By Tom O'Brien
The Haverhill Gazette
---- — Samie Al-Ziab is off to a great start to the wrestling season. The junior opened the year with a win against perennial power Chelmsford last Wednesday. He followed that up with four pins at the Wilmington Sons of Italy Tournament on Saturday en route to a first place finish. Orlando Rojas also won against Chelmsford and then placed fourth on Saturday. The Hillies will travel to Pentucket on Saturday morning for a quad meet.
The girls track team also had an impressive start to the year. The Hillies upset defending Merrimack Valley Conference Champion Lowell last Wednesday afternoon. Kristie Robertson won two events (high jump and 600) and Sam Wise won the 1,000 to lead the Hillies to the 48-38 win. The boys team dropped a 64-22 decision to the Red Raiders.
The boys basketball team has arguably the toughest December schedule in Massachusetts. The Hillies first four games are against teams ranked in the top 20 in the state in all major polls. The Hillies opened with Lowell, North Andover and Central Catholic last week. They will host St. John’s on Thursday, Dec. 20), at 7 p.m. and Reading on Sunday, Dec. 23, at 1 p.m. The girls basketball team will host Everett on Friday, Dec. 21, at 7 p.m. then will participate in the Epping Holiday Tournament Dec. 28 to 30.
The hockey team opened the season with a pair of hard-fought losses at home. The Hillies were edged 5-3 by Boston Latin then suffered a 6-2 loss to Tewksbury. They are at Concord-Carlisle this Saturday then will host the annual Haverhill Hockey Christmas Tournament Dec. 26 to 29.
The boys swimming team lost its opening meet to Central Catholic last week. The meet came down to the final relay and the Raiders came out on top 92-78. The Hillies will get a chance to avenge that loss on Jan. 25 when Central Catholic visits Haverhill. Next up for the Hillies will be a Dec. 27 meet at Southern New Hampshire University against Pinkerton Academy.
For complete winter schedules and updated information on Haverhill sports, visit our website at www.hillies.org.
Tom O’Brien is athletic director at Haverhill High School. He contributes this regular column.