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Norwood - Local Town Pages

Norwood: The Year In Review

By Christopher Tremblay
Athletics has had it rather rough over the past few years. In 2020, the Covid Pandemic struck and shut down just about all high school sports for the year. Then in 2021, while things were beginning to get back to somewhat normal, high school sports were hit with an abbreviated season, one without any tournament experience. 
This past year, high school sports were pretty much up and running, and according to Norwood High School Athletic Director Jon Longley, the Mustangs had quite a year. In fact, it was one of the best in a long time.
Four teams won their respective sports Tri-Valley League Championships, something Longley said was rather significant considering the Mustangs have only been in the TVL for four years. Twelve teams qualified for advancement into the State Tournaments; evenly spread out between the three seasons.
During the fall season, golf, football, field hockey, and girls’ soccer each played in the tournament. However, only the field hockey team was able to secure a win. The winter season was the most successful for Norwood as boys’ and girls’ basketball, as well as boys and girls ice hockey, all qualified. The girl’s hockey team lost in overtime, while the boys advanced all the way into the Division 2 Elite 8 before falling. The golf team finished sixth in the Division 3 Central Tournament.
Although the Norwood athletes were having success on the ice, it was the basketball teams that had the best seasons with both squads advancing all the way into the State Finals. The boy’s squad was the number seven seed in the Division 2 State Tournament and were able to defeat Fitchburg, Salem, and upset number two Mansfield and number three Burlington before falling to the number one seed Malden Catholic in the Finals. 
The girls, who went undefeated at 24-0, were granted the number one seed and continued to play strong basketball as they took out Dartmouth by 20 points, Amherst-Pelham by 12, North Quincy by 22, and Whitman-Hanson by 5 before running into Oliver Ames in the Championship game.
“It was unprecedented for both basketball teams to go to the State Finals, but it was the girl’s team that dominated all year long and were ranked highly,” the Norwood AD said. “Megan Olbrys, who signed a letter of intent to play at Villanova, was a major part of the success and she will certainly have a tremendous collegiate career. 
Following the tremendous winter season, Norwood saw another four teams earn themselves a spot in the tournament. Softball, baseball, boys,’ and girls’ lacrosse all qualified to represent Norwood in the post-season. The baseball team were edged by Hopkinton 1-0 in the Round of 16.
Over the years Norwood has not seen a Sectional Champion grace the presence of the high school, but this past winter the wrestling team had not only one, but two champions. Coleman Keady and Nate Hsu were crowned Division 2 State Champions, while the Mustangs as a whole finished fifth in the Divisional 3 Sectionals. Norwood had multiple qualifiers advance in track and field as well.
In addition to the four TVL Championships, Norwood also had four TVL MVPS and over 60 athletes named to the All-Star team. Olbrys was the TVL’s MVP in girls’ basketball, while her counterpart from the boy’s team, Noah Beaudet, was also named an MVP. Boys’ hockey player Myles Kidd and softball player Samantha Rose were named MVPs to their sport as well. 
“This was definitely the most successful class since I’ve been here in Norwood (eight years),” Longley said. “It was an excellent senior class and although we’ll be losing them, the momentum should continue into next year. This class would have had much more success if not for the abbreviated seasons last year.”
While the seniors were the main contributors to the Mustangs success, everyone put in their dues to get ready for this year’s games.
“These kids came onto the scene last year playing hard and I am so glad that they were able to accomplish so much this year,” Longley said. “As freshmen, they were a noticeable group and unfortunately had to go through a very unique ride with Covid. Covid may have hit them, but they responded with hard work and took advantage of what was given to them this year.”
Norwood had 15 student athletes planning on playing collegiate sports next year at all different levels. In the past, the Mustangs have seen a handful sign letters of intent, but the AD can’t ever recall a number as high as it has been this year that will continue to play sports in college.
And last but certainly not least, administrative assistant to the Athletic Director, Anne Calligan, will be retiring. Longley was so glad to see his longtime assistant go out with such a talented group of seniors this year.