Winter 2023-24 Players of the Season

Coe-Brown Northwood Academy’s Chris Raymond competes at the NHIAA Division II swimming championship at the University of New Hampshire’s Swasey Pool on Feb. 10. Raymond won both the 100- and 200-yard freestyle titles.

Coe-Brown Northwood Academy’s Chris Raymond competes at the NHIAA Division II swimming championship at the University of New Hampshire’s Swasey Pool on Feb. 10. Raymond won both the 100- and 200-yard freestyle titles. Courtesy

Lucas Golden (third from right) stands with Concord High School Alpine teammates, and head coach and father George Golden (far left) at Crotched Mountain after sweeping the giant slalom and slalom titles at the Division I boys’ Alpine skiing championships on Feb. 16.

Lucas Golden (third from right) stands with Concord High School Alpine teammates, and head coach and father George Golden (far left) at Crotched Mountain after sweeping the giant slalom and slalom titles at the Division I boys’ Alpine skiing championships on Feb. 16. JOSHUA SPAULDING / Salmon Press

Belmont’s Ella Stevens competes in the giant slalom at the NHIAA Division III Alpine ski championships at Gunstock on Feb. 14. Stevens, a freshman, was crowned the individual champion in both the giant slalom and slalom.

Belmont’s Ella Stevens competes in the giant slalom at the NHIAA Division III Alpine ski championships at Gunstock on Feb. 14. Stevens, a freshman, was crowned the individual champion in both the giant slalom and slalom. JOSHUA SPAULDING / Salmon Press

Bow senior Adler Moura celebrates after winning the 113-pound title at the Division III state wrestling championships on Feb. 17.

Bow senior Adler Moura celebrates after winning the 113-pound title at the Division III state wrestling championships on Feb. 17. CHIP GRIFFIN / Photos by Chip

Concord’s Tyler Watt competes in the freestyle race at the NHIAA Division I Nordic skiing championships at Oak Hill in Hanover on March 6. Watt won the freestyle race and finished second in the classic to lead the Concord boys’ team to back-to-back titles.

Concord’s Tyler Watt competes in the freestyle race at the NHIAA Division I Nordic skiing championships at Oak Hill in Hanover on March 6. Watt won the freestyle race and finished second in the classic to lead the Concord boys’ team to back-to-back titles. JOSHUA SPAULDING / Salmon Press

Concord’s Frances Lesser rounds a corner in the girls’ freestyle race at the NHIAA Division I Nordic skiing championships in Hanover on March 6.

Concord’s Frances Lesser rounds a corner in the girls’ freestyle race at the NHIAA Division I Nordic skiing championships in Hanover on March 6. JOSHUA SPAULDING / Salmon Press

Coe-Brown’s Jamie Lano pumps his fist in celebration as he crosses the line to win the 1,500-meter title at the NHIAA Division II indoor track & field championships on Feb. 11 at Plymouth State. Lano also won the 3,000 and finished second in the 1,000 to lead Coe-Brown to back-to-back team titles.

Coe-Brown’s Jamie Lano pumps his fist in celebration as he crosses the line to win the 1,500-meter title at the NHIAA Division II indoor track & field championships on Feb. 11 at Plymouth State. Lano also won the 3,000 and finished second in the 1,000 to lead Coe-Brown to back-to-back team titles. JAY SMITH / NHXCTF

Concord’s Ella Goulas clears the high jump bar at the NHIAA Division I indoor track and field championship on Feb. 11 at Plymouth State. Goulas won the high jump title by clearing 5-4.

Concord’s Ella Goulas clears the high jump bar at the NHIAA Division I indoor track and field championship on Feb. 11 at Plymouth State. Goulas won the high jump title by clearing 5-4. JAY SMITH / NHXCTF

CHIP GRIFFIN / Photos By Chip

CHIP GRIFFIN / Photos By Chip

Dawson Fancher tries to control the puck for Concord in the Division I quarterfinal against Exeter. The senior captain totaled 12 goals and 18 assists on the season.

Dawson Fancher tries to control the puck for Concord in the Division I quarterfinal against Exeter. The senior captain totaled 12 goals and 18 assists on the season. CHIP GRIFFIN / Photos By Chip

CHIP GRIFFIN / Photos By Chip

CHIP GRIFFIN / Photos By Chip

Kacey Yorston was a rock in goal for Bishop Brady-Trinity-Londonderry girls’ hockey, posting a 2.15 goals-against average and helping guide the team to the playoffs.

Kacey Yorston was a rock in goal for Bishop Brady-Trinity-Londonderry girls’ hockey, posting a 2.15 goals-against average and helping guide the team to the playoffs. CHIP GRIFFIN / Photos By Chip

Concord’s Lily Peterson gets set in the blocks before competing in the 100-yard breaststroke at the NHIAA Division I championship at the University of New Hampshire’s Swasey Pool on Feb. 10. Peterson finished second in the event.

Concord’s Lily Peterson gets set in the blocks before competing in the 100-yard breaststroke at the NHIAA Division I championship at the University of New Hampshire’s Swasey Pool on Feb. 10. Peterson finished second in the event. Courtesy

By ERIC RYNSTON-LOBEL and DAN ATTORRI

Monitor staff

Published: 03-14-2024 2:58 PM

Modified: 03-14-2024 3:21 PM


With last Sunday’s Division II girls’ basketball championship wrapping up the winter sports season for area teams, the Monitor would like to highlight top athletes from the Concord region.

It was another strong season for area programs. In boys’ basketball, Pembroke and Coe-Brown both reached the Division II semifinals, and Kearsarge reached the semifinals in Division III.

Girls’ basketball saw three area teams in D-II (Concord Christian, Pembroke, John Stark) reach the final four and two (CCA and Pembroke) advance to the championship game that CCA won. In D-III, Hopkinton and Kearsarge faced off for the title, with the Cougars emerging on top.

Boys’ hockey saw Pembroke-Campbell reach its first championship game in program history in D-III, where it came up short against Berlin-Gorham, while Concord suffered a surprising loss in its D-I quarterfinal against Exeter.

In wrestling, Bow took home the Division III state championship, while Concord saw success in swimming and skiing.

Here are the Monitor’s players of the season for winter 2023-24:

Boys’ basketball: Joe Fitzgerald, Pembroke Academy

Few players stood out on their teams as much as Fitzgerald did for the Spartans this season. On a team that finished the regular season 16-2 and reached the D-II semifinals, Fitzgerald led Pembroke in scoring, averaging 25.8 points per game. He also averaged 5.8 rebounds, 3.3 assists and shot 82% from the free-throw line.

He scored his 1,000th career point on Feb. 9 in a 77-45 win over Kennett and finished his career with 1,141 points. He will continue his basketball career next year at Bridgton Academy in Maine.

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“He is the ultimate athlete any coach would want to play for them,” Pembroke head coach Mike Donnell said. “Joe gave us everything he had starting day one in practice and never wavered. Joe didn’t think practice was enough and spent hours each week perfecting his craft and love for basketball.

“The thing I will remember most about Joe and his leadership and caring of his teammates was after our loss to Hanover (in the semifinals), where he apologized to his teammates for not having his best game and took responsibility for it. Without (him), we would never have been there.”

Girls’ basketball: Annelise Dexter, Pembroke Academy

The focal point of Pembroke’s success all season, Dexter turned in a phenomenal senior campaign. She averaged 24.5 points, eight rebounds, four assists and three steals per game as the Spartans finished the season 18-4 and were the D-II runners-up.

She reached the 1,000-point milestone against John Stark in late December and finished her career as the fifth-highest scorer in Pembroke basketball history, boys or girls. She also had four games scoring more than 30 points this season, including a 38-point effort against Milford on Feb. 16, and was named the Division II Player of the Year by the New Hampshire Basketball Coaches Organization.

Dexter will continue her basketball career next year at the University of Rochester in New York, where the Yellowjackets compete at the Division III level in the NCAA.

“Annelise is a very driven person,” Pembroke head coach Steve Langevin said. “Every offseason, she has worked on adding more and more to her game. She has goals and is not afraid to put in the time and effort to try to attain them.

“It has been a pleasure watching her mature as a player but even more so as a person, especially this season. I’m so happy she was able to attain her personal goals and also her team goal of putting a banner on the wall.”

Boys’ hockey: Dawson Fancher, Concord High School

Although his career ended with a devastating overtime loss to Exeter in the quarterfinals of the D-I playoffs, it was still a strong senior year for the Concord captain.

Fancher totaled 30 points (12 goals, 18 assists) in 21 games, helping to fill the Tide’s void on offense this season.

In the playoff matchup with Exeter, Fancher scored off a rebound to give Concord an early 1-0 lead. It was the last of the 33 goals he scored wearing the Crimson Tide uniform. He wrapped up his career with 45 assists and 78 total points, roughly one-third of which came this season.

“Dawson was such a consistent player for us,” Concord head coach Dunc Walsh said. “He gave us the same effort every game. (He was) a huge contributor for us (and) a quiet leader that led by example.”

Girls’ hockey: Kacey Yorston, Bp. Brady-Trinity-Londonderry

When you only have two defensemen and 10 skaters on your roster, you can expect your goaltender to be very busy over the course of a season. That was the case for Bishop Brady junior Kacey Yorston on most nights, and for her efforts, Yorston is the Monitor Girls’ Hockey Player of the Season.

Yorston backstopped BTL to a 9-10-0 record and a spot in the playoffs. She stopped 349 of 382 shots she faced in those 19 games with a goals against average of 2.15 goals per game and a .914 save percentage. Yorston had five shutouts and allowed just one goal in three other games.

“Kacey is one of the best, if not the best, goaltender in the league,” BTL head coach Dan Earley said. Yorston backed that statement up by making 30 or more saves in six of the games BTL played this season.

Wrestling: Adler Moura, Bow High School

In a banner season for Bow wrestling, Moura led the way. As the team took home the D-III state championship on Feb. 17, Moura won the 113-pound title and was also named D-III’s Outstanding Wrestler. The following week, he once again placed first in the 113-pound bracket at the state Meet of Champions after finishing as the runner up over the previous two seasons.

When Bow wrestling coach Bill Chavanelle took over the program before last season, the Falcons had just seven wrestlers; this year, they had 28, and Moura played a major role in helping bring new wrestlers on board.

“Adler took his game to a new level this season. He was focused and set on his goals from the moment the season started all the way until the end,” Chavanelle said. “He had a lot of pressure and expectations on him from the start of the season and, from my point of view, he absolutely shattered all the expectations that everyone placed on him.

“As a coach, I’m just fortunate to have been in his corner the last two years. … He helped will this program back to where it once was, and that was one of his goals before his time was up at Bow High School. Adler Moura will be a kid I talk about in high regard for the remainder of my coaching career.”

Boys’ swimming: Chris Raymond, Coe-Brown Northwood Academy

You would think a team with just four athletes would struggle to score well in team competitions. That wasn’t the case with this year’s Coe-Brown swim team. Senior Chris Raymond won both the 100-yard freestyle (50.57 seconds) and 200 freestyle (1:49.79) titles to lead the Bears to third place in D-II.

That brings Raymond’s total of individual state championships to five out of six individual races he has competed in at states over the past three years.

Raymond had plenty of support from his brothers, freshman Tucker (100 butterfly and 500 freestyle champion) and sophomore Shea (fourth 50 freestyle, seventh 100 freestyle). The Raymonds’ mother, Karyn, was the team’s head coach.

Freshman Braydan Behr joined the Raymond brothers on the second-place 400 freestyle and fourth-place 200 medley relays.

“It was really exciting to see all the hard work pay off,” said Karyn Raymond. “I was really proud of each of the boys for all the effort they put into this season.”

Girls’ swimming: Lily Peterson, Concord High School

Peterson has been the cornerstone of the Concord High swim program for her entire career and was the Tide’s only competitor at this year’s D-I championship. Peterson made the most of that opportunity, finishing as the D-I runner-up in the 100 breaststroke and sixth in the 200 freestyle.

“Lily had a great meet,” Concord head coach Bill Quinn said. “She dropped time in both events. It was a great way to cap her high school career. Lily qualified and scored in two individual events in each of her four years in high school. All she could do was swim her best today, and that is what she did.”

Boys’ Alpine: Lucas Golden, Concord High School

Consistency was hard to find on the blustery day of the D-I boys’ Alpine skiing championships at Crotched Mountain, but Golden, a freshman, put together four solid runs to win both the D-I giant slalom and slalom titles.

His combined times in the GS (1:12.31) and slalom (1:11.40) topped competitive fields and led Concord to fourth place in the division.

“Pretty amazing as a freshman to win (both disciplines),” said Concord head coach George Golden, who is also Lucas’ father. “He skied four unbelievable runs; I’m really proud of him. They were two challenging courses that they set today and you really had to be on.”

Golden went on to finish seventh in the slalom and eighth in the GS at the Meet of Champions against the top competitors from all four NHIAA divisions.

Girls’ Alpine: Ella Stevens, Belmont High School

Stevens is only a freshman, but she made a huge impression on the Division III skiing community, winning both the slalom (1:13.56) and giant slalom (1:18.17) titles at Gunstock as Belmont finished sixth as a team.

Stevens held off a deep field that included several talented Hopkinton skiers, namely Marcella Guadagno, who finished as the runner-up in both events. Stevens also finished seventh in the GS and 12th in the slalom at the Meet of Champions, the fastest Capital Area competitor in both disciplines.

“Ella has been consistently fast throughout the season, and it was great to see it pay off today at the state championships,” Belmont head coach Kevin Charleston said. “Ella is a team player, and watching her celebrate with her teammates was awesome. She needed to ski aggressively and take chances, as Marcella was right on her heels all day long. Both girls performed great today.”

Boys’ Nordic: Tyler Watt, Concord High School

A former CHS athlete, graduate and current head coach of the Nordic ski team, Erin Waters has competed with and coached alongside many talented skiers. Watt may be the best of them all.

Watt led the Crimson Tide to the Division I team title for the second year in a row, winning the D-I freestyle championship, clocking 10:21.0 on the 3.8K course, and finishing second in the classic in 11:01.5 (he swept the individual races last year) and sweeping both disciplines in the N.H. Nordic Coaches Series competition this year against skiers from both NHIAA divisions and private schools.

“Tyler is certainly, in my memory of Concord High skiing, the best athlete we’ve ever had,” Waters said. “Probably one of the best in New England, certainly. He’s a phenomenal athlete.”

Watt has competed on a regional and national level, representing New Hampshire at Easterns in past seasons and competing at Junior Nationals in each of the past two years, but the senior has always made his time in a Crimson Tide uniform a priority.

“He’s been a phenomenal skier, teammate and captain for those (four) years,” Waters said. “This felt like a culmination of all that. He’s done things on a larger stage out of state. He cares a lot about high school skiing, he cares a lot about this team and gives it his all.”

Girls’ Nordic: Frances Lesser, Concord High School

Lesser has always been a strong skier and key contributor to the Tide’s Nordic ski program, but she took her success to another level this year. A junior, she won the D-I classic race (3.8K time of 13:54.5, 51 seconds faster than the runner-up) and finished third in the freestyle to lead the Tide girls to the runner-up spot at the D-I championships.

“(Lesser) found a whole new gear today,” Waters said at the championships. “We’ve been waiting for it to come out all season and it came out today. The conditions today served her well. She’s super strong and has a ton of endurance.”

The interval-start format of the championship races, as opposed to the typical mass start that you see in races in most other sports, meant that individual places couldn’t be determined until all skiers had completed the course. But Lesser skied with so much strength and confidence, Waters knew she was watching something special.

“Just watching her ski, even without seeing the results, it felt like she had won,” Waters said.

Boys’ indoor track: Jamie Lano, Coe-Brown Northwood Academy

If the Bears were going to defend their D-II crown, the Coe-Brown track team would need its top athletes to step up, and that’s exactly what Lano did. Lano, a senior, won the 3,000-meter (8:48.38) and the 1,500 (4:09.79) titles, finished second in the 1,000 and ran the anchor leg of the fourth-place 4x400-meter relay to secure back-to-back championships for the Bears at Plymouth State University.

Lano was responsible for 29 of Coe-Brown’s 54 points in the championship effort.

“We knew going into the 3,000 that it was a race he could control, more than the other two races,” Coe-Brown head coach Dave Zink said. “He was very comfortable in that 3,000. The recovery between the 3,000 and 1,000 wasn’t really in question. It was between the 1,000 and the 1,500 that was the question mark about how he could recover from that. But he knew the team rested on his shoulders. … He brought his ‘A’ game.”

The only individual race that Lano didn’t win was a photo finish, losing by just .09 seconds to Hanover’s Lucian Gleiser (2:27.62). Both runners crushed the previous D-II record of 2:32.40.

Lano, who was ranked as high as third in the nation in the 1,000, finished fourth in New Englands in that event.

Girls’ indoor track: Ella Goulas, Concord High School

Goulas won the high jump title at the D-I championships clearing 5-4 and was responsible for half of Concord’s points in its seventh-place finish to earn the Monitor’s selection for the best girls’ track and field athlete in the Capital area.

She was consistently the top scorer for the Crimson Tide throughout the regular season, entering the championship meet as the top seed in the high jump (with a season-best height of 5-5) and a No. 6 seed in the long jump.

Goulas cleared 5-3 at New England’s to finish 10th, the top finish by a New Hampshire athlete in the event.

“Ella only started high jumping last winter, so her ability to get this, this fast, is pretty rare,” Concord head coach Hayden Daly said. “She has a great mindset for jumping. If she misses a height, she has the mindset to forget about that mistake and focus on fixing it. It will be exciting to see what happens this spring when she gets a chance to jump several times a week.”