Sports

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Sophia Togneri pitches to the Nashoba team with a final score of 2-0. | by Juliana Freeman

by Juliana Freeman

Girls softball defeated Nashoba, 2-0, on May 7. The softball team qualified for the postseason.

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The Hawks cheer as they run over to the bench after defeating Marlborough 12-11 in over time. | by Siobhan Richards

by Siobhan Richards

Girls Lacrosse beat crosstown rivals Marlborough in overtime on May 17.  The team was 7-7 with that win.

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Calvin Johnson has the baton in his hand and strides out to the finish line. | by Lily Clardy

by Lily Clardy

The boys track team defeated Gardner 96-46 on April 30.

 

by John Houle

Despite their best efforts, Hudson ultimately lost 3-2 to Quabbin on May 2. Check out our photos of the event below.

Hudson's Thomas Hydro swings and misses on a pitch early in the game. Though hitless at the plate, Hydro did enter the game in its later innings as one of five pitchers to take the mound for the Hawks. | by Dakota Antelman

by Dakota Antelman

Hudson baseball broke up what would have been a no-hitter with their first batter of the seventh inning but ultimately dropped a league matchup against Nashoba 7-0 on Monday.

On a difficult day for the Hawks, Senior Spencer Cullen mustered the team’s lone hit.

The Hawks next face Algonquin on Wednesday.

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Senior Michael Chaves hangs his head as he walks off the field after the Hawks fell to Marlborough 3-1. | by Siobhan Richards

by Siobhan Richards

Baseball fell 3-1 to crosstown rival Marlborough on April 28 under the lights. The team record is now 5-3.

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O'Connor (in green) sizes up an opponent during a fight. | Submitted photo

by Dakota Antelman

Senior Cam O’Connor’s sport of choice has him studying from a textbook steeped in sixteenth century blood.

In 1579, a German court hanged its author, aristocrat and sword fighting master Hector Mair, for embezzling the money to pay for its publication.

“The research is a very integral part of this because this sport is very well documented in certain cases [like in Mair’s book],” O’Conner said. “You can actually go online, and you can find plenty of books that are very similar to a sort of football playbook.”

O’Connor poses with his sword. | Submitted photo

Learning from Mair and others, O’Connor has spent the past three years rising within the sport of Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA). Though he has participated in more well-known sports like track and field and soccer in the past, this one blends scholarship with athleticism in a way few others do.

The fights involve all forms of martial arts, allowing opponents to manually strike each other while also allowing them to use their swords. The fights vaguely resemble those in shows like Game of Thrones and Lord of the Rings with one key difference — they’re extremely short, often lasting less than 30 seconds before one competitor pushes the other out of the ring or sustains enough strikes on their opponent.

On it scholarly side, HEMA leans heavily on primary sources written centuries ago. As one community, it studies those primary sources with the goal of understanding and preserving the advanced fighting styles of medieval European noblemen. As competitors, athletes like O’Connor then take those studies to tournaments where they battle using actual medieval style weapons.

“You can find all of these plays as documented by masters from their time,” O’Connor said, later adding. “So you kind of go through a process of both learning and fighting.”

O’Connor’s interest in medieval combat began while watching TV shows like Game of Thrones and movies like Lord of the Rings.

Inspired by the depictions of fights in those programs, O’Connor first considered fencing.

“I started to realize it wasn’t really for me though,” he said. “It wasn’t really the kind of full contact Game of Thrones-esque stuff I wanted.”

That led him to HEMA, a sport he discovered and quickly fell in love with when he visited a local club.

“Lo and behold, it was exactly what I wanted,” he said.

Balancing the rest of his life with fighting, O’Conner said he still sometimes spends up to four hours a day practicing either at his HEMA club in Acton or in his backyard.

From there, he travels from time to time to tournaments, where the true physicality of his sport, he said, becomes clear.

“[Starting out] I thought, you know, it’s not that bad,” O’Connor said. “But then I really experienced getting clocked in the head, and I realized that even though the fights don’t last that long, it does take a lot of physical endurance.”

O’Connor said he regularly returns from tournaments with welts or dark bruises from the blunt metal swords he and fellow fighters use in fights. He has also seen more gruesome injuries, recalling a friend who took such a hard hit to his arm that he suffered a deep cut even through the canvas suit fighters wear.

“It is fun, but you certainly do get injured,” he said.

Even at the tournaments though, O’Connor said HEMA’s historical focus is hard to miss.

He said Axel Peterson, a Swedish fighter O’Connor described as “the Tom Brady of the HEMA community,” is, at times, offputting to people who first meet him.

“But that,” he said, “[is because] he’ll be talking about something in a language that was used four hundred years ago. You’ll be sitting there thinking, ‘What is this guy saying?’”

As Peterson is more than a decade into his fighting career, O’Connor is still just three years into his.

Seeing a future for himself, however, in a sport where age rarely puts a limit on a fighter’s potential, O’Connor hopes to spend many more years studying and practicing the skills of aristocratic fighters like Hector Mair who, either by the noose or other means, died hundreds of years ago.

“I’m doing this for as long as I can,” he said. “It’s really kind of become a huge part of my personality and identity and means a lot to me, and I think it means a lot to everyone who does it.”

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by Dakota Antelman

Boys lacrosse left the field feeling frustrated Tuesday afternoon after watching Assabet come back in the second half to beat the Hawks 9-8.

The loss marked Hudson’s fourth straight to start the season, holding the Hawks in last place in the Mid-Wach C division.

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photo by Siobhan Richards

by John Houle

Student athletes in the spring have struggled to prepare for the season because of the limited gym space.

“The small size of the gym,” Winders said, “makes it hard to perform scrimmages, forcing practice to focus on conditioning.”

The track teams must focus on running and not the field events. The lacrosse teams are also negatively affected due to missing crucial aspects, such as the 50-yard line and the crevice.

The bad weather has led to the cancellation of the first scrimmages and games. While the scrimmages can be easily canceled, the games would carry long term consequences.

“We must play the scheduled games by the MIAA’s late May deadline,” Winders said, “so the games will need to be rescheduled, resulting in teams potentially playing 4-5 games a week.”

While the gym is disadvantageous for athletes, the gym does provide benefits in other areas.

“The access to the dance studio and the indoor track,” Winders said, “makes our gym bigger than the gyms from other schools.”

The limited space available inside the gym results in athletes ultimately having late practices. The times are based on two factors: the number of kids a team has and the age of the athletes.

“Baseball has the latest practice,” Winders said, “because it has the biggest number of kids, requiring the use of the whole gym.”

“I make sure the 8th and 9th graders go early,” Winders said, “as they are unable to drive, making transportation more difficult.”

Fortunately, a solution to the limited gym space is possible but not for several years.

“A turf field will allow athletes more opportunities to practice outside,” Winders said, “but there are multiple conditions that must be met, delaying the field for 5 to 10 years.”

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by John Houle

Maddie Haufe is this year’s varsity softball captain. Softball will be starting its season playing against Shepherd Hill at home on April 11.

How long have you been playing softball?

I started by playing T-Ball, or girl’s baseball, before switching to softball in 6th grade. I’ve been on the high school softball team for 4 years, starting with freshman year, but this is my first year as captain.

What are the strengths of the softball team?

The team gives 110% to practices. The players are also dedicated to the team, creating a good mentality I want the team to keep. The team’s dedication also makes the team a family, creating a strong team bond.

What are ways the team can improve over the season?

While the team does have a good mentality, the team needs heart. The older players will also need to help younger players with skills as it’s overwhelming to play on the high school level in comparison to the middle school level.  

How do the coaches help the team succeed?

I believe the coaches are amazing and are among the best coaches I ever had. I came to this conclusion as the improvements the coaches offer only help improve my skills and make me the best player I can be.

What are some issues the team will be struggling with this year?

Several members of the team had to change their positions, creating a learning experience for the team. I changed positions from the 1st base to the 3rd base, resulting in me changing sides. However, we will be practicing to get the best results possible.

What are your goals for this season?

Last year, I felt that the team didn’t do as good as it should have because it needed dedication. While the team is young overall, I do believe that the team is strong and does have what it takes to make playoffs and do well this season.