Shelby Herrington won her battle with the New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association.
Herrington, a junior, has played for the Bishop Brady (Concord) boys hockey team for the past two seasons, but the NHIAA ruled that Herrington could no longer skate for the boys team when Bishop Brady formed a cooperative girls team with Trinity High School of Manchester this year.
NHIAA bylaws state: “Interscholastic athletics involving mixed [boys and girls] competition is prohibited except in those instances where the member school does not offer equivalent activities for girls.”
Herrington has been centering Bishop Brady's second line.
Herrington's parents filed a suit against the NHIAA, and on Dec. 19 Merrimack County Superior Court judge Richard McNamara ruled that Herrington could continue to play for the boys team.
At issue is whether or not boys and girls hockey are considered “equivalent activities.” The Bishop Brady girls team doesn't practice as often as the boys team, and the girls team also has many players from Trinity, a school located 20 miles away. The boys teams has no players who do not attend Bishop Brady.
McNamara wrote: “This finding, though, does not lend any support to the [NHIAA's Council Appeal] Board's conclusion that the two teams provide 'equivalent activities' for each gender but, rather, lends support to the opposite conclusion.”
NHIAA executive director Pat Corbin expressed concern with the judge's decision, and the effect it night have on other NHIAA sports. He said the ruling could allow a boy cut from his team to play for a girls team.
“A concern is if this becomes a precedent for all other sports,” Corbin told the New Hampshire Union Leader. “All those things come to light.”
MERRIMACK'S BATTISTA RESIGNS
Joe Battista's five-year tenure as Merrimack High School's head coach ended Dec. 17, when he submitted his letter of resignation. The Tomahawks have a 15-40 record over the last five seasons.
“I feel I gave Merrimack everything I had,” Battista said. “A lot of kids gave me a lot. I just couldn't turn the program into a consistent winner.
“I started thinking about it [resigning] toward the end of the season. I thought it would be best to see what else is out there for me. I'm energized and motivated. I'm really looking forward to seeing what's next. I will be coaching somewhere next year.”
The highlight of Battista's five years with the program came in 2010, when the Tomahawks finished 7-4 and were one victory shy of making the Division II playoffs. Merrimack will compete in Division I next season, when NHIAA football will shrink from six divisions to three.
Merrrimack was 0-11 last season, a season that ended with a 41-14 loss to Souhegan on Thanksgiving. Battista, 42, wasn't on the Merrimack sideline on Thanksgiving for reasons that are still unclear.
“No comment on that,” Battista said. “I left Merrimack on good terms. There are no bitter feelings.”
KERSHAW AMED SHRINE COACH
There was talk that the Mascenic Regional (New Ipswich) football program might fold because of low participation numbers when Ray Kershaw became the team's head coach. Three years later Kershaw had the Vikings in the Division VI championship game.
Kershaw, a 46-year-old Springfield resident, was rewarded for his team's 2012 season by being named New Hampshire's head coach for this summer's Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl. New Hampshire will face Vermont on Aug. 3 at Dartmouth College.
“It was very exciting for me when I found out I'd be New Hampshire's coach,” Kershaw said. “It's a great honor because of what the game is all about.”
Proceeds from the Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl benefit Shriners' Hospitals for Crippled and Burned Children.
Both teams will being practicing for this year's game on Aug. 27.
MASCENIC ENDS LOSING STREAK
When the 2012-13 girls basketball season began no player on the Mascenic Regional girls basketball team had won a varsity game.
That changed when Mascenic beat Hillsboro-Deering 41-34 on Dec. 14. The victory ended the program's 94-game losing streak that began in the 2006-07 season. Mascenic has had five head coaches in the last six years.
Sarah Sharp scored a team-high 11 points in the win.
SHERBURNE SELECTS NIAGARA
Jamie Sherburne, a junior on the Bishop Guertin girls' basketball team, recently committed to play college basketball at Niagara University, a Division I program that competes in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.
She is the second BG player who has committed to a Division I school. Meghan Green announced last July that she will continue her career at Boston University.
Sherburne and Green helped BG win the program's first state championship last March.
Roger Brown is a staff writer for the New Hampshire Union Leader, and publishes the New Hampshire Football Report: www.nhfootballreport.com.