Howard Herman | Designated Hitter: A look back at the 2015-16 school year
Graduations have come and gone, report cards and transcripts have been sent home. That means the 2015-16 school year has officially come to an end.
It was a most memorable year, to say the least.
Any memories of the last year have to start in Cheshire with the Hoosac Valley basketball teams.
Whenever one school wins two championships in the same sport — boys and girls — in a given season, it is a big deal. When you do it in consecutive seasons, that is something else again.
Both Hoosac basketball teams won Western Massachusetts Division III basketball championships. For the girls, it was their fourth consecutive title, while the boys won their second straight title.
Unfortunately for the Hurricanes, they could not duplicate the 2015 effort of getting both basketball teams to a state championship game. The boys came up a point short, while the girls reached the final before dropping a hard-fought decision to Bishop Fenwick at the MassMutual Center in Springfield.
"Obviously, it's not very fun right now, but knowing that we've won four Western Mass. titles and I've played in three state championship games is amazing," Hoosac senior Madi Ryan said to me after that March basketball game.
The memories of smiles and tears on that Saturday will stick with me for a long time.
One of my favorite teams to cover this past season was the Williams College men's hockey team. Part of it is because one of my first stories to write at The Eagle was Williams hiring Bill Kangas as head coach. So he and I have been around for more than a couple of years.
Kangas' team went 19-6-2 and came this close to reaching the NCAA Division III Final Four. The Ephs, who played in their first-ever NCAA Tournament, dropped a 2-1 decision to SUNY-Geneseo in the national quarterfinal. It was the fourth time in six Williams losses that the team had fallen by one goal.
Unlike some teams in the NHL, college hockey is built more on speed and skating than on toughness and hitting. That's what made this Williams team so much fun to watch.
And when you have a freshman goalie like Michael Pinios, who at times seemed to will his team ahead, more good times are in the future. We can even excuse Pinios, a Montreal native, from being a Canadiens fan.
Watching Taconic earn a Western Mass. Division III team wrestling title was thrilling. Watching a number of Berkshire County wrestlers claim individual titles was the same.
None made as much of an impact as Alex Griffis, the Drury student who wrestles for Mount Greylock.
Griffis beat Luis Breton of Dean Tech 6-2 to win at 195 pounds, and afterward, was nearly choked up with emotion.
"I've sacrificed so much for this sport," Griffis said. "I've sacrificed so much of my personal life, and to finally see my goals and reach it, it's great.
"I don't know of any other sport that I would rather compete in, or any other lifestyle that I would want to dedicate myself to."
There was so much more to the 2015-16 school year. You had Mount Greylock winning two Nordic ski championships, Williams getting to a NCAA softball regional again, Hoosac and Lee winning football titles over Taconic and McCann Tech, respectively, Pittsfield's Jake Hescock signing to play football at Wisconsin and joining Williamstown's Jake Benzinger on Division I-FBS football rosters this fall, just to name a few.
If the coming year is as good as the one that just ended, I can't wait for September.
Contact Howard Herman at 413-496-6253.
TALK TO US
If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.