Boys’ Latin Tennis Loses First Match

Last Tuesday, April 4th, the Boys’ Latin tennis team traveled up Charles Street to Loyola Blakefield to compete in their first match of the season.

A few weeks ago, leading up to the match, star tennis player Griffin McShane tore his ACL and will be out for the entire season.

Despite losing the senior leader due to injury, the season must go on. “It’s not a complete season ruiner but it definitely hurts. We have guys that can step up in his place, but his experience starting for the past two years is unmatched,” said senior captain Jimmy Magee.

Although the Lakers lost an important player, the match was still extremely close. The final score was 3-2 with Loyola winning. Magee said that it was a tough match with wins at 1 singles and 1 doubles, but in the third set of the deciding match, the Lakers lost.

“We played well, [senior] Logan McWilliams and I won our match and Jimmy won his match, but we lost as a whole,” said Ryan Stellman, who is also a senior on the tennis team.

Stellman also included how tight-knit the team is this season. They all wear matching head bands in practices and games.

Even though the Lakers came up short during this match, junior star David Ullrich is not worried at all for the rest of the season. Ullrich believes that if it was not their first match, they would have won. Overall, Ullrich seems very excited for the rest of the season.

Magee is also not worried about moving forward. Magee said, “Moving forward, our team is only going to get better with experience and match play. We have the chance to be a real title contender.”

The senior-led tennis team at Boys’ Latin has been together for over two years now, and they are ready to leave Lake Ave with a championship. The Lakers have a big one coming up and need support as they travel to St. Paul’s to play against the Crusaders. Go watch the seniors as they lead their team to the championship.

Tar Heels Get Redemption, Win National Championship

On Monday, April 3, 2017, the University of North Carolina and Gonzaga University battled for the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship in Phoenix, Arizona.

The game tipped off at 9:20 p.m. EST from the University of Phoenix Stadium. According to NCAA.com, over 76,000 fans attended the game. Another 22,998,000 fans tuned in to watch the game.

It was no easy task for either team to make it to the championship game. UNC defeated the University of Oregon in the Final Four 77-76, while Gonzaga defeated the University of South Carolina 77-73.

UNC was propelled to victory from a stud performance from senior forward Kennedy Meeks. According to ESPN.com, Meeks scored 25 points and added 13 rebounds in the Tar Heels’ victory.

Gonzaga received a star performance from junior guard Nigel Williams-Goss in the win over USC. According to ESPN.com, Williams-Goss had 23 points, five rebounds, and six assists in the Bulldogs’ victory.

After advancing to the championship game, each team turned their attention towards bringing the trophy home with them.

“I was surprised to see Gonzaga go to the Final Four because they lacked competition during the regular season. Last year and the season before they lost in the second round because of their lack of talent against the better competition,” senior Brandon Bradsher said.

After the first 25 minutes, the Bulldogs held the lead. UNC roared back in the second half and defeated Gonzaga by a final score of 71-65. The Tar Heels received outstanding performances from Justin Jackson and Joel Berry II.

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UNC’s Kenny Williams celebrates their National Championship victory. Photo courtesy of footwearnews.com

According to ESPN.com, Jackson posted 16 points while Berry added 22 points for the Heels. Berry was also named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player.

“I was surprised to see Berry named MOP,” Bradsher said. “I thought Jackson was going to get it.”

The victory was bittersweet for UNC, having lost last year’s championship at the buzzer to Villanova.

“‘I wanted to see this confetti fall on us,’” Joel Berry II said in Mike Lopresti’s article on NCAA.com.

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Joel Berry II celebrates UNC’s National Championship by cutting his piece of the net. Photo courtesy of USAToday.com.

“This national championship, after all, does nothing to avenge the ache for Marcus Paige and Brice Johnson, seniors last season whose collegiate careers ended in that gut-wrenching loss to Villanova. But the Tar Heels themselves believed it. They started a group text and labeled it ‘Redemption.’ Theo Pinson turned an agonized picture of himself, head covered by a towel as he sat disconsolately in his locker room, into his screen saver,” Dana O’Neil wrote in an article on ESPN.com.

USA, Puerto Rico Travel Road to the WBC Championship

From March 6th to March 22nd, the 4th Annual World Baseball Classic took place in four countries around the globe. The road to the championship saw many surprising and exciting moments that led to a dramatic finish. The way the tournament is shaped up is the first and second rounds are round robin games with the teams in their pools with the top two teams from each pool moving on until the single elimination games in the semifinals.

Puerto Rico and the United States would both advance to the second round pool and meet in a round robin game. Puerto Rico would edge out the United States 6-5 and take first place in the pool.

After the loss to Puerto Rico, the United States needed to beat a red hot Dominican Republic to make it to the semifinal game in Los Angeles.

A home run by Giancarlo Stanton and an over-the-wall catch by Adam Jones would be key plays to the United States victory over the defending champions. According to Sports Illustrated, the United States played their best game of the classic and deserved to be in the semifinals.

The United States’ next challenge would be undefeated Japan in their semifinal game. All eyes were on the United States as this proved to be the make it or break it game for them. The United States would walk away with a stunning 2-1 win over the Japanese and would head to the championship game for the first time since the creation of the classic.

According to Sports Illustrated, the two runs that USA scored atoned to more luck than skill. A failed attempt to field a ground ball cleanly by Japan’s third baseman gave the United States a one-run lead to end the game.

Puerto Rico would also play a tough semifinal game against the Netherlands. The Netherlands kept the game close, but Puerto Rico would barely get past them, winning the game 4-3. Puerto Rico would set up another meeting between the United States.

During the tournament, the Puerto Rico team felt the need to bring the entire country with them. To show this connection between the players and their country, each player dyed his hair blonde. The idea was to bring their own unique aspect to the classic to show that the team played for each other and their country.

According to ESPN.com, third baseman Carlos Correa said the purpose of the hair was to unify the country. “There were no crimes, there were no assassinations back home while we were playing in this classic,” Correa said. “Everybody was dyeing their hair blond, so we had our whole nation behind us that is going through tough times right now.”

The United States was looking for revenge in the championship and got what they came for. They stunned Puerto Rico and shut them out 8-0. This was the first WBC Championship the United States ever won.

According to ESPN.com, United States outfielders Adam Jones and Andrew McCutchen were not too happy when they heard rumors of Puerto Rico’s pre-celebratory plans.

“‘It didn’t sit well,’” Andrew McCutchen said. “‘We heard and we saw t-shirts were made and printed out for the Puerto Rican team. We even heard a flight was made for them for that parade because they said they were going to win. That ignited us, we were ready to go, and we showed that tonight.’”

“‘That didn’t sit well with us, so we did what we had to do,’” Jones said.

However, the players for Puerto Rico would reject these accusations saying they didn’t hear of any t-shirts being made up. No matter the outcome, the plane ride would be celebratory because the team brought the country together.

There was some comparison to the WBC Championship and to the MLB World Series. According to USA Today, many Puerto Rican players said the WBC Championship was a much more memorable experience.

Kike Hernandez decided to play for the Puerto Rico team rather than tryout for the Dodgers because he would rather play for his country.

“To be in this Classic, there’s no comparison with the experience of being in the Major Leagues,” said Hernandez.

Bracket Busters Foil March Madness

64 college basketball teams earn a spot to play and compete in one of the biggest sports tournaments, March Madness. This tournament is unpredictable because it usually doesn’t end with a Cinderella story.

Every year, there are bracket busters that mess up people’s brackets. These upsets shock the world and leave many with destroyed brackets. This year, there were four big upsets that took the world by surprise.

The first bracket buster occurred on March 18th, 2017 at KeyBank Center in Buffalo, NY when Wisconsin defeated the defending champions Villanova. Many people had Nova going far in their brackets, but that didn’t last long when they lost in the round of 32 teams.

“I’m happy they made the game’s defining defensive play, ripping the ball away from Hart. The Wildcats quickly fouled Brown, who made one free throw to give the Badgers a three-point cushion that turned out to be more than enough as Villanova struggled to corral the rebound and saw its season ended earlier than expected,” the AP Wire Service of Fox News reported.

“Nova losing wasn’t a surprise because it is hard to go back to back,” junior Max Mygatt said.

The next bracket buster happened a day later on March 19th, 2017 at Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville, South Carolina when South Carolina beat Duke. Duke was a favorite for winning the whole tournament, but their run ended unexpectedly. South Carolina wasn’t worried about playing the number two seed, leading to their seven point win in the Round of 32.

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South Carolina celebrating after making it to the Final Four from The Inquisitor.

“Well, they [South Carolina] didn’t get here by talking about anything other than the step in front of them. But my, what a step they took Sunday,” reporter David Cloninger of The State said.

“Duke losing early really messed up my bracket because I had them going to the finals,” senior Dylan Pinsky said.

Another upset occurred on March 19th, 2017 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana when Michigan beat Louisville. Michigan was just a seven seed, and they managed to pull off a four-point victory over the number two seed. Even though Michigan is a good team, they ended the favorite Louisville’s March Madness appearance in the round of 32.

“‘But our guys [Michigan], we started a tradition of taking a shower, I guess, without going into the shower after good wins. It’s not stopping,’” said coach John Beilein, reported by Abbey Mastracco of NJ.com. The Wolverines were excited about their huge win and they couldn’t hold back from showing it.

“It’s a whole different atmosphere. There is something about the tournament that makes the games close and the teams play better,” senior JP Woodward said.

The last upset happened on March 23rd, 2017 at SAP Center at San Jose in San Jose, California when Xavier defeated Arizona. Xavier was an 11 seed team who finished Arizona’s road to the finals in the Sweet 16. Xavier wasn’t supposed to go past the Round of 64, but they managed to make their way to the Elite Eight.

“We [Xavier] never split apart when the game went out of our favor. We stayed strong and knew if we followed our game plan, we were gonna win,” said guard Trevon Bluiett, reported by Scott Polacek of Bleacher Report.

“Xavier messed my bracket up the most because I had them losing in the round of 64. They won though because they played like they had nothing to lose,” senior Brooks Michel said.

This year’s March Madness has been crazy by how many better-ranked teams have been knocked out of contention for the title. Duke was a huge upset because of how much potential they had and how far they were supposed to go.

“I knew there were going to be upsets, but I just didn’t know who was going to lose and when. I look forward to the upsets each year,” senior Brandon Bradsher said.

“I was surprised to see teams who were thought to win the championship lose early in the tournament,” Woodward said.

Ravens’ Free Agency Woes Highlight Areas for Improvement

The Baltimore Ravens began their preparations for the upcoming 2017 NFL season on March 9, 2017, at 4:00 p.m. when the NFL free agency period began and the front office set out to improve the team by parting ways with some players and bringing new faces to Baltimore.

After finishing 8-8 in last year’s season and not making the playoffs, there are some improvements that need to be made this offseason.

Always a defensive-minded team, the Ravens will look to improve their secondary. The Ravens will also need to replace linebacker Zachary Orr after he announced his retirement.

If the Ravens hope to be more successful next season, they will need to protect their quarterback Joe Flacco. That starts with an offensive line that according to NFL.com allowed Flacco to be sacked 33 times last season. According to ESPN.com, Flacco was the 15th most sacked quarterback last season.

In the first weeks of free agency according to baltimoreravens.com, several key players signed deals elsewhere in the league. Wide receiver Kumar Aiken signed a deal with the Indianapolis Colts followed by defensive end Lawrence Guy when he signed on with the New England Patriots.

Then, fullback Kyle Juszczyk signed a new deal with the San Francisco 49ers, and right tackle Rick Wagner signed with the Detroit Lions. Offensive guard Vladimir Ducasse is also headed up north to Buffalo, NY to play with the Bills.

Although the Ravens lost several key players to opposing teams this offseason, they have already brought in a few key replacements. The Ravens made a few moves on the defensive side of the ball signing former Dallas Cowboys’ cornerback Brandon Carr to a four-year deal. Tony Jefferson, a safety, who played with the Arizona Cardinals last year, also signed a four-year deal.

So far, the Ravens have done a decent job bringing in players that will help the Ravens compete next season but there is still more work to be done.

According to an article by Jordan Heck on sportingnews.com, the NFL draft is set to kick off on April 27, 2017.

The Ravens have the 16th pick in the first round of the draft. “The Ravens need to find their next great edge rusher at OLB. The Ravens need Breshad Perriman to step up soon but might be looking for more help at WR regardless. The cornerback spot will likely get at least one look if not two in this year’s draft,” Lance Zierlein wrote in an article on NFL.com.

According to draftsite.com, the Ravens will have one pick in each of the first six rounds. However, the Ravens are slated to have two picks in the third round.

There are dozens of sites that feature mock drafts for the upcoming 2017 NFL draft. Each one is different. Many have the Ravens focusing on defense; others have them selecting a wide receiver, offensive linemen, and cornerbacks.

Electrifying wide receiver John Ross from Washington is someone the Ravens have been projected to select in several mock drafts.

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John Ross running his 4.22-second, 40-yard dash at the NFL combine, photo courtesy of USAToday.com.

 

Chase Breadwood wrote in an NFL.com article that “Ross told NFL.com that he has visits scheduled next month with the Cleveland Browns and the Baltimore Ravens.”

According to USAToday.com, Ross ran a 4.22-second, 40-yard dash at the NFL combine. Ross’s time was the fastest ever recorded at the combine.

It will be too difficult to predict what will happen between now and the draft and even harder to predict whom the Ravens will be selecting. Until then, people can only speculate as to whom Baltimore will select when the 2017 NFL draft begins on April 27 in Philadelphia.

BL Sports Teams Find Success on Spring Break

While many were enjoying the spring break on vacation or just spending time home with nothing to do, the spring athletes at Boys’ Latin spent their spring breaks playing and practicing to prepare for the upcoming spring sports season.

The spring teams at BL are baseball, lacrosse, tennis, and golf. While lacrosse, tennis, and golf all made their spring break trips to Florida, the baseball team made its trip to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

The baseball team played two games and a scrimmage in Myrtle Beach. They finished with a record of 1-1 in the games and a loss in the scrimmage.

“I thought it was a successful trip although it was short. The biggest thing that came out of it was we learned what we needed to improve on and what we did well,” said JP Woodward.

The tennis team took on a different approach to their spring break trip. Instead of playing matches down in Orlando, they took the time in the good weather to train through practices and conditioning.

“We didn’t play matches, but I’ve never seen a tennis team be more focused and disciplined in the practices and in running and fitness. It was great to see. Personally, I got a lot out of the trip and tried to have a good balance of enjoying the sun and improving my game,” said senior Jimmy Magee

Along with the tennis team, the golf team also used the time to get better on their own rather than competing against other teams.

“We didn’t play any teams. We just played a lot of nice and difficult courses that really tested our skills in the preseason. The hope is that challenging ourselves early on, we could come back with a more refined skill set and mentality for the upcoming season,” said Garrett Glaeser of the golf team.

The lacrosse team played two games while in Florida. They won both games but they achieved something more important than winning.  “The team performed very well. We built better chemistry every day and pushed each other hard in our practices,” said junior goalie Chris Brandau.

Each trip was intended to improve each team over the time spent in the good weather, but the teams took advantage of free time and good weather to do activities other than sports. The baseball team in Myrtle Beach found time to play miniature golf in their free time, while tennis found themselves enjoying the Disney World parks in Orlando.

The golf team and lacrosse team found time hanging out with their own teams. Because they were in the same hotel, they found some time to hang out collectively.

While this trip for each team was comprised of students from each grade, this was the final spring break trip at BL for the seniors.

“I try not to think about that. I look at it as more of motivation as it is our last season and to do great rather than being sad about it being our last time,” said Woodward, a senior pitcher for the baseball team.

Magee stated, “It is a little surreal knowing that I won’t be going to Disney next year like I have the past four, but it made me focus on really bearing down for the home stretch of sports at my time on Lake Avenue.”

Glaeser stated, “It was definitely a surreal experience. I’ve played some phenomenal golf courses over spring break over these past few years. I’ve had the incredible honor and privilege of playing courses professionals have played. It’s been a very humbling experience every year. I’ve enjoyed spending time with the guys on the team. The week has always been very special to me.”

Boys’ Latin Pulls Off Impressive Win Over St. Paul’s

On Monday, March 6th, the baseball team on Lake Ave. left school around 2:30 pm to travel to St. Paul’s for their first baseball game. At St. Paul’s, both teams competed in five and a half innings before it got too dark.

Even though the senior-led baseball team at Boys’ Latin is in the MIAA B conference, they beat archrival St. Paul’s 14-1 who is in the MIAA A conference.

Senior pitcher Zach Grace started the game and threw a total of 50 pitches while only allowing one run and two hits. On the offensive side, senior catcher Matt Purnell led the team in hits with three and three RBIs.

The B conference Lakers were not intimidated at all by the A conference Crusaders.

“We definitely played well. We went into the game very confident, which was different than we had done in previous years,” said senior Captain Mark Lopez.

“When playing A conference teams, it is easy to go into the game timid and a little nervous. However, after winning the B conference and having a lot of guys return, we played hungry and with a swagger that we haven’t played with in years past. This was a great start to the season and we expect to keep it going,” Lopez added.

Lopez is very pleased with his team’s first performance. And with the confidence they have, Lopez expects to do extremely well this season.

Since Boys’ Latin won the B conference championship last season, a few people were worried they were not going to be as good this season, but that is false.

“I think the two teams are similar, but I think this year’s team has the drive to get to the top from the beginning and stay there,” sophomore first baseman Sam Grace explained. Grace started on the championship team last season as a freshman, and he believes that the team has the possibility to be even more successful this season because of their grit.

By reason of Zach Grace throwing 50 pitches, and the team playing extremely well, rookie pitcher David Robinson got the chance to make his varsity baseball debut. Robinson threw a total of 18 pitches while only racking up one hit. In Robinson’s first game ever, he was playing like a veteran.

Although Robinson played very well and helped lead the team to victory, he was extremely nervous to go out and play.

“It felt great to be able to help the team come out with a huge victory against our rival St. Paul’s,” Robinson explained. “I was very nervous at first, being that it was my first game on varsity. My teammates did a great job of calming me down before my appearance, which led me to be more successful,” Robinson added.

It seems as though Robinson is really enjoying the varsity experience and all of his teammates are taking him under their wings.

It seems like senior outfielder Desmond Banks had an interesting day, being that his first at bat resulted in getting a pitch to the head.

On Banks’ first at bat, the St. Paul’s pitcher threw a curve ball that hit Banks’ right in the head. Other than losing his composer, Banks’ shook it off and took his walk to first base.

“It really did not hurt that bad; it happened so fast that I did not even feel it until I was on first base, then my head started ringing a little. Other than that, I was fine,” Banks explained.

Overall, the game went remarkably well. Marquise Washington, a senior outfielder, mentioned that he thinks the team will have a successful season. Washington believes that the Lakers should go undefeated in conference play and have a good chance of winning the title again. Lastly, Washington mentioned that they have a good group of seniors leading the way that are very excited for their last year on Lake Ave.

It seems as though the first game went very well and the team is excited for the rest of the season.

Come out and support the Boys’ Latin Lakers as they continue their journey to the MIAA B conference championship for their second year in a row.