Yes, we’re comparing apples to oranges. Mmmm, fruit is good. And so is a little healthy debate.
This week kicks off our newest feature on MVC Sports Today, the MVCST Fab 5. Each week, we’ll rank the top 5 teams across all sports in the MVC. It’s a tall task that is sure to spark some debate and questions, but any discussion of our area’s student athletes is good publicity, right?
Each week, we will offer our take and also show you the results of the fans’ take from our Twitter poll that includes the top 4 teams on our list. Here we go.
5. North Andover Girls Indoor Track Team.
Rick Dellechaie won MVC Coach of the Year for cross country in the fall, so the continued success should come as no shock. The depth of the roster is ultra-impressive.
The Knights won four events at the first MVC meet, with Ava Nassar taking the long jump, Sarah Lavery winning the high jump, Ella Slayton taking the300 and Kelsey Dion taking the 600. But even more impressive, the team had 20 different top-10 finishers in their events.
They are only No. 5 because of lack of sample size at this point, but their 10-0 start is no fluke.
4. HPNA Girls Ice Hockey.
Gary Kane’s squad is two wins away from matching last year’s win total and the team hasn’t even played in the New Year. They have never finished first in the MVC Small or Large, but currently sit atop the Large standings alongside Westford Academy.
The team plays the Ghosts Saturday. A win there will solidify their place in the Fab 5 with a big preseason goal moment looming on Jan. 11: beat Methuen-Tewksbury for the first time EVAH (0-10-2 against the Red Rangers).
3. Central Catholic Wrestling.
The Raiders’ success in the early part of the season is not a surprise. They finished 21-1 last season and returned a stacked squad. Coach Jamie Durkin’s crew is taking care of business against on-paper lesser teams thus far with wins over Tewksbury and Dracut, but where they have truly shined is in their tournament efforts.
The team had four champs apiece at the Blue Devil Classic and Wilmington Sons of Italy tourneys and Mike Glynn won his third tourney title taking the 138 crown at the epic Bossi tourney in Lowell. The 2-0 start is without their crew even clicking on all cylinders yet.
They make the list ahead of Haverhill simply based on total number of tourney champs thus far but both could be atop the Fab 5 soon enough.
2. Chelmsford Girls Basketball.
The Lions are a perfect 6-0 and successfully defended their Romano Tourney title. Coach Kevin Branco’s team has already beaten Dracut, Tewksbury (twice, once at Romano), Haverhill and Lowell (Romano) but the true test of whether this team is ready to take the next step will come against the 3-1 Raiders on Friday, a team that hasn’t lost an MVC game in two seasons.
Hannah Polce and Meghan Goode are both among MVC scoring leaders with Kate Krueger and Ellen Angwin just two members of a deep supporting cast. We’re ranking on today, not on past performance, thus the Lions are up high.
Taking on, and taking down, a team that has two college-bound players in Nadeshka Bridgewater and Emily Downer will be the true test as to the Lions’ staying power on the Fab 5.
1. Lowell Boys Basketball.
No. 2 on the Globe’s top 20 (not sure on Herald’s list because I don’t pay for their site, only reason I’m paying for Globe at moment is they ran a ridiculous Columbia House-level deal … seriously dating myself there. Google it, kids.)
The Red Raiders have already ticked an item off the to-do list, beating Central Catholic, 64-57 on Dec. 23 at CCHS – the team they lost to by six in the Division 1 Semis last year. They beat Lawrence, 71-50, to start the year. They beat Billerica and Haverhill handily in the IAABO 95 tourney. The team has four players that can put up double digits any night (and averaging double digits so far).
An official visit to the Hillies, Methuen at home and a visit to Tewksbury lie ahead in the next week with a date with the other team getting Globe love, 3-2 Andover, on Jan. 17. Congrats to Carlos Nunez for becoming the sixth player in school history to eclipse the 1,000-point mark.
OTHER TEAMS ON THE CUSP:
Billerica wrestling (4-0), Billerica boys hoops (4-2), Central Catholic girls hoops (3-1), Tewksbury and Dracut girls hoops (both 4-2), CCHS boys hockey (4-0-1), Lowell boys track (9-1), CCHS girls track (9-1), CCHS boys track (10-0), Haverhill wrestling (2-0), Chelmsford boys swimming (3-1)
Here’s what voters thought on Twitter as we released our top four teams in no order for a social media vote.