Jack Hennessy is one of Staples’ best all-around athletes. Captain of the state champion soccer team, a state-level indoor track star and captain of the reigning FCIAC baseball champs, he’s as modest as he is successful. He is quick to praise teammates, and downplay his own accomplishments.
Except when it comes to dodgeball.
Hennessy was victorious in Staples’ 1st 2 school-wide dodgeball tournaments, in 2008 and ’09. Yesterday — despite losing all his teammates to graduation — the senior went for a 3-peat.
How would his squad — calling themselves simply “The Athletes” — win?
“By destroying everyone else,” Hennessy said moments before Friday afternoon’s opening whistle. “We don’t take prisoners.” (That was a joke. The whole point of dodgeball is to whomp opponents, and make them prisoners.)
How did the upcoming tournament — a fundraiser for Staples Tuition Grants and the various class committees, involving 26 teams and over 200 players — compare in intensity to, say, a state soccer final?
“This is much more important,” Hennessy said. “I live for this.”
The event drew competitors from every clique in school. There were jocks, writers, musicians, science researchers — and teachers. Anyone could form a team — but staff squads had to include students, and every team needed at least 2 females.
Hennessy was not the only dodgeballer to be pumped for action. Dylan Murray’s team — The Abusement Park — got together for a pasta dinner Thursday night. (There was plenty of trash talk in the Murray home: Dylan’s 2 siblings played on separate teams.)
“We’re a band of brothers — and sisters,” noted Victor Hollenberg, Inklings editor and captain of The Inks.
Teammate and fellow editor Petey Menz pointed out: “There is no ‘i’ in team. But there are two ‘i’s in Inklings.”
The early line favored older players. Sophomores like Max Hoberman — captain of Snookular Warfare — were hoping for a good time, some experience, and maybe some luck.
“We’ll do okay, as long as we don’t play any big, strong kids,” Hoberman said.
For the past few days, the NCAA basketball tournament has engrossed many Stapleites.
But Cornell and Robert Morris have nothing on Staples dodgeball. It’s one thing to watch other people play; it’s another thing entirely to get out in your own fieldhouse and throw balls at classmates’ heads torsos and legs.
When the dust settled — and after WWPT-FM broadcast the semifinals and finals live from the gym — the victors were crowned. The winning team included Tate Cooper, Dustin Dobbs, Scott Feder, Justin Honigstein, Aaron Kliegman, Mike Rustemeyer, David Speer, Kat Strage — and Jack Hennessy.
The versatile athlete did exactly what he had promised: He 3-peated.
Of his many accomplishments at Staples, 3 straight years as a dodgeball winner might be the most remarkable of all.
Hennessy was unavailable for comment last night. He was out being measured for a championship ring.