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Quite a year for Golden Bear girls

POSTED June 02, 2013
BY Rick Wilson
Twitter: @scribewilson

                                     Quite a year for Golden Bear Girls


            THOMASTON – Thomaston High Athletic Director Bill Ryan couldn’t think of year like this nor could I. And we’ve been around a while now. Simply put, while there is still a week or so left in the spring sports season, this has already been the finest year ever for girls sports at Thomaston High School.

            The Bears grabbed at least a share of the fifth softball title in school history recently, tying Terryville for the crown with a 16-2 league record. Call coach Gene Torrence’s team champs.

            Now, in what one would call a delicious piece of irony, Thomaston and Terryville will square off in the Class S semifinals. Batten down the hatches.

            That would be a great story if that was all there was. Championships are worthy of salutes and stand on their own. But this was more of a final touch of crowning glory to a year for the ages.

            The Thomaston girls now own the Berkshire League cross country title, basketball title, BL basketball tournament title and softball title. The rest isn’t half bad either.

            Coach Brooke Holway’s field hockey team finished one game and about 10 seconds short of grabbing a field hockey title when it lost to Nonnewaug in the final game of the regular season. Thomaston stormed the net in the final minute and had a shot hit off of the post as time ran out. A 12-3-1 record was the finest season in the program’s history and most wins.

            The girls track team has registered another fine third place finish in the BL while coach Jeff Dauphinais’ tennis team was 11-5 good for third place in the BL and might have finished even higher if not for an injury to key player, Allison Snow.

            Four titles and upper echelon finishes in other sports. Not bad for the smallest school in the Berkshire League, real quality stuff.

A lot of ingredients here from good coaching to dedicated and talented athletes and a fierce Golden Bear pride that has surfaced big-time in recent years.

Mark Olsen is becoming an iconic cross country coach with six state titles (boys and girls) and his girls team doesn’t know the meaning of losing in the BL these years with six straight titles. The last time they lost a BL meet, Franklin Roosevelt was thinking about a fifth term. Okay, not quite but you get the message.

This year they added a twist when junior Sabrina Olsen posted a powerful winning performance defeating the favored Steph Deccy of Lewis Mills. Teammate Cam Chaplen was right behind.

Chaplen would later cap off her career in style by capturing the Class S state title, followed closely by Olsen who already has a state title on resume.

The beat continued on during the winter. The Bears shook off determined bids by Nonnewaug and Lewis Mills (whom they went 5-0 against) to win their third basketball  championship in four years.

The BL Tournament title followed and then it got really good. A run for the ages took the Bears to the Class S title game for the first time since 1994 and turned a town into lifetime fans. The week building up to the championship game which the Bears lost to Capital Prep was one of the proudest weeks in school and town history and the excitement was tangible wherever you went.

Coach Bob McMahon’s bunch was a lot of team, both coaches and players, and an awful lot of senior Maggie Eberhardt and junior Abby Hurlbert. The 5-foot-3 bundle of fierce trouble for the opponents and the rugged, athletic 5-foot-9 junior who can do everything was a championship duo.

Eberhardt saved her biggest games for the biggest opponents just as Nonnewaug and Mills. She averaged over 17 points a game and finished her career with 1,103 points. Hurlbert scored 28 points and grabbed 10 rebounds against the No. 1 team in the state, Capital Prep. That’s all you need to know about her. Well, that and the push of Capital Prep center Kiah Gillespie which sent a message to all.

Certainly the Bears were more than Hurlbert and Eberhardt. Senior Sydney Keith saved the best basketball of her career for the final month of the season and contributions came from everywhere. Junior Brittany Thomas, freshmen Morgan Sanson, Charlie Eberhardt and Gabrielle Hurlbert also played key roles.

The Bears were good but they are building a legacy here that doesn’t involved losing. There is almost a maniacal desire to win and so much pride in the program.

Gene Torrence’s softball team has been superb. Two losses to Terryville in the BL, that’s it. When the team lost a classic 1-0, 13-inning duel to Terryville last week it looked like the title was taken away.

Not quite. The Bears rallied for five runs in the final inning to overcome Northwestern Regional and then took care of Nonnewaug and Litchfield to earn the crown. On the mound, a familiar face – one Miss Abby Hurlbert.  But there was more.

Seniors Alexa Torrence, Rachael DePaulo,  Abby DuPont, Karley Conway and Shannon April along with junior Erin O’Neill, sophomore Nina Barone, freshman Morgan Sanson (another familiar name), Gabrielle Hurlbert and Julia Romaniello have also done their part.

You want more – Sabrina Olsen winning the 800 in the BL Track and Field Championships and what Maggie Eberhardt still scoring points and winning titles. Eberhardt recently won the Class S and BL javelin titles (she can shoot and throw) and finished third in the long jump and javelin. That’s a heck of a career.

The Bears 4x800 team of Becky Perugini, Sabrina Olsen, Cam Chaplen and Charlie Eberhardt won the Class S championship.

Junior Meg Fitzgerald had a superb season for the girls tennis team along with the doubles team of Rhianon Mecca and Jessenia Gonzalez.

Wherever you looked this school year the Thomaston girls came up winners. And champions. There has never quite been a year like it.

Who’s better than the Bears? In girls sports this year, not many if any.

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