As usual, I hope this blog post finds everyone doing well, staying safe, and thinking optimistically.
Before we get to some news and links, I just wanted to pass along a friendly reminder that Election Day is five days away so please make an effort to vote. No matter who you support, your voice matters, and you can visit Vote.org to learn more about how and where to vote.
Alright, let’s get to some news and links, beginning with Major League Baseball (MLB) which is currently investigating – well, more trying to understand exactly why Justin Turner of the Los Angeles Dodgers ‘refused to comply‘ with league officials during his team’s championship celebration on Tuesday evening.
As for Turner’s teammates (and coaches), they returned safely to the City of Angles yesterday after testing negative for the coronavirus. And hopefully Turner (and his wife) will return to California soon – safely, of course! – but for now, he and his teammates, along with the organization remain “under fire” for their World Series celebration.
The Dodgers are currently the favorites heading into the 2021 season, according to a ‘way too early‘ power rankings from ESPN, while our hometown Boston Red Sox were picked 19th (ouch!). Yes, the Red Sox were not great this summer and fall, but hopefully things change for the better next season (fingers crossed!).
Coast Guard Academy senior Packy Witkowski, who is from Melrose, Massachusetts, averaged a career-best 17.7 points this past season with the Bears. (PHOTO COURTESY: Coast Guard Academy Athletics)
Packy Witkowski has always been a player to watch on the Coast Guard Academy men’s basketball team, but perhaps this was a season both he and fans of the program will remember the most.
The Melrose, Massachusetts native, who played high school basketball at Avon Old Farms in Connecticut, averaged a career-best 17.7 points per game. He scored a career-high 477 points in 27 contests to go with 120 rebounds, 34 assists, 20 steals, and five blocks.
Witkowski registered 20 points or more in nine games this past winter while sinking a season-best 33 points on 12 of 21 shooting in his team’s 80-69 win over Merchant Marine Academy. He scored 10 points or more in 21 contests while averaging 17.6 points for the Bears in three New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Tournament games.
The senior guard concludes an impressive four-year run with the Bears, which saw him record 1,518 points in 93 games to go with 502 rebounds, 150 assists, 61 steals, and 15 blocks.
We recently spoke with Witkowski to discuss his final season with the Bears, as well as his future plans with the Coast Guard beyond graduation.
What will you remember most about your senior year with the Bears?
It’s hard to narrow down to a single event from this past season, but I would say our team’s journey is what I will remember the most.
From starting out in Anchorage, Alaska to finishing in Brockport, New York, it was a journey made by a group of brothers. We did not start well but we kept at it. By the end, we were operating on all cylinders when we needed it most and founds a way through. This culminated in winning three road playoff games in five days to become NEWMACTournament Champions to earning an automatic bid into the NCAA D-III Tournament.
The journey was special and an experience I will take with me for the rest of my life.
Looking back on the 2019-20 season, what game (or games) will you remember most? Why these particular games?
Our NEWMAC Championship game against WPI. To be down 24 points at the break and comeback and win was nothing short of incredible. I am very grateful to have been part of a win like that, but more importantly, on a team that was so resilient. It is difficult to put that one game into words but that is a memory that will bond us forever.
What have you enjoyed most about competing for the Coast Guard Academy men’s basketball team (and program) these past four years?
Being able to compete (on a daily basis), but really just being a part of this team for four years. Having that competitive outlet and support network from the team and coaching staff has made my experience here at the Coast Guard Academy that much more rewarding and worthwhile. Having the privilege to go to the Academy and represent it while playing a sport that I love has truly been amazing. I will always be grateful for the opportunity I have been afforded and the experiences I have had during my time both here at the Academy and on this team.
Once you officially graduate later this spring, do you plan (or hope) to stay involved with your sport in some capacity? Any interest in coaching in the future?
I will always love this game and do what I can to keep up with the team going forward. I can see myself getting involved in coaching to some degree down the road because I am passionate about helping and developing others. Coaching would allow me to continue that passion after graduation.
Tell me about your major. How did you choose it? Also, what are your future plans beyond graduation?
I am finishing up my degree in civil engineering. I have always wanted to have a technical background that would allow me to develop real-world problem-solving skills and that is exactly what this major has provided me.
I believe studying civil engineering has set me up for future success, beginning as an officer with the Coast Guard. School has always been something that has meant a lot to me and I have worked really hard to be successful at it while balancing both my military and basketball commitments.
I will be serving aboard USCGC Reliance as a Deck Watch Officer in June and am very excited to begin my career with the Coast Guard. Beyond that, I am working towards making my dream of being a Coast Guard aviator come true, as well.
It’s Thursday – it is also the second day of April, which is somewhat exciting, right?
Sadly, today will be an indoor day due to the rain, but we must ALL stay indoors as much as possible to continue to stop the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
Let’s brighten the day (and everyone’s mood) with a brand new ‘Daily Noontime’ – have a wonderful day, everyone!
Noontime’s Headlines for Thursday, April 2nd, 2020
Earlier this week, we learned the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) is planning to have a spring season, pending schools re-open on Monday, May 4th. Additionally, it was confirmed that the New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association (NHIAA) hopes to have a spring season, too – their start date, according to the Union Leader is Wednesday, May 13th.
1931: JackieMitchell, a 17-year old girl, struck out Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig in an exhibition baseball contest at Engel Stadium in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
1984: John Thompson leads Georgetown University to an 84-75 win over Houston in the NCAA Championship game. Thompson becomes the first African-American coach to win a collegiate championship.
2001: New York Yankees pitcher (and former Boston Red Sox hurler, too) Roger Clemens becomes the American League, all-time strikeout leader, recording his 3,509th strikeout in a 7-3 win over the Kansas City Royals.
Similar to Massachusetts, the Rhode Island Interscholastic League (RIIL) is hopeful they can still provide their student-athletes with “something in May” when schools are scheduled to re-open in the Ocean State.
It’s Monday, which means its time for a brand new week. Are you ready?
As usual, we’re here to put a smile on your face and take some time away from news of the coronavirus (COVID-19), which is exactly what we will start doing … now!
Today’s Weather in Boston (and the Greater Boston Area): After a nice weekend with some sun and wind, it will be a bit cooler today – look for temperatures hovering between 34 and 38 degrees. It will be overcast for the majority of the day – maybe we’ll see the sun for a few minutes? – but then a wintry mix arrives later this afternoon, which will turn to rain for most of us this evening.
Luckily, tomorrow will be warmer and include the sun, but there seems to be a lot of rain in the forecast this week, which means we should all just stay indoors (and be safe, of course!).
The Noontime Headlines for Monday, March 23rd, 2020
Looking for things to do while staying indoors and hunkering down to protect yourself from COVID-19? Then check out this list of “Things to do” from Boston.com.
We started our first theme week here at Noontime Sports (and NoontimeSports.com) yesterday – we are producing content on Boston and New England sports teams from the past decade. And we began with our All-Decade Boston Bruins team.
On This Date in History
1948: Kansas topped Baylor in the 10th NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship to claim the program’s first-ever national title.
1957: North Carolina beat Kansas, 54-53, in triple-overtime in the 19th NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship. Wilt Chamberlain, who played for Kansas, became the fourth player to be named the tournament’s most valuable player despite not being on the championship squad.
1963: Loyola-Chicago beats Cincinnati, 60-58, in overtime in the 25th NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship, providing the Ramblers with their initial title in their first-ever finals appearance.
1994: Wayne Gretzky sets the NHL record with 802 goals scored.