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Boston Catholic school alumni compete in 2018 Olympics

By Mark Labbe Pilot Staff
Posted: 2/16/2018

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PyeongChang 2018 Olympians Jonathan Cheever, Steve Langton, John McCarthy, and Noah Welch are alumni of Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Boston. Courtesy photos

BRAINTREE -- At least four alumni of Archdiocese of Boston Catholic schools are vying for Gold in the XXIII Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Among the 244 U.S. athletes competing in PyeongChang 2018 are: men's hockey players John McCarthy of St. John's Preparatory School, Danvers class of 2004 and Noah Welch of St. Sebastian's School, Needham, class of 2001; Bobsledder Steve Langton of St. John's Preparatory School class of 2001; and snowboarder Jonathan Cheever of Malden Catholic High School, Malden, class of 2003.

McCarthy, a veteran of hundreds of professional ice hockey games, made his NHL debut in 2010 with the San Jose Sharks, after graduating from Boston University. He is in his ninth season with the Sharks organization, and over the years oscillated between the San Jose Sharks, NHL, and the San Jose Barracuda, AHL.

He didn't learn he would be one of the 23 players on the Team USA men's ice hockey roster until New Year's Day, when he received a call informing him he made the team.

"I was beyond excited when I heard I would be playing for the Olympic team," McCarthy told The Pilot via email, Feb. 6.

He had known for a couple of months that it was a possibility, but to get that phone call "was unbelievable," he said.

McCarthy had played hockey and football while attending St. John's Prep. He "learned a lot about athletics" while attending the school, he said, and is "grateful for the opportunities" his time there provided him.

His Catholic faith has also provided opportunities, he said, helping him to "succeed in hockey by keeping me grounded and recognizing that there is more to life than wins and losses."

At the time he was in contact with The Pilot, McCarthy had just finished his last game with the San Jose Barracuda before the Olympics, and was getting ready to head to South Korea. Team USA had never practiced together before, but McCarthy said he expected them to have a few practices before their opening game against Slovenia, Feb. 14.

The team lost the game in overtime, 3-2. They played Slovenia again on Feb. 16, after press time.

McCarthy noted his family would be traveling to South Korea as well to watch him play. "They are really excited," he said.

For bobsledder Steve Langton, also an alumnus of St. John's Prep, PyeongChange 2018 marks the third consecutive trip he has made to the Winter Olympics.

Teamed with Steven Holcomb, he won a bronze medal in the two-man event during the 2014 games in Sochi, Russia, which marked the first time an American had medaled in that event in 62 years. The medal was recently re-designated to silver, after the Russian team in the event was disqualified following a doping scandal.

In an interview with St. John's Prep published on the school's website, Langton said he feels "very fortunate to have had the opportunity to represent the United States and having the honor to do so three times is both rare and special."

"I've appreciated the journey. The timing feels right for this to be my last Olympics. I am extremely excited for the next four weeks but equally as excited for what comes next," he told the school.

According to the piece, Langton was "notorious" for his weight room workouts, and still holds the school record in the 100-meter dash at 10.7 seconds. He was a member of an All-State champion 4x400 meter relay quartet that still holds the school record, and he shares the school's Long Jump Relay record.

Langton will be competing on Feb. 24.

Noah Welch is another member of Team USA men ice hockey team. Currently a defenseman for the Vaxjo Lakers of the Swedish Hockey League, Welch made his NHL debut during the 2005-2006 season, playing with the Pittsburgh Penguins. He would go on to play for a number of different AHL and NHL teams before heading to Sweden for the 2011-2012 season.

He played hockey at St. Sebastian's School, and later at Harvard. In his official bio on the Team USA website, Welch lists "Winning New England prep school championship with St. Sebastian's" as his best moment in his playing career.

When he's not snowboarding, Jonathan Cheever of Saugus works as a plumber. According to his official Olympic profile, Cheever began skiing at the age of eight, switching to snowboarding at the age of 12 after his father signed him up for a free snowboarding lesson.

PyeongChange 2018 is his Olympic debut, although he has competed in a number of national and international events over the years, earning him the title of one of the best snowboard cross athletes in the world.

The men's Snowboarding Cross event, which Cheever competed in, was held Feb. 14 and Feb. 15, after press time.