From the Coaches – A Fall Season Recap
The Girls’ Cross Country team had one of the best seasons in the program's entire history. They finished with a 12-1 record in the EIL, claimed second place overall at the EIL Championship Meet, and took second at the NEPSTA Division III Championship. This is the best combination of finishes at these meets since 2007, when the Ravens took second in each race. To call it magical would almost disrespect the very tangible hard work and fearless will that the team put into this season…but it was kind of magical. The team held a perfect balance between gritty veterans and gifted youngsters. Each athlete pushed herself and her teammates during every practice and every race. At the EIL meet, the girls came within 14 points of Winsor, a dominant program, and at the NEPSTA meet, they came within 4 points of a fantastic Montrose team for the championship. This group of Ravens can hold their heads high for a second-place finish out of 20 teams.
Brooke Martson ’27 was the team’s top runner, finishing seventh at the EIL Championship and tenth at the NEPSTA Championship. Tilly Holling ’26 was right behind her with a tenth-place finish at the EILs and eighteenth place at NEPSTA. Both girls received medals at each race. Sadie Polgar ’24 and Ale Cristiani ’24 traded positions at the EILs and NEPSTA. Sadie was seventeenth at the EILs and thirty-second at NEPSTA. Ale was eighteenth at the EILs and twenty-eighth at NEPSTA. Mary Davidson ’24 was our fifth runner at the EILs with a solid thirty-first finish, while Eva Madden ’26 ran the best race of her career to take fifty-ninth at NEPSTA as the fifth girl.
The Boys’ Cross Country team was defending an EIL League Championship this season, and that is a tough thing to do in this supremely balanced and competitive league. They did their job throughout the regular season, tying for first with Concord by record, finishing 7-1. Cross Country chooses its champion in the crucible of the League Meet, though, and that race turned out to be a melee. Every team arrived with a race strategy, which promptly got dashed in the first mile. Every boy in the Top 50 probably ran the fastest mile of their life, and after that, it was just a matter of who could hang on. Our boys logged incredible times and finished 12 points out of first, yet somehow, that was only good enough for fifth place. That is astonishing parity, and while it’s a shame the Ravens ended up on the wrong end of a close race, it was a fantastic race just the same. The boys stayed focused and prepared for the NEPSTA meet. The very tight fifth-place finish didn’t require redemption, but the Abbey claimed it if it did. The boys beat every EIL team at the race and took fifth out of 22 teams.
Sean Brennan ’24 and Kyle Reinecke ’24 were the team’s top runners throughout the year. Sean took sixth at the EILs and eighteenth at NEPSTA. Kyle took seventh at EILs and fifth at NEPSTA. Both boys received medals at each race. Joseph Levreault ’26 was the Abbey’s third man throughout the year, taking eighteenth at the EILs and thirty-third at NEPSTA. John Blake ’25 was the fourth runner with a twenty-seventh place EIL finish and fifty-eighth atNEPSTA. Nate Lee ’24, the Abbey’s fifth man, took thirty-seventh at the EILs and seventy-third at NEPSTA.
The Ravens varsity field hockey team clinched home-field advantage for the post-season with a 3-0 win against Wheeler on November 8. Laney Harrold ’24 opened up scoring with a beautiful goal off a corner, and her drives up the field to Layla Grilli ’25 were perfect stick-to-stick, giving the team a few offensive opportunities. Mila Smith ’24 also notched a goal in the first quarter and Lucy Verderber ’24 quickly opened up the third quarter, scoring another goal this season.
The team only gave up two defensive corners and it was great to see how they have learned to protect feet in the circle. Mabel Harlan ’27 had an excellent game at midfield, and Jayden Elias ’26 kept the Ravens strong in the net to end the regular season with a shutout. Despite a strong effort, the Ravens lost to Pingree 1-0 in the EIL Tournament Semifinal on November 10.
Playing a very competitive Evergreen League Schedule, the Ravens varsity football team finished the 2023 season with a record of 2-6. The two wins came at home against Albany Academy and on the road at Berkshire School. While both wins had memorable individual performances, they were total team efforts that took contributions from all on the field. The coaches thank the 10 Sixth-Form students for their leadership and contributions to the football program and look forward to coaching those players returning next fall.
The Girls' Varsity Soccer team had a solid 2023 season, finishing 9-11 (4-8 in the EIL). The nine wins are the most for the program in over a decade, and the team scored 55 goals, up from 27 the year before. Captain Lily Atwell '24 led the team with 16 goals, followed by Jenny Rivera '26 with 14. Highlights included wins over NEPSAC playoff team Concord Academy and two straight comeback wins to end the season, 5-3 over Marianapolis Prep, and 2-1 over new EIL member Wheeler. This team had incredible leadership from its Sixth-Formers, with a lot of talent returning next year. EIL playoffs are the number one goal for the 2024 season.
The Boys' Varsity Soccer team had a very good 2023 season, ending with a record of 8-8-2 and finishing 5th in the EIL. This does not reflect how well players progressed and grew as a team throughout the season. The team worked extremely hard every week to improve their skills and learn to play the game the right way. They dedicated themselves to the team and the system and, as a result, played some great soccer together. Furthermore, they had fun, showed respect to one another, and represented their school with class. The Ravens have a strong core returning next year and are excited to continue moving this program forward.
The Boys' JVA Soccer team had a tremendously successful season. They showed a great deal of improvement throughout the season, won some big games, and had fun doing it. After a few hard, early-season losses, the team came on strong. Ending the season by going eight straight games without defeat, the boys won their last four games, averaging over five goals scored per game. Tomlin Anya ’26, Drake Almeida ’26, and Sebastian Kamdani ’26 led the way offensively for the Ravens, while Matt Burgner ’25 and Sawyer Leonard ’25 were at the heart of the defensive line. Eight of the team’s starters also saw playing time with the varsity squad at different points in the season. The JVA boys are looking forward to being a part of the future success of the soccer program.
The Boys’ JVB Soccer team remained undefeated throughout the course of their three-game season, winning one game and tying the final two. Each game was exciting and came down to the wire, often requiring a comeback by the Ravens. The team showed great spirit throughout the season and bought into being the JVB team. With a month between our second and third games, the team should be commended for continuing their work ethic and commitment. This was highlighted in the last game of the season at Wheeler. On a cold and wet day, the boys came back from being two goals down in the second half to end the year on an undefeated high note.
Led by three senior athletes and two senior managers, the 2023 Raven volleyball team ended the regular season with a 15-4 record and secured spots in the Eastern Independent League (ranked 2nd) and New England Class C tournaments (ranked 4th). Coach Huynh and Coach Wilson enjoyed teaching players the skills and character necessary for a fun and successful season. The team traveled around New England and were true student-athletes who gave their best at both. The Ravens defeated Hamden Hall 25-22 in the NEPSAC quarter-finals on November 15. They will play Cushing Academy on Saturday, November 18, in the semi-finals of the championship tournament.
Ryan Wood Named Head Coach for Girls’ Varsity Basketball
Ryan Wood has been named the new Head Coach for Girls' Varsity Basketball, taking over for former Head Coach Paula Walter. The Equipment Manager for the Department of Athletics since 2017, Wood has also served as a coach in the Boys' basketball program.
A 2001 RILL Class 1-A Championship boys varsity basketball team member at Rogers High School in Newport, Wood later attended Rhode Island College. His experience before joining the Ravens includes coaching at Thompson Middle School in Newport, Gaudet Middle School in Middletown, and Newport Recreation. He prides himself on simplifying the game of basketball and motivating his players to give one hundred percent. His teams have always had a great culture, with players putting the team before themselves and having great camaraderie.
“The Portsmouth Abbey girls' basketball program is on the rise, and we need a coach to guide this program for the next decade,” said Athletic Director Chris Milmoe when hiring Wood. “Participation is up, the talent level is up, and we need a leader full of enthusiasm and knowledge. Having watched Coach Wood over the last two years, I can’t think of anyone better for the program. The athletes will rally around him and give their all to succeed.”
Wood will be joined by assistant coaches Darryl DeMarzio and Erin Wood. Portsmouth Abbey competes in the Eastern Independent League and is a New England Prep School Athletic Conference member.
Winter Season Coaching is a Family Affair
The teacher-coach model has always been at the heart of the Raven athletic program, and it has often included members of the Abbey family who share more than just a passion for the game. This winter, Ryan and Erin Wood and Shane and Susan McCarthy will coach the Girls’ Varsity and JV basketball teams, and the father-daughter duo of Roberto Guerenabarrena and Margaret Sheppard will coach the co-ed JVB Squash team. Optional practices for winter season student-athletes began this week. The teams and coaches are listed below.
Varsity Head Coach: Clarence Chenoweth
Varsity Assistant Coach: Steve Zins
JV Head Coach: Ben Sprague
JV Assistant Coach Sebastian Gonzalez
JVB Head Coach: Ryan Walker
JVB Assistant Coach: Joe Dibiase
Varsity Head Coach: Ryan Wood
Varsity Assistant Coach: Darryl DeMarzio
Varsity Assistant Coach: Erin Wood
JV Head Coach: Shane McCarthy
JV Assistant Coach: Susan McCarthy
Boys’ Ice Hockey
Varsity Head Coach: Zach Cappelli
Varsity Assistant Coach: Sam Funnell
Varsity Assistant Coach: Derek Gittus
JV Head Coach: Colin McKay
Girls’ Ice Hockey
Varsity Head Coach: Kurt Carter
Varsity Assistant Coach: Julia DellaRusso
Varsity Assistant Coach: Taylor Steadman
JV Head Coach: Dan Caplin
JV Assistant Coach: Cate Pollini
Varsity Head Coach: Wayne Turner
JV Head Coach: Bryndol Sones
Varsity Head Coach: Hugh Richardson
JV Head Coach: Gersende Chanfrau
JVB Head Coach: Roberto Guerenabarrena
JVB Assistant Coach: Margaret Sheppard ’06
Varsity Head Coach: Mike Mclarney
Varsity Assistant Coach: Dave Wilson
Winter Season Preview: A few hints from Athletic Director Chris Milmoe
- Ryan Wood takes over for first year as head coach
- Grace Connaughton ’24 will lead the new team
- Newcomer Alex Watson ’26 will be a difference-maker
- Losing Bernard Dushie ’23 may have a big impact
- Slade Crouse ’24 and Charlie Townsend ’24 will lead the team
- New Raven Malcolm Maboula ’26 hopes to be a difference-maker
Boys' Ice Hockey
- Zach Cappelli takes over as first-year head coach
- The team won the Holt Conference regular season last year
- Goaltender Pat McDevitt ’24 will lead the team
- The team made the New England tournament in 2022
Girls Ice Hockey
- The team won the EIL championship last year and qualified for the New England tournament
- New talent will need to step up, given the loss of several key players
- Zoe Rosenberg ’24 and Sophia Capone ’24 will be leaders on the team
- Newcomer Clara Corbin ’26 looks to make an impact right away
- Finished third at the New England Championship last year
- Number one player Victor Xu ’24 has returned for his final year
- Newcomer Moises Gavilanes ’27 is a highly-ranked player in his home country of Ecuador and will make a huge impact on the team
- Team won the New England Championship in 2023
- Ale Cristiani ’24 returns in the number one position
- Mary Davidson ’24 and Charlotte West ’24 will serve as captains
- Team finished second in the EIL Championship last year
- Danielle Gasso ’24 qualified for the Girls Prep National Tournament in 2022 and is back for her senior year
- Sean Oh ’24 and Tommy O’Hara ’24 will serve as captains
- Newcomer Cody Vetrano ’26 has high aspirations