shows no signs of letting up, with nine players returning next season.
Jeff Holmes named Manchester West’s first-year coach Sam Carey as the Class L Coach of the Year, and then Salem senior Josh Jones came up to accept the Mr. Basketball Award for New Hampshire. Jones was congratulated by Mike Kimball and his other teammates, but his coach E. J. Perry said, “Boy, is that kid ever deserving of this award. Josh and Kimball play that same kind of ‘share the ball’ style of play, and as you can see, it’s contagious. He’s so unselfish and wanting to get the ball inside for better shots, and he’s been doing it for me for the last four years. We’ve won 78 games and two titles with Josh and Kimball the last four years, and I don’t want to know what it’s going to feel like next December 1st when they’re not around.” Josh Jones swished 1,345 points in those four years, but was still averaging eight rebounds a game, four assists per game, and two steals per game. Josh and Mike Kimball were able to combine for 20 points in the 108-89 win over the Class I Senior All-Stars, but it would have been a lot closer if Mr. Justin Hojlo had been able to play and toss in his usual 28 points a game.
Justin Hojlo the Class I Player of the Year with NHIAA official Jeff Holmes.
Pelham wrestling coach Bob Riddinger had to say good-bye to four of his senior wrestlers last week, but with three wrestlers placing in the Meet of Champions and two of them returning next season, he had to be happy about it. About the only problem that Riddinger has encountered over the past two years as Pelham’s coach has been the number of kids who have come out for the sport. They have been teetering around 18 to 20 kids on the team, but those kids who do come out are busting their butts in practices and in Meets. The Pythons brought three of their wrestlers up to Londonderry High to wrestle against the best kids in the state, and junior Mike Perruccio came a whisker away from going to the New England Meet in the 125-pound division when he placed fourth. Perruccio missed out when he lost a 5-3 match in overtime to a kid from Keene, but his coach loved the effort. Coach Riddinger said of Perruccio, “He is just the most consistent wrestler on our team because he’s been doing it for us the last three years. There’s a reason why he has 32, 33, and 32 wins over the past three seasons, and it all starts with hard work.” The next Pelham wrestler to place in the states was freshman 103-pounder Josh Medeiros who took fifth place at the Meet of Champions when he came and won his last match 3-0 over a kid from White Mountain Regional. His coach said, “I thought Josh had a great season. He took first place in Division 2 and he told me that he’s going to be wrestling all summer long and that is going to help him be even better next year. He’s still got some things to learn, but he’s going to be very dangerous for us the next three years.” The last Python to place in sixth was senior 152-pounder Mark Riddinger, one of two Riddinger’s that wrestled for their dad. Mark started out the season injured but just kept pressing to get better and he was at his best come Division 2 Meet and Meet of Champions time. Mark finished sixth at the Meet of Champions and beat two kids along the way who had beaten him twice in the regular season. Bob Riddinger said, “You know, I have to give a lot of credit to Mark for the way he fought through the injuries and the way he came through for us late in the season. It was also kind of special to me to coach Mark and R.J. for their senior season and for us to have a successful season.”
Riddinger said, “All of the kids have to play through injuries for us to be successful, and I scheduled a lot of meets against Division 1 teams from Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts so that we were going to be getting better because we were wrestling against the best. Roger Allen really came around for us at 119 pounds and improved tremendously over last year, and at 130 pounds, Josh Lynde really stepped it up, especially at the end of the season, and he’s only a sophomore. I had 12 kids wrestling in almost every Meet and six of those kids were experienced and six weren’t this year. With what a lot of kids have told me about what they’ll be doing with attending camps in the off season, that will be changing next season. We’ve got the word out, and I think we’re going to be getting seven or eight kids that all wrestled the last year or two and they’ll be freshmen next year, so we’ll see what happens.”
The Gym-Ken Gymnastics Boys Team traveled to Brentwood on Saturday, March 7 to compete at the NH Men’s Gymnastics State Championships. Teams from all over NH, including Brentwood, Bow, Windham, Amherst, North Hampton, Hudson and Dover were represented.
The Gym-Ken boys have had strong performances throughout the competitive season and Saturday was no exception.
Erik Hillman of Windham placed sixth in the All Around while taking third on floor, third on vault and third on parallel bars as a Level 5 (10-11 age division).
The Gym-Ken Boys Level 5 Team won the third place team trophy.
Congratulations also goes out to Joseph Penney of Pelham who won the All Around State Championship for Level 6 (10-11 age division) with a score of 81.5. Joseph placed second on floor, first on pommel horse, first on rings, second on vault, first on parallel bars and third on high bar as a first year Level 6. This is quite an accomplishment for Joseph.
Congratulations to Timmy Raymond of Windham who won the All Around State Championship for Level 6 (12-plus age division) with a score of 80.7. Timmy placed fourth on floor, first on pommel horse, first on rings, first on vault, second on parallel bars and first on high bar to capture the title. Timmy hopes to compete for the Windham High School team.
Although the Level 6 team was missing member Tyler Bissonnette due to illness, the Gym-Ken Boys Level 6 team still managed to win the third place team trophy.
11-0 Pythons Win State Title over Gilford - 2007 State Division V Football Champions
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