With winter sports having concluded after last weekend’s nationals track meet and spring sports teams just beginning practices this week, it’s a slow news week for Old Rochester Regional athletics.
That’s why it’s the perfect time to shine a light on two students who made a huge impact this past season and who are set to be athletes to watch this spring.
Those athletes are seniors Evan and Will Santos, twins from Marion who have been stars in soccer and basketball throughout their high school careers.
This past week, I spoke to them about their accomplishments in the last four years, the new challenge they face as they embark on a new sport this spring, and their plans for after graduation.
From their freshman to junior years, both Santos brothers played soccer. During those years, they were among the team’s best players, even making the varsity squad as freshmen. However, the boys ended their soccer careers before this season to focus primarily on basketball.
“We did it to focus on basketball year-round,” Will said.
“It was so hard watching the games this year,” said Evan. “It was awful.”
With the extra prep for basketball season, the boys were able to focus their efforts on the winter sport as they looked to repeat as state champions.
During their junior year, the brothers were both starters on the team that crushed D-3 competition on its way to an historic victory. Coach Steve Carvalho named them captains for the 2015-16 season, a role that they took seriously.
“It was great being a leader and having that impact on the players,” Evan explained. Will continued by saying that the most important thing he took out of his experience as captain was the difficulty of managing the team.
“It’s hard having a leadership role,” Will admitted. Both brothers acknowledged the importance of their coaches – both Coach Carvalho at ORR as well as their AAU coaches – on their success.
“They pushed us to be better people,” Will said.
Evan explained that Coach Carvalho’s expectations of the brothers as leaders were important motivating factors in their success this year.
However, the brothers flourished during their season as team leaders. They were groomed for this role ever since they saw varsity action as underclassmen and responded well, leading the team to a 17-5 record (15-2 in the SCC), which included a playoff win.
Evan moved to point guard to account for the loss of Noah Fernandes to Tabor Academy, while Will played mostly as a forward. Evan scored 26 points twice this season and averaged double digits. Meanwhile, Will controlled the boards and facilitated the offense down low.
Referring to the differences between this year’s squad and last year’s championship team, Evan responded, “Every year, it’s a different team. The team makeup was very different.”
This spring, the boys will take on a new sport as they aim to round out their repertoire. This week, the Santos brothers will come out for spring track, where they plan to run distance. However, they are open-minded and want to help the team achieve its goals overall.
“We want to be SCC contenders,” Will said.
As for their plans after they throw their caps up in the air on June 4?
“Next year, we will be attending Deerfield Academy for a post-graduate year,” Evan revealed. “We went up and we toured after the coach recruited us.”
Although the twins will focus on basketball at Deerfield, they will also be running track in the spring to stay in perfect shape year-round.
It has been a magical four years for Will and Evan Santos at Old Rochester. Not only have they been important athletes, but they have been great citizens of the school as well.
It’s impossible to find a teacher with anything negative to say about the twins, who have always been great role models for the younger grades, especially the athletes who look up to them.
As they have done in the past few years, the Santos brothers are sure to be big contributors on and off the field during spring track, at Deerfield, and beyond.
In other matters, below are the final overall winter team records, followed by the conference records in wins, losses, and ties.
Boys’ Basketball: (17-5-0)(15-2-0); Girls’ Basketball: (8-12-0)(6-9-0); Boys’ Track: (8-1-0)(8-1-0); Girls’ Track: (9-0-0)(9-0-0); Boys’ Swimming: (0-8-0)(0-6-0); Girls’ Swimming: (3-5-0)(1-5-0); Boys’ Ice Hockey: (14-5-4)(9-0-1); Girls’ Ice Hockey: (3-16-0)(3-14-0).
By Patrick Briand