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High School Notebook: Woodsville Senior Engineers a Big Comeback

  • Woodsville High School student Alyssa Prest throws the ball during the game against Profile School at Woodsville Elementary School in Woodsville, N.H., on April 13, 2018. The Engineers defeated the Patriots, 5-3. (Valley News - Carly Geraci) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to

  • Woodsville's Alyssa Prest.

Valley News Sports Editor
Published: 6/15/2018 11:44:40 PM
Modified: 6/15/2018 11:44:54 PM

Woodsville — Alyssa Prest will head to Maine’s Husson University this fall planning to major in occupational therapy. A recent internship at Woodsville’s Cottage Hospital helped solidify that interest.

She’s also certain that she wants nothing to do with physical therapy. A long-term injury cemented that knowledge.

Overcoming it made her one of the best high school softball pitchers in the state this spring.

In addition to placing her on its NHIAA Division IV all-state first team, the New Hampshire Softball Coaches Association named Prest its D-IV pitcher of the year last week. It’s a deserved honor, both for what Prest did as an Engineer senior and with what she had to overcome to earn it.

Prest tore the posterior cruciate ligament in her right knee during her sophomore basketball season. She pitched Woodsville to the state softball quarterfinals that spring and tried to play with the bum knee through her junior year before committing to surgery. The nine-month period for recovery guaranteed she would miss her junior softball season.

So Prest went to work, doing her rehab well enough to rejoin Woodsville athletics as a senior. Fully recovered by spring softball preseason, she tossed all but five of the Engineers’ innings en route to the D-IV semifinals, going 16-2 with 148 strikeouts in 106 innings and a 1.71 earned-run average.

“I knew as hard a worker as she was, that once she got back, she’d be an exceptional pitcher,” Woodsville coach Dana Huntington said this week. “She did a phenomenal job rehabbing it, always pushing. She’s a kid that’s more than willing to work.”

On Thursday, Prest admitted the pitching honor was something she’d hoped to earn someday, but felt might have been beyond her grasp after missing an entire softball season.

“Not playing last year was hard on me, but I learned a lot from watching, and that helped,” she said. “It definitely means a lot more having gone through that and knowing that, without that (junior) year, I’d still be able to work toward (the award). Dana helped so much; the second I was cleared to play, I went right to Dana and he assisted with my pitching.”

If Prest had to hurt a knee, she picked the correct one.

As a right-handed pitcher, Prest uses her right leg to push off the rubber and the left to plant at the end of her delivery. Given the PCL is integral to stability — “it prevents (the knee) from sliding forward and back,” Huntington said — Prest would have been worse off had she torn the ligament in her left knee.

The senior’s work ethic not only allowed her to return to the Engineers this year, it may have paid off in another fashion.

“She has gained a significant amount of speed over her sophomore year,” Huntington said. “That’s through the strength in her other leg, throughout her process of getting better.”

Prest may have thought Husson would be less interested in her knowing she’d had to rehab an injured knee. It turns out the Bangor-based school can’t wait for her to join the program.

“Slowly, at every practice, whether it was basketball or softball or soccer, on the sidelines I’d do my PT exercises at every practice to stay in shape,” Prest said. “I wanted to get cleared. Sports are a big part of my life.”

Softball Stars: In addition to Prest’s first-team placement, several other Upper Valley high school athletes landed on the NHSCA’s all-state list.

Sunapee’s Ellie Frederick joined Prest on the first team for her play as a catcher for the Lakers during their run to the NHIAA Division IV tournament. The second team included Sunapee pitcher Hannah Cooney and Woodsville first baseman Morgan Wagstaff and catcher Maggie Daly. Engineer outfielder McKenzie Dennis landed on the honorable mention team.

Newport pitcher Lacey McNeel also was a first-team selection, making the D-III squad as a sophomore. Tiger catcher Stacia Dame and outfield teammate Kendall Hamilton were second-team choices, as was Stevens infielder Jenna Pond. Hanover’s Bella Bardales, Newport’s Alyssa Burr and Stevens’ Madison Lapsley received honorable mention.

As for the Other Diamond: NHIAA Division II semifinalist Hanover put a pair of players on the Baseball Coaches Association of New Hampshire’s all-state team this week. Two seniors, Charlie Goodrich and Moises Celaya, earned the distinction for leading the Marauders to a 14-6 record under third-year coach John Grainger.

Hanover teammate Kegan Silovich joined the second team, and the Marauders’ Marc Hampers landed on the third team. Lebanon was left without representation.

In Division III, Newport’s Cody Turgeon and Stevens’ Drew Grenier drew second-team recognition, while the Tigers’ Kyle Fish and Kyle Rossiter joined the Cardinals’ Trey Theriault on the third team. The D-IV first team included Sunapee’s Cade Robinson and Woodsville’s Seanon May; the Lakers’ Nick Ducharme joined the Engineers’ Zach Moore and Danny Bowman on the second unit, with the third included Woodsville’s Corey Bemis and Cooper Davidson.

Sticks and Smarts: Hanover High’s Alex Mosenthal drew double notice from New Hampshire lacrosse coaches both for his play on the field and his work in the classroom.

In addition to being named to the D-I honorable mention team as a long-stick midfielder, Mosenthal also earned one of eight New Hampshire Academic All-American mentions covering all three NHIAA divisions. Mosenthal is Hanover’s first Academic All-American since Mike Whitcomb and Ryerson Stinson 11 years ago and the Marauders’ first All-American of any kind since Jesse Brown in 2013, according to coach Ryan Gardner.

Two other Hanover players, attackman Graham Penfield and midfielder Brian Pattison, made the D-I second team. Penfield finished his career ranked sixth in career goals and eighth in points in program history.

Hanover and Lebanon both had players receive all-state girls lacrosse recognition. The Marauders’ Maddie McCorkle made the Division II first team, and defensive teammate Maddie Wallace landed on the second team. The Raiders had one player chosen for D-III mention, defender Libby Stone, who made the all-state second team.

All-CVL, One Last Time: The Whitcomb-Rochester and South Royalton softball programs ended their histories with several selections on the all-Central Vermont League team. The Royals’ Iris Hudson and Whitchester’s Sammy Barcomb, Fiona Vaillancourt and Hayley Mears made the first team, while the Mountaineers’ Chelsie Trask took honorable mention honors, joined by Rivendell’s Natalie Martin.

The all-CVL baseball first team included Rivendell’s Dash Fukushima, Whitchester’s Kevin Kingsbury and SoRo’s Dominick Small and Jake Hewitt. The Raptors’ Charlie Bradley and Zach Gould joined Sharon’s Kyle Hedgepeth and Sam Knoerlein, SoRo’s George Carr and Whitchester’s Timber Russell on the honorable mention squad.

All-Star Season: We’re a week away from the start of summer high school all-star game season, and some of the action will be close to home.

It starts in Burlington on Friday night with the 35th Twin State Field Hockey Game at UVM’s Virtue Field. Hanover’s Hannah Curtis, Stevens’ Tess Whitney and Newport’s Kendall Hamilton will suit up for New Hampshire against Vermont’s top seniors in a 5:30 p.m. contest.

Saturday finds two events set in the Upper Valley. The Twin State Baseball Classic assumes the Maxfield Sports Complex diamond for a 10 a.m. doubleheader that will include Hartford’s Tyler Hamilton, Windsor’s Seth Balch and Woodstock’s Owen Tarleton. Vermont and a New Hampshire team made up of Division III and IV selections — which will include Newport’s Cody Turgeon and Stevens’ Drew Grenier and Brendan Bean — will play two seven-inning contests.

Meanwhile, the Byrne Cup Twin State All-Star Lacrosse Games will take place as usual at Hanover High School at 12:30 p.m. Area players on the preliminary roster include Hanover’s Graham Penfield and Maddie Wallace; Hartford’s Morgan Pero, Michaela Ricker and Kyle Prior; and Woodstock’s Cullen McCarthy and Patrick Potter.

The Make-a-Wish Hockey Classic will be June 30 in Burlington, the Twin State Lions Cup soccer matches are on July 21 at Castleton University and the Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl closes the all-star schedule on Aug. 4, also at Castleton.

Greg Fennell can be reached at or 603-727-3226.

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