Derryfield teams look to court success this winter

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MANCHESTER, NH – The air is noticeably cooler, snow flurries are becoming a frequent site and the holiday season is upon us. Often lost in the December rush, however, the New Hampshire high school winter sports season has also arrived, including for those student athletes at Derryfield School.


Girls Basketball

Lily Losey dribbling.
Sophomore Lilly Losey is among several experienced players back for Derryfield this season.

Head Coach:

Courtney Cheetham (3rd season)

Top Returning Athletes:

  • Emma Losey, Senior (Captain)
  • Erin Caparelli, Senior (Captain)
  • Ava Plage, Junior
  • Sarah Naje, Junior
  • Lilly Losey, Sophomore
  • Jackie Connors, Sophomore
  • Kenzie Miller, Sophomore
  • Chloe Bremberg, Freshmen

Promising Newcomers:

  • Ashley Hardner, Junior
  • Christine Nadeau, Junior
  • Elyse Ngenda, Freshman
  • Tia Ferdinando, Freshman
  • Katie McCormick, Freshman

Last Season:

  • 11-5 record
  •  Lost in the regional final to the eventual champion, Hinsdale

Expectations for this Season:

“I hope that we continue to get a little better every day and every game, and strive to reach our potential,” said Cheetham. “I also hope that we can establish a culture that makes a positive impact on the Derryfield community, and the D-IV basketball community.”

Biggest Challenge:

“Our team has a lot of new players with limited experience,” said Cheetham. “We are going to work hard to grow and hopefully peak come playoffs.”

Next 3 Games:

  • Thursday, Dec. 9, 6:30 p.m. – Home vs. Concord Christian
  • Monday, Dec. 13, 7 p.m. – Away at Newmarket
  • Wednesday, Dec. 15,6:30 p.m. – Away at Holy Family

Boys Basketball

Janai Cruz
Janai Cruz is back this season to captain the Derryfield boys basketball team.

Head Coach:

Ed Meade (3rd season)

Top Returning Athletes:

  • John McDevitt, Junior (Captain)
  • Janai Cruz, Senior (Captain)
  • Tristan Allard, Senior (Captain)
  • Jack Krasnof, Sophomore
  • Thomas Ferdinando, Freshman

Promising Newcomer:

  • Ethan Flaherty, Junior (Transfer from Trinity)

Last Season:

  • 2-11 record
  • Lost in the first round of the Division IV state tournament to Holy Family, 59-54

Expectations for this Season:

“We are looking to be much improved from last season, and the future looks bright for the next few years after that,” said Meade.

Biggest Challenge:

“Out biggest challenge will be we don’t have much height this season,” said Meade.

First 3 Games:

  • Friday, Dec. 10, 6:30 p.m. – Home vs. Nute
  • Tuesday, Dec. 14, 6:30 p.m. – Home vs. Wilton-Lyndeborough
  • Friday, Dec. 17, 7 p.m. – Away at Epping

Swimming

Head Coach:

Joseph Conti (4th season)

Top Returning Athletes:

  • Molly Mahar, Senior (Captain)
  • Ava Young, Junior (Captain)
“Molly was part of a state championship relay her freshman year and Ava has been on the podium in every event she has swam in … We are returning Skyler Wagner who was a state qualifier her freshman year who did not swim due to COVID,” said Conti. On the boys side, we are hoping Mitch Regan can qualify for the state meet this year.”

Promising Newcomer:

  • Elma Islamovic, Freshman (Looks to make an instant impact, especially with breaststroke)

Last Season:

  • Girls team finished 8th at the unique state meet last year (no relays due to pandemic protocols)
  • We are returning Skyler Wagner who was a state qualifier her freshman year

Expectations for this Season:

“My expectations are for all 16 Swimmers to be able to swim all 4 strokes,” said Conti. “On the state level. I believe we can field a medal winning relay at the state meet.”

Biggest Challenge:

“My boys team’s biggest challenge is just to have someone qualify for the state meet,” said Conti. “The biggest challenge in New Hampshire and specifically Manchester is the closing of the SNHU pool. That pool was such a resource to Derryfield and the entire Manchester community. Finding lanes to swim in is especially challenging (I only have 2.5 hours of pool time a week and that is 3 lanes for 16 swimmers). Additionally, in the state, UNH is not letting outsiders in their pool.”

First 3 Meets:

  • Friday, Dec. 17, 6 p.m. – Carter Community Building in Hanover vs. Hanover, Merrimack & Mascenic
  • Wednesday, Dec. 28, 6:45 p.m. – Manchester YMCA vs. Trinity, Manchester Central, Manchester Memorial & Manchester West
  • Friday, Jan. 14, 5 p.m. – Londonderry Workout Club vs. Londonderry, Winnacunnet, Laconia, Winnisquam and Gilford

Nordic Skiing

Head Coach:

Peter Breu (13rd season)

Top Returning Athletes:

I have coached Derryfield for 13 years and am looking forward to the coming year. It will be a building year with over half the team graduating last year, but it is always great to get the younger skiers excited and gaining skills. We hope that we can have a regular season of racing including the two all state races where all 800 nordic skiers come together on a day to match their skills. Our clear challenge is climate change. Last year we only skied on our home trails 3 times and all the other practices were either dryland or a drive north to snow. Of our 8 races 6 were on man made snow. While man made snow works there are only 3 venues in the entire state making snow for nordic skiing. We are keeping our fingers crossed for a cold, snowy winter!

  • John McDevitt, Junior (Captain)
  • Janai Cruz, Senior (Captain)
  • Tristan Allard, Senior (Captain)
  • Jack Krasnof, Sophomore
  • Thomas Ferdinando, Freshman

Promising Newcomer:

  • Ethan Flaherty, Junior (Transfer from Trinity)

Last Season:

“Last season, the Derryfield Nordic team got in 8 of the 10 scheduled races making for a pretty successful winter,” said Breu. “By having individual starts and cohort racing (each school raced alone and then went home on the bus before the next school got on the trails) it was a safe way to compete. At the end of the season there are two teams named for New England competition – the U16’s and the high school teams. Neither of those competitions happened for all of New England – instead, each state held their own single day event to celebrate their best skiers. Derryfield sent 2 skiers to the U16’s and 2 to the Eastern High School teams. Four out of a team of 15 is the best Derryfield has ever done.”

Expectations for this Season:

“It will be a building year with over half the team graduating last year, but it is always great to get the younger skiers excited and gaining skills,” said Breu. “We hope that we can have a regular season of racing including the two all state races where all 800 Nordic skiers come together on a day to match their skills.”

Biggest Challenge:

“Our clear challenge is climate change,” said Breu. “Last year, we only skied on our home trails 3 times and all the other practices were either dry land or a drive north to snow. Of our 8 races, 6 were on man made snow. While man-made snow works, there are only 3 venues in the entire state making snow for Nordic skiing. We are keeping our fingers crossed for a cold, snowy winter.”

About this Author

ryanoconnor

Ryan O'Connor

As a longtime journalist in Southern New Hampshire, Ryan O'Connor has written for several local online and print publications covering everything from school board meetings and local high school sporting events to major crime stories and New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation presidential primary (yes, the last two are mutually exclusive). In addition to spending time with his beautiful wife and four amazing children, Ryan enjoys attending and serving at church, golfing as much as possible, home brewing, playing softball and snowboarding when time allows.