VIEW FROM THE SIDELINES
Text and photos by Steev Riccardo
WEBSTER – Never could I have imagined that moving back to my hometown and writing for The Patriot could have been as rewarding as it has been the last couple years, and it has been this column that has been the best part of this journey.
Covering high school sports and getting to know the kids and their parents and the coaches has been an amazing experience for me, one I will never forget. That is why I will continue to write this column as a blog on line and continue to show my support to high school sports.
Before I thank some people that have helped me immensely with my job, there is one more bit of business to take care and that is paying tribute to the View from the Sidelines 2012-13 Athlete of the Year, Oxford High School senior Emily “The Sweet Assassin” Dawidczyk.
People have asked me where the nickname “The Sweet Assassin” came from. Well, this is how it is. During my first meeting and interview with Emily, I stopped midway through and said to her “you are sweet, but on the soccer field and on the track you are like an assassin. She laughed and I asked her if I could use it and “The Sweet Assassin” moniker was born and the rest is history.
It’s been a long time since this area has seen an athlete the likes of Dawidczyk. She has worked hard and dedicated herself to being the very best and that’s exactly what she has become. Young athletes should and do look at her as a role model for how hard she has worked to craft her art.
On the soccer field, she dominated this past season. Her 32 goals and 36 points were the best in Central Mass. Her performance against Shepherd Hill, one of the stingiest defenses around, in which she scored all six of the Pirates’ goals in a 6-6 tie, was easily the best performance of the fall, maybe even the entire high school sports year.
Dawidczyk was so good on the soccer field that colleges lined up to get her to play soccer for them even though everyone knew there was a very good chance that she would go to a D1 school to run track. In the end, however, she selected Sacred Heart University in Fairfield Conn., shunning off big schools all over the country to major in Nursing and be close to home.
The choice to play college soccer did not stop her from continuing her brilliant track career and in the fall she did something she hadn’t done when she put her name in the permanent state record books, winning the state championship in both the 55-meter hurdles and the long jump. Not only did she win the titles, but she also put Oxford High School on the map.
Now in the midst of her final season in outdoor track and with the SWCL championships and the post season in sight, she has plans to win more titles.
“I think I want to win now even more because it’s my last time so I think it’s definitely more motivation, even having injuries is pushing me to go through it because it’s the last time I am going to do it,” said Dawidczyk rather poetically.
“I have had an awesome career and it’s more than I ever could have asked for so just topping it off the right way and ending on a high note would mean a lot to me.”
“The Sweet Assassin” will be looking to do something that she has yet to do, which is win the state title in the 110-meter hurdles and the 200 meters outdoors as well as take the outdoor long jump crown.
It’s also likely that she will return to the New England tournament, where she finished second in the 200 meters and third in the hurdles a year ago.
One of her coaches, Tim Craig, said that “she is definitely the consummate competitor, she is always looking to do her best whether it’s against herself or against her opponent: the stronger the opponent the more she steps it up. Special athletes like Emily come along only once in a coaching career.”
Craig also said that he hopes to see Dawidczyk win the states and “go out as a state champion.”
Uxbridge’s Emily Cahill, who has been competing with Dawidczyk on both the soccer field and in track also sang also her praises, “She is one of the best competitors that I have ever competed against, she is actually a good friend now because we are the same age and we do most of the same events so we have grown close and we push each other. We make each other better.”
“This past indoor season we both won state championships at Reggie Lewis and she was the first person to congratulate me and hug me when I won and I was the first to hug and congratulate her when she won,” said Cahill. “It’s great to have someone there. We always say we have to represent SWCL from the little towns of Uxbridge and Oxford. It’s nice to have someone at that level who you can look to for advice and celebrate with.”
“I was a little bit surprised that she chose Soccer over Track but I played against her in Soccer all four years and I know how good she is, she is so fast and she has that goal scoring attitude and I knew she could have gone either or,” said Cahill who is also going D1 and will attend the University Of Pennsylvania in the fall.
On finishing up her high school career Dawidczyk said, “It’s so bittersweet because I remember my freshman year and when I first got into track I couldn’t have predicted this in a million years.”
No one could have then, but now that we know what Emily Dawidczyk can do, we know she will have a great soccer career at Sacred Heart and it wouldn’t be a great shock if she ended up on a track team down the road as well, breaking more records.
The End of Patriot Print as we know it… I just want to take this opportunity to thank Patriot editor Barbara Van Reed and assistant editor Sally Patterson for giving me the opportunity to write for this paper the last couple years and to also have the freedom to do my own thing. Without them it would have been impossible for me to do the job I have done. The same goes for Carol, Laura, and everyone else at the paper that has been very supportive since day one.
I also want to thank all the coaches, officials, and student athletes at the local high schools for making job easier with extra special thanks to Dane Laboissonniere, Don Cushing, Kevin Wells,Sean Halloran, Justin Richards, Mike Adams, John Doldoorian, Tim Craig, Andrew Martin, Dung Nguyen, Jamie Hetherman, Rene Langevin, Tony Paranto, Ryan Renauld, Chris Delvecchio, Colleen Nasis, Chris Nasis,Chris Lindstrom, Ryan Dugan, Jim Hackenson, Sean Burke, Paul Enman, Sarah Garneau, Nicole “The Franchise” Mangaudis, Lindsay Bond, Rocco DiStefano, Emily Dawidczyk, Taylor Daniels, Phil Alston, Alan Brackett, Meghan Dunn, Adam Darling, Deanna Truhanovitch, Jackie Finkel, Kevin Loney, Aidan Kearney, Len Harmon, Nicole Fossas, Katie Wilson, Paul Lango, Gino Manzi, Dave Marrier, John Zablocki, Jon Way, Greg Belevance, and Tom Caffelle.
Most of all, thank you to the people who have read and supported this column for the last two years, especially to my Mom and Dad and the rest of my family.
To follow View From The Sidelines online, please check out the new blog here: http://viewswclsidelines.blogspot.com/