Each year it is a challenge for me to select the top 10 sports stories of the year. This year it was a challenge to even find 10 that actually happened.
Still, even with the coronavirus cancelling most of the sports events this past year, I was able to recall 10 that, nonetheless, were still deserving of the honor. So here are the In the Sport-light top 10 sports stories of 2020:
Cheer like Hull
The Hull High School Winter Cheerleading squad took third place at the SSL Championship and did so with an impressive score of 80.8, the highest score in school history. The score qualified the squad for the regional finals at Worcester State College.
The Hull Boosters were not deterred by COVID-19 restrictions. Unable to have their annual awards ceremony, the Boosters personally delivered their awards in early July to recipients at home and took a photo of each delivery. In total, 58 awards were bestowed on Hull High School athletes for the 2019-2020 academic year. Senior Trevor MacDonald was selected as the top male athlete of the year, while senior Lauren Anastos was chosen as the Most Outstanding Student Athlete.
Little League champs on fire
The coveted Hull Youth Baseball championship was won by Hull Fire, which blanked Richardson Insurance 6-0 to take home the title. Cole Hendrickson fired a complete game one-hitter and fanned 12 batters for the champs. Will Kennerson and J.D. McAuliffe led the offensive fireworks. Hull Fire suffered just one loss during the season.
Soccer teams not sidelined
With the blessing from the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association, the Pirates boys’ and girls’ varsity and JV soccer teams took to the pitch, albeit in a restricted and shortened season. Both varsity teams had competitive seasons, with each having impressive performances in the South Shore League playoffs. The boys (5-7) were individually honored with the selection of head coach Becca Garber as the SSL Tobin Division Coach of the Year. Senior co-captain Hayden Anastos was chosen as an EMass All-Star in addition to being an SSL All-Star. League all-star selections also went to Nolan Tiani and Jack Burke. The Lady Pirates (5-8) placed five team members as SSL all-stars: senior co-captains Siobhan Burke and Carly Donovan, as well as Jenna Canavan, Nina Tiani and Bridget Fleming.
Healey heading to Harvard
Hull High School junior Ryan Healey made a verbal commitment to play Division 1 college hockey at Harvard University. In May, he was the seventh overall selection in the U.S. Hockey League draft by the Sioux Falls Stampede and performed well at the team’s tryout camp in Sioux Falls, S.D., in July. He currently plays for the U16 Boston Advantage club team.
For the first time in recent memory, all the Hull kids playing in the Hingham-Hull Babe Ruth League played on the same team – the Dodgers. And that team took first place in the regular season before falling in the league playoffs championship game. The team was coached by Hull resident Eric Rickard. The season ended with the first baseball game to be played at the new Hull High School turf field with the annual league all-star game. Rickard was selected as the league’s Coach of the Year, and his son Ethan Rickard won the Silver Slugger Award for the league’s top offensive player. In the fall, Rickard coached the Hingham-Hull travel team to the league championship with a 10-2 win over East Bridgewater.
The Hull Youth Travel basketball teams had a solid season, and many were on track to win playoff championships before COVID-19 cancelled the post season abruptly. However, the eighth-grade girls were able to play its title tilt in early March, which resulted in a 42-36 win over Whitman to capture the South Shore League Division 2 championship. The seventh-grade boys, sixth-grade boys, and fifth- grade boys also had playoff wins and were still alive in the post-season when the rest of the playoffs were cancelled.
In January, the Hull High School boys’ varsity basketball team played at the TD Garden in Boston as part of a daylong schedule of games in the Andrew Lawson Invitational Tournament. The Pirates tipped off against SSL rival Abington and dropped a 79-60 decision. Trevor MacDonald had the most points on the parquet for Hull, with 24. Mike Manchester added 13 points, and Daniel Punchard had 11 for the Pirates.
A grand performance
Hull High School senior Trevor MacDonald surpassed the 1,000-career point total in Hull’s 60-46 win at Carver in January. He ended the season with more than 1,300 points, including a personal best 47 points vs. Carver in Hull’s overtime win at home, in what head coach Steve Capone said was “the greatest individual performance by a high school player he had ever seen.”
No sports for you
This annual reflection of the past year reminds us of the best events in Hull sports that have happened. But it is the many more sports events that did not happen that was the top story of 2020. When the NBA and NHL suddenly stopped their seasons, and the March Madness college basketball tournament was cancelled, we knew something was up. It was shortly after when the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association also called a time-out in the middle of the state tournament. But did we really imagine it would happen to the spring season? It did. The Hull baseball, softball, lacrosse, and track seasons were cancelled, along with the Hull Youth Soccer travel and in-town seasons.
Surely this would all be done by the fall. It wasn’t. Under strict protocols and guidelines, the high school soccer teams played, but the football team did not. The boys of autumn suddenly became the boys of February. And for the first time in our lifetime, there were no gridiron games on Thanksgiving. With one final blow, COVID-19 punched out the 2020-2021 winter season as the Hull school administration opted not to have sports due to rising coronavirus cases.
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