The Winnisquam field hockey team reached the quarterfinals this fall.
Jeff Lajoie. (click for larger version)
November 20, 2011TILTON – With a few days to catch his breath, new Winnisquam Regional High School athletic director Rick Hinck is ready to tackle the winter sports season after moving through his first fall in Tilton since being hired this summer.
"Overall it was pretty hectic…steep learning curve," said Hinck of the fall. "We got the games in for the most part except for when Mother Nature wouldn't let us. I think it was a very good season, I was happy with mostly everything. I've got some teams that I'm really looking forward to seeing now next year."
The volleyball team followed up a Division III state championship in 2010 with a semifinal appearance this fall, as the Bears dropped a heartbreaker in five sets to eventual state champion Moultonboro Academy.
"I expect they'll be right back in the mix next year," said Hinck. "They're well-coached by Mike Livernois and they're going to keep rolling I suspect."
Winnisquam's trip to play at Plymouth State in the semifinals was also a nice sight for the AD, as the Bears fan section was packed with enthusiasm and a host of black Winnisquam t-shirts.
"That was a very nice experience," Hinck said. "It looked like pretty much all black up there in the stands. The fans really got loud for the team and the good news is they kept it appropriate. Now we're hoping to get that level of support going into the basketball season."
The field hockey team beat Littleton in the D-III preliminary round before falling to eventual state champion Derryfield, 1-0, in a quarterfinal contest.
"They were right there in that quarterfinal," said Hinck. "They gave the eventual champion everything they could handle. The majority of that team is made up of freshmen and sophomores so there's a pretty bright future there."
The boys' soccer team lost a tough 1-0 prelim to local rival Belmont, and while they lose some talented seniors, the Bears have a slew of juniors coming back to help take the next step.
The football team started the season 2-1 but saw injuries take its toll on the roster, and coach Pat Riberdy juggled lineups all season to get the Bears through the final game. Winnisquam finished 2-7 overall.
"They've got some good players coming back so hopefully if they stay healthy that'll make a big difference," said Hinck. "We still don't know what's happening with the classifications for next year though, that's kind of a mystery for now."
Hinck also pointed out the youth of the cross country and golf teams, and he expects both will grow as they gain experience next fall.
"Golf kind of got kind of crunched at the end because of the rain and it's such a short season," said Hinck. "There might have been an away match we didn't make up and a couple home matches where we could only get one of the two teams there. But we had one senior, one junior and the rest were freshmen so the young guys hung in there."
In his first fall as AD, Hinck recalled the boys' soccer Homecoming Game as a memorable moment. Despite wet weather, the Bears were able to get their annual home game with Franklin in.
"It was pouring…parents were out there getting water off the field," Hinck evoked. "It was pretty cool though because at halftime, after breaking the huddle, the players turned around and started applauding the parents for being there and supporting them in the rain. That was one of those unique moments that stood out for me."
Hinck now has his attention focused on the winter season, where new coaches for several teams will look to create new levels of success for the program.
"I wish I had a little bit more time in between the seasons to put the finishing touches on the fall and get things situated but that's just the way it happens," he said. "Because of the way different tournaments roll, some of our sports start earlier."
Girls' basketball opened practice on Monday, while boys' will follow Nov. 21. The hockey team will again co-op with Laconia High School, while wrestling, indoor track and swimming (with Laconia) are also on the docket.