Members of the Boston English/New Mission co-op football team were participating in one of their now-regular virtual meetings when a pair of uninvited guests joined the Zoom call.
But after recognizing the two fellow football players, the Eagles decided to let them stick around.
New England Patriots defensive backs/brothers Devin and Jason McCourty were the latest participants in Bleacher Report’s “The Drop In” series, in which professional athletes surprise high school teams during virtual meetings. Boston English coach Ryan Conway said that Bleacher Report reached out to a member of his staff to gauge their interest in organizing the call in late May.
“It was business as usual for the kids,” Conway said. “The coaching staff knew about the time when they were going to come on, and it was like, ‘Wait a minute, who just came in?‘
After talking to recent graduate Ainsley Pena about being the only girl on the team and quizzing rising senior RJ Santos, who claimed to be the biggest Patriots fan among the Eagles, about the team’s history, the McCourty twins shared their own experience with recruiting, playing in college, and the NFL.
“[Bill Belichick] would always tell us, ‘What are we going to do to get an edge? Each week we play a team, what are we going to do to get an edge to out-prepare them. That’s up to us, that’s in our control,' “ said Devin McCourty. “So for you guys, seniors that want to go out and play their last great season, sophomores and juniors that want to show I’m here now, this is the time to get a leg ahead, to put in work. Each day, pick something to do that you’re uncomfortable, that you don’t like doing.”
The pair also shared their advice for combating racial injustice.
“There’s a lot of African Americans on this call and you see what is going on in society right now,” Jason McCourty said. “There’s going to be things that are going to come up that you’re going to have to make good decisions on and also place yourself around good people.”
Conway was eager to give up his position for the day since it meant letting the McCourtys take the reigns, and said he was especially grateful for the pair, who took time out of their day to give back to their community.
“Everything that’s going on, with COVID and them being out of school, that was a great pick-me-up,” Conway said. “The McCourty twins and their messaging to our kids, that was something I was very grateful for. It helped keep the kids focused and engaged during these trying times.”
Another D1 recruit for Brooks
Tyler Whitney-Sydney became the second Brooks School player in as many weeks to commit to a Division 1 basketball program, announcing on Twitter that he is headed to Lehigh, in the Patriot League.
“I’m truly blessed to be in this position and appreciate everyone who has shown support along the way,” wrote Whitney-Sydney, a Somerville resident.
Whitney-Sydney missed 11 games this season with an ankle sprain, but the 6-foot-3 point guard averaged 14 points, 5 rebounds, 5.7 assists, and 1.3 steals per game according to Rivals, which ranked him a three-star recruit. His other offers included Brown, Bryant, Fairfield, Providence, UMass, and Yale.
His classmate George Smith announced his commitment to the University of Pennsylvania last week.
Local seniors awarded Mass. Hockey sportsmanship scholarship
Five graduating seniors have been selected as Sportsmanship Award recipients from Massachusetts Hockey, earning a $2,000 scholarship.
Matthew Beniers, Hingham: A graduate of the University of Nebraska High School, Beniers played two seasons for USA Hockey’s national team development program,. captaining the U18 last winter. He will play at Harvard.
Coleman Benson, Scituate/BC High: After captaining the BC High team through the Super 8 this season, Benson will attend Holy Cross.
Matthew Leonard, Lynn Classical: A two-sport athlete who was also awarded an Agganis Foundation President’s Scholarship, Leonard will study computer science at UMass Lowell.
Jacob Vozikis, Burlington: Bound for Merrimack College, where he will study accounting, Vozikis is a product of the Eastern Mass Senators in addition to the Burlington High program.
Meghan Webb, Kingston/Thayer Academy: Webb captained the cross-country team and earned the hockey program’s coaches’ award at the end of this season. She will study neuroscience and psychology at Connecticut College.
Swimmers earn NISCA All-American honors
A number of athletes in the region earned All-American honors from the National Interscholastic Swimming Coaches Association. Relay teams and individuals in 9th-12th grade are eligible to be nominated, and the fastest 100 times in the country earn All-America honors.
200 medley relay: Sam Donchi, Yubo Jin, Arnold Su, Brandon Garcia (Phillips Andover)
200 freestyle: Max Hunger (Phillips Andover), Tyler Roethke (Nantucket)
200 individual medley: Sam Donchi (Phillips Andover)
50 freestyle: Max Hunger, Brandon Garcia, Marcus Lee (Phillips Andover)
Diving: John Byers (Newton North), Sam Cahaly (Wayland), Charles Reichle (Concord-Carlisle)
100 butterfly: Sam Donchi, Arnold Su (Phillips Andover)
100 freestyle: Marcus Lee, Arnold Su, Max Hunger (Phillips Andover)
500 freestyle: Max Hunger (Phillips Andover)
200 freestyle relay: Max Hunger, Brandon Garcia, Marcus Lee, Arnold Su (Phillips Andover)
100 backstroke: Sam Donchi (Phillips Andover)
100 breaststroke: Yubo Jin, Arnold Su (Phillips Andover)
400 freestyle relay: Marcus Lee, Arnold Su, Sam Donchi, Max Hunger (Phillips Andover)
200 freestyle: Malia Amuan (North Andover), Alexa Connors (Silver Lake)
200 individual medley: Megan Kramer (Bridgewater-Raynham)
50 freestyle: Michaela Chokureva (Andover)
Diving: Caroline Brady (Middlesex), Tabitha Chen-Fiske (Winchester), Elizabeth Durgin (Westford), Grace Magee (Norwell), Amanda Melish (Walpole), Olivia Templeton (Duxbury), Donna Zhang (Winchester)
100 butterfly: Megan Kramer (Bridgewater-Raynham)
500 freestyle: Alexa Connors (Silver Lake), Malia Amuan (North Andover)
100 freestyle: Michaela Chokureva (Andover)
100 backstroke: Ava Yablonski (Dover-Sherborn)
NFHS Network offering free production units for event streaming
The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), which organizes streaming platform for live high school sports, is offering schools free equipment to help stream events during the upcoming school year through its High School Support program.
Because attendance restrictions may be in place as school and sport resume this year, schools can request up to two Pixellot production units – one for indoor sports and one for outdoor sports – from NFHS Network to help make their events accessible to all.
In addition, NFHS Network will give a larger percentage of stream revenue back to schools.
“From the NFHS Network’s inception seven years ago, we have been driven by the goal to create a platform that showcases every high school event across every sport and every level of competition,” NFHS Network CEO Mark Koski said in a press release. “Consistent with this goal, we want the High School Support Program to demonstrate our continued commitment to help our partner schools manage the inevitable complications created by COVID-19.”
NFHS Network streams 27 different sports for schools nationwide and also covers performing arts, graduations, and other school events.