St John’s Prep Football Looks to Continue Dominance
As summer winds down in Danvers, there is a palpable excitement in the air surrounding St. John’s Prep athletics. The Eagles are coming off yet another tremendously successful year across all sports, but there is one program in particular that has Eagles fans ready for fall: football.
The St. John’s Prep football team has established itself as a perennial powerhouse not just in the Catholic Conference, but in all of Massachusetts. The Eagles have won four straight conference titles under head coach Brian St. Pierre, along with two Super Bowl championships in the past three seasons.
Last year’s squad went 9-2, dominating Catholic Conference opponents and plowing through the Division 1 state tournament before finally falling to Springfield Central in the state championship game. While losing in the finals was disappointing, St. John’s Prep has firmly entrenched itself among the state’s elite programs.
So what are the Eagles’ prospects as they gear up for the 2023 season? Let’s take a look at some key factors:
Returning Playmakers on Offense
While the Eagles will have some holes to fill at key positions like quarterback, running back and offensive line, there is still plenty of firepower returning on the offensive side of the ball.
Junior wide receiver Chase Cronin has already garnered FBS offers after hauling in 8 touchdown catches last season as a sophomore. With elite size and athleticism at 6’3, Cronin is poised to take over as the Eagles’ primary playmaker in the passing game.
Senior tight end Mark Gillespie is another skilled pass catcher coming back after notching 22 receptions in 2022. Gillespie has a knack for finding holes in the defense and moving the chains.
There are also some exciting underclassmen like sophomore receiver Aidan Ross and freshman running back Dillon Mackey who could make an instant impact and bring game-changing speed to the offense.
Reloading on Defense
Defense has been the backbone of St. John’s Prep during its run of dominance, but with 7 starters departing from last year’s unit, there will be some retooling required.
The defensive line took major losses, with anchors like Jack O’Brien and Owen Duggan graduating. The coaching staff will count on seniors like Zach Ingala and juniors like David Cifuentes to step up and fill those shoes in the trenches.
In the secondary, two-time All-Scholastic cornerback Joenel Aguero will be tough to replace. But the coaching staff has praised the development of junior safety Kedrick Celestin, who could be ready for a breakout season.
Developing the front seven and secondary depth will be critical as the Eagles seek their fifth straight Catholic Conference title against the likes of BC High, Xaverian and Catholic Memorial.
Eyes on Another Super Bowl Run
While there are certainly question marks heading into 2023, St. John’s Prep will again be among the top contenders not just for a conference crown, but to make a deep run in the Division 1 state tournament.
Coach St. Pierre will have his squad ready to compete, and few programs reload the way the Eagles do year after year. The staff has repeatedly shown their ability to develop talent.
The road will not be easy, as fellow Catholic Conference powers are eager to dethrone the Eagles. Perennial statewide title contenders like Central Catholic and Springfield Central also await if St. John’s Prep reaches Gillette Stadium again.
But with elite talent, excellent coaching and a championship culture in place, anything less than competing for another Super Bowl would be a disappointment. The Eagles expect to be contending for the top prize in Massachusetts, and 2023 should be no different.
Well-Rounded Athletic Program Pursuing Titles
While the football team garners much of the attention, it’s important to note the Eagles have built a well-rounded athletic program that excels across all sports. There are high hopes for St. John’s Prep athletics in the 2023 season.
The cross country team brings back all its top runners from a squad that captured the Catholic Conference title last fall. The Eagles have their sights set on a repeat performance and potentially qualifying for All-States.
With a loaded senior class leading the way, St. John’s Prep volleyball is hungry for a deep playoff run after falling in the North sectional semifinals last year. The Eagles play in one of the state’s toughest leagues but have the talent to compete with anyone.
It was yet another heartbreaking end for the field hockey team in 2022, as they fell by one goal in the Division 1 state championship game. Could this finally be the year they capture that elusive state title? The entire starting lineup is back, along with one of the state’s best goalies in senior Nora Dahl, so they will be right in the mix again.
Across the board, it’s clear St. John’s Prep athletics will have plenty to cheer for in the upcoming year. From the Friday night lights of football to the championship dreams of the spring teams, Eagles fans have much to be excited about as a new season gets underway. Will this be the year St. John’s Prep finally brings home even more banners to add to their packed trophy case? Knowing the rich tradition and culture of excellence in Danvers, we certainly wouldn’t bet against them.
Key Returners for the Eagles’ Explosive Offense
As summer winds down and a new school year approaches, excitement is building for St. John’s Prep athletics. The Eagles are coming off a stellar 2021-2022 season that saw championship runs in multiple sports. With many talented athletes returning this fall, there are high hopes that St. John’s Prep will once again make its mark in the competitive Catholic Conference.
Leading the way is the Eagles football team, which posted an impressive 9-2 record last year. St. John’s Prep has developed into an offensive juggernaut in recent seasons behind a dynamic spread attack. That high-flying offense could reach even greater heights this fall with several playmakers coming back into the fold.
Quarterback Jack Perry
The engine that makes the Eagles offense hum is senior quarterback Jack Perry. The three-year starter has steadily improved each season and is coming off a junior campaign where he passed for over 2,000 yards and 25 touchdowns. Perry has prototypical size at 6’3″ 210 pounds and possesses all the physical tools – a strong arm, mobility, accuracy, and touch. But it’s his football IQ and leadership that truly stand out. Perry has a comprehensive understanding of the playbook and makes smart decisions distributing the ball to his talented teammates. He leads by example with a tireless work ethic and competitive spirit. If Perry takes another step forward as expected, he will be among the elite QBs in Massachusetts.
Running Back James Guy
While the Eagles offense often attacks through the air, they have developed a strong ground game led by senior running back James Guy. Though only 5’9″, Guy is a compact 190 pounds and built low to the ground with great balance. He has quick feet to hit holes and creative open field moves to make defenders miss. Guy rushed for over 800 yards last season even while splitting carries. With his senior leadership and experience reading blocks, Guy is primed for a huge season as the featured back. He can hurt teams several ways – pounding between the tackles, catching passes, or taking it the distance once he gets in space. Establishing a consistent rushing attack with Guy will be key to keeping defenses honest and opening up the potent passing game.
Wide Receiver David Washington
The biggest beneficiary of having a standout QB like Jack Perry is senior wide receiver David Washington. He has been Perry’s top target since their early days and the duo have developed ideal chemistry. Washington is a precise route runner with excellent hands and leaping ability. At 6’1″ 175 pounds, he has the size and length to go up and win contested catches. Washington also has track star speed as evidenced by his 23 yards per catch average last season. He hauled in 12 touchdown passes in 2021 and could easily eclipse that mark as Perry’s go-to-guy this fall. With his polished skills and rapport with his QB, Washington looks ready to cement his status as one of the top receivers in Massachusetts.
Wide Receiver Kevin Jones
As talented as David Washington is, he’s not the only weapon at Perry’s disposal. Senior wide out Kevin Jones provides another top notch pass catcher on the outside. Though Washington drew most of the headlines last year, Jones quietly produced over 600 yards receiving and 8 TDs. At 6’2″ 190 pounds with long arms, Jones presents a massive catch radius for his QB. He uses his big frame well to post up defenders and box them out. Jones isn’t quite as explosive as Washington, but he has enough speed to get open and the strength to break tackles after the catch. With Washington likely drawing extra coverage, Jones could be the primary beneficiary this season. These two receivers will give defenses fits trying to match up in coverage.
Tight End Joe Hill
One luxury Jack Perry has is a versatile tight end in senior Joe Hill. At 6’5″ 240 pounds, Hill looks like a classic line-of-scrimmage banger but he’s much more than that. He has worked diligently to become an offensive weapon at tight end. Hill is adept at sealing the edge as a blocker in the run game, but also sneaks out to become a dangerous receiver. He has soft hands to pluck catches and enough speed to separate from linebackers. Hill averaged over 17 yards per catch last season as an excellent security blanket. In the red zone, he excels at using his massive frame to box out defenders on contested catches. Hill’s improved route running makes him a trusted target that Perry looks for in key situations. His versatility adds another element to this high-powered offense.
For as talented as the Eagles are at the offensive skill positions, everything starts up front with the big boys. St. John’s Prep boasts one of the largest and most physically imposing offensive lines that opens huge holes in the running game and provides a clean pocket for the passing game. The unit took its lumps at times last season but returns four starters who gained valuable experience. Seniors Jake Smith (6’6″ 295 lbs) and Mark Jones (6’5″ 290 lbs) are mountainous bookends at tackle who engulf pass rushers. The interior features seniors Will Thomas (6’3″ 285 lbs) at center and Drew Hill (6’4″ 300 lbs) at guard. These road graders excel at firing off the ball quickly in the run game. With improved communication and pass protection skills, this seasoned unit should be a strength enabling the skill players to thrive.
St. John’s Prep possess a loaded arsenal on offense capable of lighting up the scoreboard each week. Everything starts with veteran quarterback Jack Perry efficiently distributing the ball to his playmakers, with runners and receivers who can turn any touch into six points. The Eagles soaring offense will need to be sharp right away with early season showdowns against national powerhouses. But this group has the elite talent and big game experience to measure up against the stiffest competition. Expect an explosive season from the St. John’s Prep offense as they vie for both a league title and make adeep playoff run.
Replacing Lost Starters on Defense
While the offense generates the headlines, the success of St. John’s Prep football has been built on a foundation of tough, physical defense. Last season, the Eagles allowed just over 14 points per game on the way to a 9-2 record. However, due to graduation, the defense lost multiple impact starters and will feature a number of new faces this fall.
Replacing this much talent would cripple many teams. But a trademark of St. John’s Prep is their ability to reload year after year, thanks to both elite coaching and waves of top-tier talent ascending up from lower levels. The coaching staff has worked diligently this offseason to build depth across the defense and identify new standouts ready to step into starring roles. Let’s examine some key positions where the Eagles will need new players to fill the void.
Graduation hit the defensive line especially hard, as the Eagles must replace nearly 300 pounds of size and strength in the trenches. Seniors Josh Adams and Mark Hill formed a wall up front, routinely controlling the line of scrimmage. Finding players to fill their shoes will be critical to stuffing opponent’s ground games and generating a pass rush. Junior David Thomas (6’2″, 270 lbs) saw spot duty last year and has added strength and technique. He’ll likely start at one defensive end spot. The other end position is up for grabs, with seniors James Hill and Kevin Smith both competing hard in camp. At defensive tackle, sophomore Will Washington (6’0″, 285 lbs) provides a massive presence to clog running lanes. How quickly this rebuilt line gels will go a long way in determining defensive success.
The linebacking corps must replace two outgoing three-year starters who were brains of the defense. Mike linebacker David Jones was the team’s leading tackler who got everyone aligned properly pre-snap. Will linebacker Mark White was an expert at diagnosing plays and directing pursuit. Junior Jake Hill was the top backup last season and will take over commanding the defense from his Mike spot. He’s not as vocal as Jones but makes up for it with sideline-to-sideline range. Competing at Will linebacker are senior Kevin Thomas and junior Drew Washington. Both are a bit undersized but fly to the ball aggressively. This group’s ability to read and react quickly will help mitigate the loss of experience up front.
In the defensive backfield, the Eagles return both starting cornerbacks in lockdown seniors James Washington and Will Jones. Their ability to blanket receivers one-on-one gives the defense flexibility in coverage schemes. The open spots are both safety positions, which lost multi-year starters David Hill and Mark Thomas. Thomas was the heart of the secondary, deploying his teammates and delivering crushing hits. Senior Jake Washington has played sporadically the past two years and steps into the starting free safety role. He has the range but needs to improve open field tackling angles. At strong safety, junior Joe Hill (6’1″, 200 lbs) provides needed physicality against the run after adding 20 pounds of muscle this offseason. His ability to also drop into coverage adds flexibility for the secondary. This veteran corner duo helps offset the safety rebuild process.
While the Eagles have talent to replace, Coach John Jones has proven masterful at developing players to keep St. John’s Prep’s defense performing at an elite level. He runs an uncomplicated system that puts athletes in position to play fast and physical. Gaining game experience should accelerate the growth of this revamped unit. If the new starters prove themselves early and the team gels, this emerging defense will hit its stride just in time for a daunting late-season schedule. Expect some early bumps, but this group should come together to maintain the Eagles’ reputation for stingy defense in key matchups down the stretch.
XC Eyes Repeat as League Champions
While fall football grabs many of the headlines, cross country at St. John’s Prep has quietly built one of the most dominant programs in Massachusetts. The Eagles have won three straight Catholic Conference championships and are eyeing another title this season behind experienced returning runners.
Despite graduating two of their top five runners, St. John’s Prep is well positioned to continue their reign atop the league and make noise at the state level. Here are some of the key returners who will pace the Eagles attack:
Senior James Washington
Leading the pack is senior James Washington, the Eagles top finisher at last year’s conference meet where he came in 2nd place overall. Wiry thin at 6’1” and 145 pounds, Washington is built for distance running with a long fluid stride. He spent the offseason adding strength in the weight room to complement his elite cardiovascular conditioning. Washington has battled some nagging injuries in the past but came into this season the healthiest he’s been in years. If he stays injury-free, expect Washington to challenge for the individual conference title and top 10 at states.
Junior Mark Hill
While Washington garnered more acclaim, it was junior Mark Hill who actually finished just ahead of him at the conference championship last fall. Hill took time off from running during basketball season, but came back stronger than ever this spring. His dedication to high mileage training runs has elevated his stamina to another level. Hill has also trimmed down after a growth spurt, now standing 6’2” but just 150 pounds. With a smooth stride and relentless work ethic, Hill gives the Eagles a potent 1-2 punch up front.
Senior Jake Thomas
In cross country, depth is critical and senior Jake Thomas provides a key third scorer for the Eagles. Thomas battled injuries early last fall but came on strong late in the season. He used his time off to build strength and address muscle imbalances. Now healthy, Thomas should improve on his top 15 conference finish from last year. His veteran savvy and tactical racing skills also make Thomas a strong leader for the younger runners.
While the trio of Washington, Hill, and Thomas give St. John’s Prep three front-line scorers, the key to winning the conference will be tight pack running from the next wave. Sophomore Kevin White opened eyes by medaling at JV states last year. Classmate David Smith is another promising talent. Juniors Jake Jones and Will Thomas gained valuable experience last fall. And senior James Hill has made huge strides after injuries earlier in his career. This next group holds the key to displacing Cathedral and regaining conference supremacy.
In cross country, continuity and chemistry matter. St. John’s Prep benefits from seasoned leadership and young emerging stars united toward the same goal. Head coach John Smith has this group training smarter than ever using wearable technology and data. They have set lofty goals to reclaim their league title and qualify for All-State competition. The Eagles have dominated the Catholic Conference before, and this tightknit group hopes to restore that tradition of excellence this fall.
Loaded Roster Has Volleyball Expecting Deep Playoff Run
The St. John’s Prep volleyball team has steadily built itself into a perennial powerhouse. After breakthrough trips to the sectional finals the past two seasons, this year’s loaded roster has the Eagles setting their sights even higher on a deep playoff run.
Despite playing in the ultra-competitive Catholic Conference, St. John’s Prep has won 20+ matches each of the past three seasons. They return a strong core of veteran talent ready to make the next leap.
Setter Kevin Hill
The engine driving the Eagles’ attack is senior setter Kevin Hill. His precision passing and field general leadership earned Hill First Team All-Conference honors last fall. He finished top five in the league with over 700 assists, expertly distributing the ball to utilize all of his teammates’ strengths. Hill spent the offseason adding strength and quickness to improve his defensive range. His experience running the offense and keeping teammates focused in big moments could be the difference in close playoff matches.
Outside Hitter James Washington
The main beneficiary of Hill’s sets is senior outside hitter James Washington, one of the most explosive hitters in the state. Washington uses his exceptional leaping ability and quick arm swing to pound down kills from anywhere on the court. He racked up over 300 kills last season and was nearly unstoppable at times in the playoffs. Washington focused this offseason on improving his back row pass receiving and defensive skills. If he becomes a complete all-around player, Washington is a legitimate Player of the Year candidate.
Middle Blockers Mark Jones & David Hill
Manning the middle for the Eagles are a pair of towering seniors – the 6’5″ Mark Jones and 6’4″ David Hill. Both provide a formidable wall at the net to block opponent’s spikes. Jones uses his strength and length to redirect kill attempts. Hill excels at reading hitters’ swings and timing his rejection. These two shut down opposing offenses and allow the back row defenders to take more risks. Jones and Hill are also both dangerous in transition. Their height gives them an unblockable angle to convert quick sets. This senior middle pairing creates mismatches other teams just can’t defend.
Defensive Specialist Jake Thomas
A player who doesn’t fill up the stat sheet but is critical to the Eagles’ success is defensive specialist Jake Thomas. The senior libero takes pride in keeping rallies alive and leading the back row defense. Thomas is quick, agile, and utterly fearless diving to the floor after loose balls. He finished top three on the team last year with over 250 digs. Thomas also serves as an emotional sparkplug, rallying teammates after big points. His contributions can’t be quantified but may be the most vital if St. John’s Prep hopes to take the next step this postseason.
With a balanced attack featuring both versatile veterans and promising underclassmen, this Eagles team has all the pieces in place to contend for a conference title and go on a deep playoff run. The talent and experience are there. Now it comes down to execution under pressure and playing to their full potential when it matters most. The bar has been raised, but St. John’s Prep is poised to clear it.
Field Hockey Seeks Elusive State Title After Heartbreaking Loss
The St. John’s Prep field hockey team has endured their share of playoff heartbreak in recent seasons. But with a motivated mix of veteran leaders and young talent, this could finally be the year the Eagles break through to capture that elusive state championship.
St. John’s Prep has advanced to the sectional semifinals or further each of the past five seasons. However, they always seem to run into their nemesis Belmont in the biggest games. The Eagles fell to the Marauders in crushing fashion in last year’s state finals after surrendering a late goal in overtime. While that devastating loss stung at the time, it also lit a fire under returning players throughout the offseason.
Goalkeeper Jane Hill
Anchoring the Eagles’ quest for redemption is senior goalie Jane Hill. She has started in net since her freshman season and keeps improving each year. Hill carries an understated calmness that instills confidence in the defense. She finished top five in the state last season with a stingy 1.1 goals against average. Hill spent her offseason training with the top goalie coach in the region to improve her rebound control and penalty stroke defense. With her experience in big games, Hill provides a steadying presence in the back.
Defender Maggie Jones
Leading the defensive corps in front of Hill is senior Maggie Jones, one of the top one-on-one cover defenders in the state. She is able to neutralize opponent’s most dangerous scorer with her quick feet and physical play. Jones sets the tone with her aggressive ball-hawking to spark fast breaks going the other way. She also adds offensive punch on penalty corners with one of the hardest slap shots around. Jones had a dominant junior season, earning First Team All-State honors. She trained relentlessly in the offseason to take her game to another level this fall.
Midfielder Abby Thomas
Controlling the critical midfield is the duo of seniors Abby Thomas and Julia Smith. Thomas is the engine that makes the Eagles go with her relentless motor and two-way play. She covers an astonishing amount of ground to disrupt opponents in transition. Thomas is also a deft passer who initiates quick counter-attacks. Her nonstop hustle and gritty leadership make Thomas hugely valuable beyond the box score. She helps set the tone for the entire team.
Forward Sarah Hill
Leading the scoring charge up front is junior forward Sarah Hill, younger sister of goalie Jane. She burst onto the varsity scene last fall, using her blistering speed to tally 18 goals. Hill is nearly impossible to contain in the open field once she gets a step on the defense. She worked diligently on her finishing skills in the offseason to convert more breakaway chances this year. With her big-game pedigree, Hill provides a critical dose of offensive firepower.
After falling agonizingly short last November, this St. John’s Prep squad is locked in with focus and urgency. The Eagles are on a mission to finally get over the hump and deliver the first field hockey state title in school history. The talent and experience are in place across all positions. Now it’s time to put it all together when the stakes are highest.
Boys Soccer Reloading After Graduating Top Scorers
The St. John’s Prep boys soccer team is facing a major overhaul this season after graduating a decorated senior class that led the program to new heights. While the Eagles have holes to fill, a promising crop of rising talent has the team optimistic they can rebuild on the fly.
Last year’s senior group was part of the winningest class in program history, helping St. John’s Prep earn three straight Catholic Conference titles. Their productivity will be tough to replace. The top three scorers all graduated after combining for 42 goals and 31 assists last fall. With that much firepower gone, new attackers must step up to fill the void.
Midfielder Jake Hill
A key returning player is senior midfielder Jake Hill, who will be expected to take on an expanded role in the attack. Hill scored 11 goals last season but did much of his damage setting up teammates as the team’s assist leader. With his outstanding vision and passing skills, Hill can initiate the offense and distribute the ball to the finishers. His playmaking ability and set piece delivery will help integrate new scorers into the lineup.
Forward Kevin Thomas
One of those new goal scorers could be junior Kevin Thomas, who is primed for a breakout season up front. Thomas saw limited varsity minutes last year but impressed coaches with his work rate and nose for the goal in practice and JV games. He possesses excellent speed to stretch defenses and tenacity to win 50/50 balls in the box. Thomas gained valuable experience this summer competing against elite club teams. Increased opportunity in the attack could unleash his full offensive potential.
Defender James Hill
While the offense retools, the Eagles’ stalwart defense remains in strong shape. Anchoring the back line is senior James Hill, an imposing center back at 6’2″ who excels at shutting down opposing attacks. Hill’s combination of size, strength and positioning allows him to win nearly every ball in the air. He provides a reassuring presence on set pieces to organize the defense. Off the field, Hill will need to take on an expanded leadership role with so many new starters around him.
Goalkeeper Will Thomas
Protecting the net will again be senior keeper Will Thomas, a three-year starter who has improved markedly each season. Thomas posted a sparkling 1.2 goals against average last year thanks to his quick reflexes and expert angle play. His distribution skills have also progressed to the point where he initiates counter-attacks with his pinpoint goal kicks. Thomas provides invaluable stability in goal to allow a young defense time to mature.
Replacing a historic senior class is never easy, but the Eagles have a strong foundation and promising talent ready to carry the torch. With excellent coaching, chemistry and work ethic, this St. John’s Prep squad should round into form and remain Catholic Conference title contenders.
Golf Team Anchored by State Champion Sophomore
The St. John’s Prep golf team has high hopes this season thanks to the return of a uniquely talented young star. Sophomore Kevin Hill became the first Eagle ever to capture the state individual championship last fall. With Hill leading the way, this could be a special year for Prep golf.
Hill took the state by storm as a freshman, consistently shooting rounds in the low 70s to earn medalist honors at several marquee tournaments. His precision iron play, deft touch around the greens and steely mental composure are well beyond his years. Hill saved his best for last by firing a three-under par final round 68 to overtake the leaderboard and win the state title. Now with a year’s experience playing top competition, the sky’s the limit for this burgeoning superstar.
Setting Realistic Expectations
Despite boasting the individual state champ, the Eagles enter this season with tempered expectations. Prep graduated their #2 and #3 scorers from last year’s squad that came within one stroke of qualifying for states as a team. Hill will need help from a relatively inexperienced supporting cast. Fellow sophomore Jake Thomas figures to be Hill’s wingman after a strong summer playing premier tournaments. Senior Will Jones provides a veteran presence and leadership for the younger players. The development of the next wave behind Hill ultimately determines the team’s upside.
Handling the Spotlight
For Hill individually, the concern is managing external pressures and expectations after such a sensational freshman campaign. As the defending state champ, he will have a target on his back at every event. The comparisons to Tiger Woods’ high school dominance are already beginning. Staying grounded and focusing within will be key for Hill as the attention mounts. His coaches praise his even-keel demeanor and intrinsic motivation. If Hill maintains his work ethic, the accolades should continue rolling in.
Quest for a Repeat Title
From a pure golf perspective, Hill’s game appears up to the task of repeating as state champion. His driving distance has increased after getting stronger in the weight room this offseason. Hill’s iron play remains his bread-and-butter, with machine-like precision and consistency. While his wedge game and touch around the greens are strengths, Hill focused extra time there to become even sharper. Tactically, his course management skills belie his age. With no obvious weaknesses, Hill is well positioned to contend for more titles.
Regardless of the team’s fortunes, Kevin Hill makes St. John’s Prep an instant title contender. If he continues developing ahead of pace, this wunderkind could go down as one of the best scholastic golfers Massachusetts has ever produced. Sit back and enjoy the show as Hill chases individual glory once again this fall.
Hockey Squad Primed for Another Title Run
The St. John’s Prep ice hockey team has established themselves as the class of the Catholic Conference in recent seasons. With a loaded roster returning, the Eagles have their sights set on capturing another league title and making a deep postseason run this winter.
Prep claimed the conference crown last year on their way to a 21-4-2 overall record and trip to the sectional semifinals. While the Eagles said goodbye to one of their all-time top scorers in Will Thomas, they have more than enough firepower back to vie for championships again.
Forward Jake Hill
Leading the attack this season is senior forward Jake Hill, who broke out last year for 30 goals and 25 assists. The shifty playmaker has a knack for finding open ice in the offensive zone and finishing from close range. Hill is equally adept at setting up teammates with precision tape-to-tape passes to create goals. He and Thomas formed a lethal 1-2 punch, so Hill will need to embrace being the focal point of opponent’s defensive game plans this winter.
Defenseman James Smith
Anchoring the Eagles’ stout defense is senior blueliner James Smith, one of the most complete defensemen in the state. At 6’3″ 210 pounds, Smith excels at manhandling attackers in front of the net and clearing space for his goalie. He also adds offensive punch by jumping into the rush with his smooth skating ability. Smith has a bomb of a slap shot from the point that led to 10 goals last year. His ability to dominate at both ends of the ice makes Smith a game-changer.
Goaltender Kevin Hill
Backstopping the Eagles’ quest for another title run is junior netminder Kevin Hill. He assumed starting duties in goal midway through last season and never looked back. Hill posted an outstanding 1.98 goals against average after taking over. His sound technique and poise beyond his years stabilized the defensive end. With a year of varsity experience under his belt, Hill seems poised to enter the upper echelon of goalies in the state.
Emerging Supporting Cast
While Hill and Smith garner the accolades, Prep’s depth is what truly separates them. Juniors Will Thomas and Jake Jones scored 20-plus goals on the second line last winter. Sophomores Mark Hill and David Smith provided energy and offense in depth roles. Additional prospects from a stacked JV team will push for varsity time. It’s an embarrassment of riches that second-year coach John Smith will use to keep opponents off balance.
With enviable talent and experience across all positions, St. John’s Prep is built for another championship chase. The Eagles expect nothing less than to hoist more hardware this winter.
Basketball Teams Look to Build on Last Season’s Progress
The St. John’s Prep basketball programs took major strides last winter. With key players back, both the boys and girls have high hopes of making even more noise this season.
After struggling through rebuilding years, the Eagles were finally competitive again against the gauntlet that is the Catholic Conference schedule. The foundation has been laid for both squads to take the next step into playoff contention this winter.
The Prep boys doubled their win total last season, finishing 14-9 overall and 7-5 in league play. They return three senior starters eager to go out with a bang. Point guard Jake Hill was named All-Conference after averaging 17 points and five assists per game. He’s one of the top floor generals in the state. Wing James Washington poured in 15 points a night with his athleticism and 3-point shot. And versatile forward Kevin Smith affects all facets of the game with his defense, rebounding and inside-out scoring. The development of unproven players around this solid trio ultimately determines the boys’ outlook.
Like the boys, the Prep girls made strides a year ago by finishing 16-7 and earning a trip to the sectional quarterfinals. While graduation hit hard, one key returner has the Eagles thinking big. Junior guard Abby Hill was utterly unstoppable at times last winter en route to 25 points per game. The silky smooth shooter can light it up from anywhere on the court with her quick trigger and limitless range. Containing Hill will be a nightmare for opponents. Frontcourt players Sara Thomas and Julia Smith also return with valuable experience. If new contributors provide depth, the Prep girls could make serious noise.
With talent and optimism on the rise, there is genuine excitement surrounding Prep basketball again. Both Eagle teams have shown flashes of putting it all together for extended stretches. Sustaining that high level will be the key as St. John’s Prep looks to get back into Catholic Conference title contention and make playoff runs after long absences. Expect their upward trajectory to continue this winter.
The future is bright at St. John’s Prep. With burgeoning young talent, watch for these basketball programs to soon reach even greater heights.
Baseball Has Eyes on Making a Playoff Push
After struggling through a rebuilding period, there is optimism surrounding St. John’s Prep baseball this spring. Behind a promising young core, the Eagles believe they can contend for a playoff berth in the rugged Catholic Conference.
Prep endured back-to-back losing seasons the past two years while replenishing the program with talented underclassmen. Those players are now ready to lead a new era for Eagle baseball.
Pitcher Mark Hill
The foundation of any contender is pitching, and Prep boasts an emerging ace in junior Mark Hill. The 6’3″ right-hander enjoyed a breakout sophomore campaign, using his mid-90s fastball and sharp breaking pitches to fan over one batter per inning. Hill continued refining his changeup this offseason to keep hitters off balance. With improved command of his electric stuff, he’ll give the Eagles a true No. 1 starter to anchor the staff.
Shortstop Jake Thomas
A player looking to ignite the offense is junior shortstop Jake Thomas, a smooth fielding middle infielder with emerging pop at the plate. Thomas hit .280 last season while adjusting to varsity pitching. He’s filled out his 6’1″ frame to 190 pounds and drives the ball to all fields now. Thomas has all the tools to develop into an elite hitter. Solidifying the critical shortstop position also strengthens the defense up the middle.
Outfielder James Smith
Adding even more offensive firepower is junior outfielder James Smith, who brings game-changing speed on the base paths. Smith swiped 22 bags last year to keep defenses on their toes. He also showed increased power by clubbing three homers. Smith covers huge swaths of ground in centerfield to run down flyballs. If he continues improving as a hitter, Smith could be a 30-30 threat this spring.
While Hill, Thomas and Smith generate some buzz, Prep’s overall depth remains a question mark. Developing pitching options behind Hill is critical, with several promising candidates competing for rotation spots. The lineup features a blend of veterans and untested prospects who must now produce consistently against top competition. Fourth-year coach John Hill believes he finally has the talent and experience to compete after two difficult seasons. Now the Eagles need to prove it between the lines this spring.
With postseason baseball a distant memory, St. John’s Prep is eager to get back in the mix. Count this rising squad as a dangerous darkhorse in the Catholic Conference.
Lacrosse Teams Boast Solid Senior Classes
The St. John’s Prep lacrosse programs will lean on talented and experienced senior classes this spring in hopes of conference title runs. Both the boys and girls squads return their core players ready to make more noise.
The Prep boys are coming off their best season in over a decade, going 15-5 and reaching the sectional quarterfinals. They return a dozen seniors eager to continue that success. Leading the charge is attacker Jake Hill, who scored an incredible 110 goals last spring. His elusive quickness and high lacrosse IQ make Hill impossible to contain around the net. Midfielder Kevin Smith is a do-it-all presence who excels on both ends of the field. Veteran goalie James Thomas posted a stout 65% save rate last year. With this senior trio setting the tone, the Eagles expect to challenge perennial powers BC High and Xaverian for the conference crown.
Meanwhile, the Prep girls also boast enviable senior leadership. Midfielder Abby Hill is one of the most dynamic players in the state, able to blow by defenders and finish from all angles. She tallied an absurd 130 points last season. Lockdown defender Julia Thomas leads a stingy back line. And goalie Sarah Smith provides a calming veteran presence in net. The Prep girls upset some top-ranked teams during last year’s 13-win campaign. Riding their senior star power, this group expects to take the next step into title contention this spring.
After long climbs back to relevance, lacrosse is thriving again at St. John’s Prep. The boys and girls programs believe they can achieve more milestones behind their battle-tested senior classes. Their veteran poise and unselfish team-first culture gives both Eagle squads a chance to put it all together against brutal conference schedules. Expect exciting seasons from Prep lacrosse as these tightknit groups leave their mark.
With the foundation now set, the future remains bright for St. John’s Prep lacrosse. Hungry young talent awaits in the wings to carry on their success.
Tennis Looks to Continue Historic Run
The dominance of the St. John’s Prep tennis program has been staggering. The Eagles have captured six straight conference titles and are eyeing another this spring behind a deep and talented roster.
Despite playing in the ultra-competitive Catholic Conference, Prep has separated from elite competition in recent years. They have not lost a league match since 2016. The Eagles are poised to continue that run of excellence despite needing to replace two graduated All-State performers.
Prep’s junior class provides hope that the team won’t skip a beat this spring. Jake Hill finished 15-3 playing mostly at second singles last year. His grinding consistency and mental toughness are assets in pressure situations. Tommy Smith posted a stellar debut season going 14-2 at third singles. His well-rounded all-court game is still developing rapidly. And the second doubles pairing of Kevin Jones and Mark Thomas went 16-1 together last year. Their chemistry and aggressive net play make them a force.
What makes Prep tennis so dominant is their depth. Sustained excellence over decades has built an enviable culture. Position battles are intense with so many talented players in the mix. Freshmen and sophomores emerge quickly as varsity contributors, believing championship expectations are the norm. Head coach John Hill has led the program for 30 years, providing stability and adapting his strategies over generations of players. This institutional knowledge is invaluable.
Quest for Lucky Seven
Winning six consecutive league titles in any sport is an incredible achievement. The Eagles are not satisfied yet as they target a seventh straight crown. Maintaining their championship standard in the brutal Catholic Conference gauntlet remains Prep’s primary motivation. While graduating two All-Staters is difficult, this proud program believes their culture and young talent will rise to the challenge once again. Smart money remains on the Eagles finding a way to continue their historic run this spring.
With experienced personnel setting the tone, don’t expect St. John’s Prep tennis to relinquish its conference throne any time soon. The rich tradition of dominance seems destined to continue.
Swim Team Has Sights Set on Conference Crown
As the new school year kicks off, excitement is building for fall sports at St. John’s Prep in Danvers, Massachusetts. The Eagles have high hopes across many teams, but none more so than the swim team. After a strong showing last season that saw them finish just shy of the conference title, the swim team has their sights set firmly on bringing home the crown this year.
Anchoring the Eagles this season will be senior captain Tom Williams. Williams had a breakout junior campaign, capturing the conference title in the 100 freestyle and placing top three in the 50 free. Known for his blazing speed, Williams thrives in the shorter distance events. He spent the offseason adding strength and working on his technique in hopes of qualifying for the state championships in both the 50 and 100 free. If the tireless work ethic he displayed this summer is any indication, Williams is poised for an even bigger senior season.
Providing depth for St. John’s in the distance events will be junior John Adams. Adams took fifth in the 500 free at the conference meet last season. Over the summer, he dedicated himself to honing his endurance through high mileage workouts. The early morning alarm didn’t deter Adams, who knows the distance events could be the key to securing those critical team points. His coaches have high praise for both his talent and commitment leading into the fall.
Of course, no swim team is complete without a standout breaststroker. St. John’s has a good one in sophomore Will Novak. As a freshman, Novak announced his arrival by taking third in the 100 breaststroke at the conference championships. His smooth stroke and powerful kick propelled him to a new school record in the event. After a year of seasoning and added strength training, Novak is prepared to cement himself as one of the best breaststrokers in the conference this season.
In addition to individual standouts, St. John’s also boasts impressive depth across the board. Juniors Chris Lee and Ryan Thompson lead a versatile group of freestyle sprinters and butterfly specialists capable of impacting any meet. A strong diving contingent led by senior Mark Howard will also be critical in securing points. And the team added several promising freshmen who could make an immediate impact in the sprint and mid-distance freestyle events.
Of course, individual talent can only take a team so far. What truly makes the Eagles optimistic about bringing home the conference crown is the bond they’ve built through years of training together. Williams, Adams, Novak and Howard have been teammates since middle school and share a special chemistry. The seniors, in particular, are highly motivated to close out their high school careers on top. That type of senior leadership often makes the difference come championship time.
The team is also buoyed by the leadership of head coach Stephanie Martinez. Coach Martinez took over the program three years ago and has instilled a culture of hard work and perseverance. Her practices focus not just on building physical skills but also strong team cohesion. She knows how critical team unity is for championship success. The swimmers have rallied around Coach Martinez’s leadership and are determined to deliver a conference title in her third season.
Of course, winning the conference won’t come easy. Defending champion Westford High lost significant talent to graduation but still boasts a deep roster. And Lexington High, which took second last season, also figures to be in the mix. To bring home that elusive conference crown, the Eagles will need standout swims from their top athletes and plenty of points throughout the lineup. It’s a tall task but one this tight-knit group believes they are up for.
The excitement around the St. John’s Prep swim team is palpable as the new season nears. After falling just short last year, they have the talent and dedication to get over the hump in pursuit of the conference title. Their relentless work ethic in the offseason has this group poised for a special year. If senior leadership from Williams, Adams and Howard can mesh with emerging young talent, there’s no reason this can’t be the year the Eagles finally ascend to the top of the conference. The pieces are in place for a championship chase – now it’s time to get wet and see how the season unfolds!
Track and Field Features Versatile Roster Across Events
In addition to a standout swim team, St. John’s Prep sports fans have another squad to get excited about this fall – the track and field team. Anchored by talent across the sprints, distance, jumps and throws, the Eagles track and field team boasts impressive versatility heading into the new season.
Leading the pack is senior sprinter Tayshawn Ward. Possessing raw speed that simply can’t be taught, Ward took second in the 100 meters and fourth in the 200 meters at last year’s conference championships. He spent the offseason focused on honing his technique and getting out of the blocks even faster. If Ward can put it all together, he has legitimate state title potential in the 100 this season. His electric speed will excite fans all season long.
Providing leadership and production for the Eagles in the distance events are senior teammates Luis Ortega and Ryan Stewart. Ortega is coming off a standout junior campaign that saw him capture the conference title in the 3200 meters. Not one to rest on his laurels, Ortega doubled down on his training over the summer to be in the best shape of his life. He has his sights set on qualifying for the prestigious State Open in the fall before gearing up for the 1600 and 3200 in outdoor track. Complementing Ortega is Stewart, a fierce competitor in the 800 meters. Though mid-distance isn’t his specialty, Stewart’s combination of speed and endurance makes him a consistent threat to put up points for the team. His veteran presence will provide stability all season long.
Field events are another area of strength for the Eagles, led by senior Matt Howard. A returning conference champion in the discus throw, Howard spent countless hours over the summer honing his technique to add distance. His improved mechanics combined with his hulking size and strength have Howard dreaming big entering his senior year. A state title is within reach for Howard if he can continue refining his spin and release. Providing a one-two punch in the throws is junior James Butler in the shot put. Butler took fourth in the conference last season but returned focused and driven after putting in major work in the weight room over offseason. The throws events could be an area of significant points for St. John’s Prep this fall.
Of course, a track and field team needs high jumpers, long jumpers and pole vaulters to be complete. St. John’s has talent across the board in those events as well. Junior Reggie Davis leads the high jump contingent after clearing 6’4″ last season. He focused his training on speed and flexibility with the goal of eclipsing the coveted 6’6″ mark this year. In the long jump, sophomore Trey Wellington burst onto the scene as a freshman with a second place conference finish. His combo of athleticism and intelligence has coaches excited for his development. And senior pole vaulter Tony Clark provides a steadying presence and veteran leadership in the technical event. These three are poised to rack up points for the Eagles all season long.
While individual standouts grab the headlines, it’s the depth and balance across events that truly makes coach James Bedford excited about this group’s potential. “We have the right pieces in place across the board to make a run at the conference title this fall,” said Bedford. “Our distance crew provides solid points every meet. The throwers are more explosive than ever. And the addition of promising freshmen in the jumps has us really optimistic.”
That incoming freshman class features the likes of sprinter Henry Owens and hurdler Darius Clark. Both possess raw talent and loads of potential if they can adjust quickly to the high school level. Their rapid development could be an x-factor in St. John’s Prep’s success.
Of course, talent alone won’t win championships. What coach Bedford loves most about this group is their commitment to team unity. “The seniors have really fostered an atmosphere of working together toward a common goal,” he said. “They know that their legacy will be defined by how the team performs.” That cohesion and chemistry will go a long way when the pressure ramps up at big invitationals and the conference meet.
After falling frustratingly short of a conference title the past few seasons, there’s a palpable sense of motivation surrounding this year’s St. John’s Prep track and field team. With talent across events and a strong team-first mentality, the Eagles finally appear poised to capture that elusive conference crown. It won’t come easy against talented rivals, but this group’s work ethic and camaraderie make them ready for the challenge. The state meet may be the ultimate goal, but first comes conference. And this versatile Eagles squad will have their sights set high all season long.