By Robert Mingolelli
Coach Colleen Naboicheck
Colleen Naboicheck (Nabo as she is affectionally called) has been coaching 20 years, the last 15 at GDRHS which included eleven years as varsity coach for cross-country and fifteen years outdoor track & field. Naboicheck lobbied for and successfully started the track & field indoor program five years ago.
Coach Naboicheck has always viewed her coaching profession as an opportunity to develop relationships with the athletes and help prepare them to deal with life and its challenges. Competition in sport is a challenge and creates stresses and teaches how to overcome adversity, work as a team and learn how to lose as well as win. Each and every one of her athletes knows that her focus has always been to help them become strong young women. Every athlete learned that she cared more about them as a person and cared for their success more than in the performance in a competition.
The Lowell Sun awarded Naboichek Coach of the Year twice while at GDRHS. During her tenure at GD, more than 20 of her athletes went on to compete at the collegiate level. Her cross-country teams won seven league championships and qualified six times for the Division 1 All-State competition, and five track and field league championships. Numerous athletes and relay teams qualified for the Division 1 All-State meet, two indoor T&F league championships, and several athletes qualified for the Division 1 All-State meets. In 2018- 2019, Coach Naboicheck’s team won the leagues in XC, Indoor T&F and Outdoor T&F or what is referred to as “the Trifecta”. An impressive resume!
Here are some tributes from former and current athletes. The common thread with all the responses was Coach Naboicheck’s concern for the person and what it took to be a strong confident woman.
“She instilled in me a quiet confidence in myself as an athlete, a leader, and a person,” recalls Francesca Coveno. “Nabo wore earrings, makeup, running shorts and casually outran us time after time. A warm, intense, inspiring and occasionally terrifying person. The ultimate coach, role model, and friend,” concluded Coveno.
“Her passion and enthusiasm was a huge motivation for my teammates and I,” shared Emma Ordemann, class of 2013.
“Coach Nabo put her whole heart into coaching,” remembers Micaela LaCombe (2011) who graduated from D-1 High Point University.
“Coach Nabo showed my teammates and I what it means to be a strong, confident woman,” said Samantha Ferraro (2016).
Dennison University Div. 3 athlete Emily Willson (2018) added, “I would not be the athlete, leader, or person that I am today without her. Every athlete deserves to have a coach like Nabo!”
High Point University Div. 1 student athlete Julianna Higgins remembers, “We were all so lucky to have a coach invested in our lives as much as our running.”
Sarah Maple, in her second year at American University (Div.1), “I can’t thank Coach Nabo enough for the impact she made in both my running career, but in my life as well. She was like a mother to me.”
Rising senior Sydney Adams, “Nabo always said, 'Pressure makes diamonds.' Coach always put a lot of pressure on our team and taught us all how to handle the pressure and stress of competition.”
Sophomore Siena Salyer shared “coach’s positive attitude and immense support for every athlete on our team pushed us to do our best. Nabo has not only made me a stronger athlete, but also a stronger person.”
Classmates Kimmie Harding and Danielle Thompson offered, “Coach Nabo is a truly dedicated person who encourages our team to rise to the level of the competition. Her pre-meet prep talks taught our team that pressure isn’t stress. It’s a challenge to show others what you are made of!” Danielle added, “Coach Nabo has shaped me into being the best runner I can be.”
Whether you were the most talented runner or an athlete who simply enjoyed running, coach Nabo cared. This will be coach Naboicheck’s legacy.
Coach Lori Herberich
Groton-Dunstable RHS varsity girls volleyball coach Lori Herberich has coached at GD for 10 years. She was the very first coach of the freshman/junior varsity second team when volleyball was first introduced to the athletic program at the high school.
Coach Herberich attended Emmaus High School in Emmaus, PA and graduated from the State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry. She learned volleyball playing recreationally during and after college for several years.
With her experience playing on various women’s teams and being coached by some of the best coaches and former players in New England at the time, she was well schooled in the game. She played in the New England Regional Volleyball Association (NERVA) tournaments for many years. NERVA is the regional branch of USA Volleyball. Lori also experienced playing in several US Open National Volleyball Tournaments at a high level. “Becoming a coach has allowed me to share my technical and tactical knowledge of a game I love,” she recently shared.
During her ten years at GD, she coached the JV1 team for 6 years and her varsity coaching tenure, from 2017–2019 where her teams amassed a 49-17 record.
“I have so many great memories of all the teams at all of the levels that I’ve coached,” she remembers. “Volleyball is a fairly new sport for a lot of kids when they get to middle or high school. I was fortunate to see the progression of skills for the players and it was very rewarding for me as a coach. Watching a player execute a really difficult skill or run a play successfully for the first time during a match was such a great feeling.”
In 2017, GD won the Mid-Wach B league and advanced to the quarterfinals in the Central/West Division 1 playoffs. In 2018, GD won Mid-Wach A league, Central Division 2, and the Division 2 State Championship.
The fall of 2019 was a rebuilding season, and the Crusaders once again were in the tough Mid-Wach A league. But the team had a great season, defeating or being extremely competitive with schools having a school population two or three times the size of Groton-Dunstable.
“Winning a state championship is definitely the highlight of my coaching career,” shared coach Herberich. “It is still surreal! The fans and parents of the players were so supportive and, of course, the team was incredible too. A lot of people told me they were amazed at how calm I was during the playoff matches, especially the five-set, nail-biting wins. It really wasn’t hard to be calm when I knew the players would trust their training and also play as a team.”
Herberich doesn’t consider herself “retired” since she may coach a volleyball club team at some point. “This fall I’ll be able to spend a lot of time watching soccer. My son Chase, recognized as one of the ten Academic Scholars in the G-D class of 2020, will be studying Chemical Engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute this fall and will be playing on the men’s soccer team. I’ll be the first one in the stadium to watch Chase play and the last one to leave. I truly can’t wait.”
Asked how she would be remembered, the 2018 Lowell Sun Volleyball Coach of the Year replied, “I’m not sure how I want to be remembered. Hopefully, a coach who was someone who respected and cared about her players on and off the court. I always tried to bring out the best in each of them. I had more fun coaching than you’ll ever know, and the total support from Chase and my husband Jim made that possible,” concluded Herberich.