The Haverhill High athletic program had a year to remember in 2011-12, one that the players and fans will remember for years to come.
Athletic Director Tom O'Brien gives you a roundup of the many wins and honors earned by Haverhill High athletes, teams and coaches in his final "Hillie Huddle" column of the season on today's Sports page.
It's quite a scorecard.
Seventeen of 25 individual or team programs saw post-season action. That's almost 70 percent.
The football team ended a 32-game losing streak, while the baseball team turned a losing record into a winning one.
Wrestling made a comeback as a varsity sport.
The girls cross-country team and the boys volleyball team were undefeated in the regular season.
The list runs on and on, and Hillie athletes deserve cheers and congratulations for what they achieved this year.
But it's also worth noting — and O'Brien does — that these student athletes were put in a position to win by the support they received from school and athletic officials and the community at large.
Haverhill made a commitment to turn around its sports program and backed it up with a financial investment. It paid off.
Hillies played football on a new turf field in the rebuilt and renamed Trinity Stadium and basketball on a resurfaced gym floor.
Trinity EMS ambulance service, Converse and Ernie DiBurro were among the benefactors that made Hillie athletic facilities shine.
And, just as important, the number of athletes competing rose significantly this year — by more than 10 percent.
It's no coincidence that sports fees were cut to their lowest level in a decade and are due to drop again next fall.
The welcome comeback of Haverhill High sports is something to enjoy, something to celebrate and something to take pride in.