NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Sports

March 7, 2014

Bigger freshmen classes could spell bright future for Newburyport athletics

(Continued)

“I think all in all this has been a really strong athletic class that has entered NHS, and they’re making a mark for themselves, both at the freshmen, JV and varsity levels,” Parent said.

“It’ll be interesting to see how they develop over the next two or three years.”

Bob Clarke, the high school’s athletic director, said the school has seen overall participation in freshman sports increase substantially this year as well. He said the increased numbers lend to some logistical challenges, like making sure there is enough equipment for everybody, but said that ultimately having a lot of kids is a good problem to have.

“The boys football team had 30 kids sign up, which is a very large number for us, and the freshman field hockey team had 24 girls try out,” Clarke said. “Freshman girls basketball, although their record wasn’t great, we had a large number of participants. I hope we’re going to continue to see that because I believe the kids had a pleasant experience and I think that’s what brings kids back into the athletic process.”

Though it’s too early to tell whether next year’s freshman class will stack up athletically to the current group, Parent said an early look at the district’s middle school data suggests that the next two years will see similarly large class sizes, and Clarke said the current middle school teams appear to have a lot of talent.

Clarke added that the character of the freshman class has impressed him as well, and if the kids coming up turn out anything like them, the future of NHS athletics should be in good hands.

“It’s a nice athletic class and a nice academic class as well. They’re well behaved, disciplined,” Clarke said. “It’s a very good class and I think this upcoming eighth-grade class is like that too.”

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