Sports 02-16-2016

The Patriot Way

Licata brings Revere flourish to St. Mary’s

By Cary Shuman

Paige Licata, a 2010 graduate of Revere High School where she was a three-sport captain, is the new head coach of the St. Mary’s High School softball team.

At 23, Licata becomes one of the youngest varsity head coaches in the state.  Licata has been an assistant of Revere High coach Joe Ciccarello’s staff for the past two seasons in which the Patriots have won back-to-back Northeastern Conference titles and advanced to the state semifinals. She is also an assistant field hockey coach at Revere High.

She is excited about the opportunity to take over the powerful St. Mary’s softball program.

“It’s a big honor to be awarded this position – it’s surreal at times,” said Licata. “The girls I played softball with at a young age in Revere – like Brianna Holmes and Vanessa LaFauci – they went to St. Mary’s and did immensely well. St. Mary’s has always been one of the best teams around and they’re known for their academic and elite athletics. I’m honored to be the head coach.”

Licata has been a softball player her whole life and has now made it her full-time, professional career as the current director of operations at Bay State Softball and owner of PAL Athletics, a company that provides softball instruction and consultation about the college admissions process for student-athletes.

Her introduction to sports began on the baseball and softball fields in the St. Mary’s Cal Ripken youth program. As a 12-year-old All-Star, her team advanced to the Nationals in Alabama under the leadership of head coach Scotty Giordano.

She earned the starting shortstop position as a freshman on the Revere High varsity softball team and played four seasons. Licata’s final year was hampered by a serious knee injury but she did receive the Silvio Cella Athlete of the Year Award in recognition of her stellar all-around career.

“Unfortunately I tore my ACL in the third game of my senior field hockey season,” said Licata, who captained the RHS field hockey, basketball, and softball teams. “I missed the entire basketball season in coach [Diana] Finn’s first year and played the final three games of the season in what was also coach [Joe] Ciccarello’s first year in Revere.”

Licata said her playing experience for Revere High set the foundation to her entry into the coaching profession and she’s grateful to her former RHS coaches.

“Coach Finn is one of my greatest mentors and I have learned so much from coach Ciccarello,” said Licata. “That’s what I love most about Revere. I’ve grown up here. I’ve played sports here. I’ve played for great coaches and they’ve molded me in to the player I was and the coach I want to be. It’s nice that coach Finn and coach Ciccarello are still there to advise me.”

In addition to her former coaches, Licata is also thankful for the support of her parents, Tom and Joanne Licata, and her brother, Ryan, 27, throughout her playing and coaching career.

“When I told my parents that I wanted to make softball the main part of my professional life, they were supportive and said, ‘you have to go for it and follow your dreams.’ “And with their support and encouragement, I’ve made that decision to pursue coaching as a career and I’m going to work hard at it.”

Though Licata is inheriting a strong team at St. Mary’s and has one of the state’s top pitchers in former Revere youth standout Mia Nowicki, She intends to bring “the Revere underdog mentality” to her coaching position.

“It’s not about our [St. Mary’s] reputation in the past – it’s about getting better each game and doing well in the future,” said Licata, who played softball at Assumption College. “That’s one thing that Revere has taught me to do for sure. I’m excited and eager to meet my new players and for the season to begin.”

Classical swims to win in Lynn City Meet

By Joyce Erekson

The Classical High swim team capped off a great season by winning the 48th annual Lynn City Swim Meet earlier this month at Lynn Tech.

The Rams picked up wins against both English and Tech to put their final record at 9-2 overall and 7-2 in the Northeastern Conference. The feat came on the heels of the Rams winning the Northeastern Conference boys meet a few days earlier. Classical finished the season in a three-way tie with Danvers and Beverly for the second place in the NEC. Marblehead took the title.

This year’s city swim meet was an emotional one for Classical coach Denise Silva because it marked the road for 15 seniors including her daughter, Briana.

“This was very tough,” Silva said, recalling how difficult it was to see her daughter player her final high school soccer game as well. “It was emotional.”

The city swim meet is a celebration of sorts for all three Lynn teams. It gives the swimmers an opportunity to go against long-time friends from the other Lynn schools with the ultimate goal being to bring home bragging rights for their respective school. The event always draws a big crowd and this year was no exception.

“The stands, as in seasons past, were jam packed,” Silva said. “The parents are there to support their children and there are always alumni from all three teams. It’s very competitive while we’re in the pool, but everyone’s cheering (for each other).”

There were plenty of strong performances all around. Classical diver Sarah Sirois, who finished sixth in the states last weekend, broke the pool record (which she already owned) with 278.10 points. The Rams’s Kevin Chasse won the 100 free (51.29) and the 50 free (23.21). Classical also won the 200 free relay with Simon Kazimiercyzk, Alex Pedro, Craig Mordaunt and Chasse (141.38) and the 400 free relay (3:59.39) with Eric Macorri, Carly Mendonca, Mordaunt and Harrison Seitz. Macorri won the 500 free (5:58.21).

English had some top-otch swims from Matt Bruno, who won the 200 free (2:06.12) and the 100 butterfly (1:01.31). Peter Phelan won the 200 individual medley (2:25.23) and the 100 breaststroke (1:16.74; Brandon Musaku, the 100 back (58.51),  and Uajda Musaku, Phelan, Bruno and Brandon Musaku, the 200 free (1:56.14).

Tech had solid performances from Nick Westin, who took second in the 500 free, and Francisco Fresco, who finished third in diving with 165.40 points.

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