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The 12 Biggest Local Sports Stories of 2013

To call 2013 a year of triumph for local athletes would be an understatement. Teams from Milford High, Nipmuc, and Blackstone Valley Tech won three state championships, five sectional titles, and totaled more than two-dozen postseason appearances. We saw one local athlete reach the highest level of professional sports, another capture multiple state championships, another set a state record, and still another suit up for Team USA. Before flipping the calendar to 2014, let us take a final look back to 2013. As we celebrate the 12 Days of Christmas, we can remember the 12 biggest local sports stories of 2013. Happy Holidays everyone!

Milford's Kevin Bradley wins two more state titles: Bradley won both the IM and the 500-freestyle for the 5th and 6th state championships of his high school career. He did not lose a race in either of those events in three years, and was a double-winner in the state meet three years in a row. A member of the USA Swimming Gold Medal team, Bradley is currently swimming for the University of Notre Dame on a full scholarship. He was undefeated in dual meets and broke every non-diving record at MHS.

Milford Basketball wins district title in Manguso's final year: Steve Manguso's 2013 team finished 20-4 and captured the Central Sectional title thanks to a stunning comeback win over Wachusett and a last-second win over St. John's High School in the final. Manguso won 435 games and 12 league titles as head coach of the Scarlet Hawks. He only missed the postseason five times and won district championships in 1998 and 2013. Manguso stepped down from his position at MHS to accept a job as an assistant coach at Clark University.

Colabello makes it to the majors: Milford High grad Chris Colabello fulfilled a lifelong dream and capped a nine-year odyssey through professional baseball when he was called up to the major leagues this summer. Colabello made his debut on May 22nd, playing for the Minnesota Twins against the Atlanta Braves. He played 55 games in the majors in 2013 and hit seven home runs, including two game-winning homers. Colabello is the first Milford resident to play in the majors since Ralph Lumenti in 1959.

Milford softball repeats as state champion: A talented senior class of Shannon Smith, Lauren Hanna, Rachel Levine, Caroline Fairbanks, and Lizzie Stallone guided the Milford softball team to four district championships, three appearances in the state title game, and state championships in 2012 and 2013. Under head coach Brian Macchi, the Scarlet Hawks beat Agawam 1-0 to claim the title this year. Four of the five seniors are playing college softball, including Smith who graduated as the state's all time leader in strikeouts.

Milford High volleyball advances to state final: The Scarlet Hawks battled injury and inexperience en route to a second straight berth in the state championship match. But for the second straight year, they came up just short. Milford lost a four-set match to Agawam to settle for state runner up once again in 2013. Senior setter Tim McManus, along with Michael Soares, Michael Antonellis, and Kevin Marshall helped lead the team under Hall of Fame coach Linda Zacchilli.

Milford Legion wins state championship: Post 59 finished the year 32-5, capturing the Zone 4 title, the sectional crown, and the intrastate championship under manager Brian Macchi. It's the first state title for the legion program since 2001, and was sparked by a deep pitching staff that included Milford residents JJ Branch, Mike Tracy, and Dan Avery, the latter of whom attended Blackstone Valley Tech. All season long, Nipmuc's Scott Hubener helped set the table for a powerful heart of the order that included Hopedale's Dan Mantoni and Ian Strom and Milford High grad Matt Ferrelli.

BVT & Nipmuc Volleyball "Dig Pink:" In a year of successes on the fields and courts, the Valley Tech and Nipmuc volleyball programs found success in service. In its fifth year, the Valley Tech "Dig Pink" event raised more than $4,500 for breast cancer research, its largest total to date. This year's event had an added significance, as head coach Barbara King was diagnosed with breast cancer this fall. The Beavers went 19-6 under King, advancing to the Central sectional final. Nipmuc held its own "Dig Pink" event and showed their support for King by making a special trip to BVT to bring her a signed volleyball and a donation to the Beavers' total.

Nipmuc golf wins first district title: The Warriors posted a 12-3 record in the dual meet season and capped it off with a sectional championship, the first in school history. The tournament came down to the final pairing, with sophomore Justin DiAntonio carding a 79 to give Nipmuc a one-stroke victory over Grafton. Senior Jack Shuber earned medalist honors with a 76.
Nipmuc boys soccer makes unlikely run to district title: Seeded 14th out of the 17 teams in the field, the Warriors scored a 1-0 win over third-seeded Lunenburg, went to penalty kicks to beat Millbury, then knocked off second-seeded Barlett 1-0 and fourth-seeded Douglas by the same 1-0 final to capture the sectional championship. The Warriors season came to an end with a loss to Belchertown in the state semi-final. They finished the year 11-8-4 overall.

Nipmuc's Carreiro plays for Team USA: Gabriela Carreiro was one of the top scorers leading the Nipmuc attack despite missing much of the season while playing for the United States U-17 women's national team. Carreiro, an Upton resident, helped the US to a third-place finish in last month's CONCACAF championships. She was a starter for the national team, which lost to Mexico in the tournament semi-finals before dominating Jamaica in the third-place match.

Jim Grant retires, earns HOF induction: Longtime Nipmuc basketball coach Jim Grant retired this year and was inducted into the Massachusetts Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame. Grant won more than 500 games as the head coach at Nipmuc in a career that spanned nearly four decades. His teams captured the Clark Tournament title in 1993 and 1997, and his 1997 squad went on to win the Central Mass Sectional championship.

BVT football wins vocational Super Bowl: The Beavers ran through the regular season undefeated and advanced all the way to the Division 6 Central Sectional final before losing to eventual state champion Littleton. Jim Archibald's team bounced back to beat Nipmuc on Thanksgiving and came from 12 points down in the final four minutes to stun Northeast Metro Tech in the Vocational Super Bowl. The senior class went 32-5 over the past three seasons, winning two championships.


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