Back to school means back to the books, and back to the field, course and court for Big Blue student athletes.
Here we look at several Swampscott High sports teams and listen to their coaches' thoughts about their teams.
The Big Blue runners' first league meet is Sept. 11 at Revere.
The boys' captains are Peter Hale and Sam Crimmins. The girls' captains are Emma Walsh and Steph Collins. All four are seniors.
Coach Jeff Bartlett wants the boys and girls to sharpen their focus and push themselves one day at a time.
It's the coach's second season at the helm. He will be helped by the same coaches from last year — Joe Tenney, Derek Stevens and Lauren Skelton.
Coach Toby Channen only lost two seniors from last year's starting line-up.
"It's the strongest team I've ever had," she said.
They also face their strongest test of the season today when they play powerhouse Beverly on the Panthers artificial surface.
Last week the Big Blue girls won their season opener 6-0 against Revere.
Tori Thistle score two goals, and Sammi Sinrich, Katie Samiljan, Christina King and Julieanne Marquis scored the goals. Goaltending duties were shared by Katie Samiljan and Sophia Kennedy.
The team plays its home opener Wednesday against Danvers at Phillips Park at 3:45.
The coach sent out this preview after five days of practice in late August. They have since won their first game, 34-32 over Somerville, on Friday, and play Winthrop at home on Saturday.
- Coach: Stephen Dembowski (14th year 101-47)
- Last Year’s Record: 9-2
- Captains; Aaron Cronin, Josh Rothwell, Brain Santry & Robert Serino
- Returning Starters (0):
- Returning Letterman: (10) Aaron Cronin, WR/DB, Sr.; David Carrasco,; Gabe Golden, WR/DB, Sr.; Toby Hale, DE, Jr.; Brendan McDonald, DB, Jr.; Mark Rittiboon, DL, So,; Josh Rothwell, WR/LB, Sr.; Brain Santry, DB, Sr.; Peter Sheehan, DE, Sr.; Robert Serino, WR/DB, Sr.
- Strength: Work Habits
- Weakness: Inexperience
Outlook: For the first time in more than 40 years the Big Blue returns no starters from its 2011 team, but 22 seniors including 5 new players provide options. However 10 players saw considerable playing time last season and even more understand the system heading into 2012. The Big Blue will need to start putting the puzzle pieces together quickly in the non-conference part of the schedule before competing in the tough CAL/NEC II. Leading the way are captains Cronin, Rothwell, Santry and Serino. The team has shown tremendous dedication in the off-season and with 61 athletes on the roster the team is plenty options.
Linda Portnoy and Jim New's golf team got off to a strong start in their first match of the season.
It was last week at Winthrop and the score was 42 1/2 to 29 1/2.
The low score of day was shot by Trevor Massey — 36
Winners of their matches were Trevor Massey, Kevin Malatesta, Peter Wright, Victoria Malatesta, Cameron Swigor, Anthony Springthorpe.
Anthony and Peter sank two birdies.
Their next match is Tuesday at Danvers.
The team includes five returning players and five newcomers.
The key thought the coaches want the players to grasp today and each day thereafter is to play as a team.
It's always a challenge, given that golfers are young and that high school golf is both a team and individual sport, the head coach said.
The captains are Kevin Marescalchi and Trevor Massey.
The other varsity members are Patrick Burkett, Max Cohen, Griffin Hunt, Noah Maercklein, Victoria Malatesta, Anthony Springthorpe, Cameron Swigor and Peter Wright.