WOBURN, Mass. — The Homenetmen Boston Chapter hosted the Eastern US Region’s 30th Navasartian Games from July 1 to July 3, 2022. The Navasartian Games are the region’s largest athletic event, which includes basketball, soccer, volleyball, track, swimming and chess. Nearly 500 athletes participated from Homenetmen’s Eastern USA and Canada regions with 39 basketball teams, 15 soccer teams and 14 volleyball teams. The games were held at multiple facilities including Woburn High School, Malcolm White Elementary School and Goodyear Elementary School. Woburn High School served as a central hub for the athletic events and featured a concession area with an extensive selection of delicious food, souvenirs and lively Armenian music to enjoy between games. The Westin Hotel in Waltham, MA served as the venue for evening social events and accommodated out-of-town athletes and guests.
After a two-year absence due to the COVID-19 pandemic, athletes were eager to compete and reconnect with their friends throughout the weekend. The Navasartian Games Steering Committee had been diligently planning these games since 2019, with the goal of creating a safe and fun-filled weekend. The Steering Committee included a core group of 16 Homenetmen members working on a wide range of tasks, including hotel accommodations, athletic facilities, transportation, social events, sponsorships, welcoming, souvenirs, concessions, security, first-aid, and administrative and IT tasks.
The first day of competitions kicked off at 8:00 a.m. on Friday with all athletes eagerly and impatiently waiting to start the games. After the first day of games, athletes and guests had a chance to socialize and relax at the “Mediterranean Night,” held at the Armenian Cultural & Educational Center courtyard in Watertown. Over 300 guests enjoyed a night of wonderful weather, delicious appetizers and desserts, and energetic music from DJ Reen.
On Saturday, the formal Navasartian Games Opening Ceremony was held at the Woburn High School outdoor stadium. In attendance were Der Mikael Der Kosrofian (representing His Eminence Archbishop Anoushavan Tanielian); Khajag Mgrdichian, member of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) Bureau; Paulie Haroian, ARF Eastern USA Central Committee member; Arby Gazarian, member of Homenetmen Canada’s Regional Executive, Nartouhi Abrimian, representative of the ARS Eastern USA Regional Executive, and Nareg Mkrtschjan, chairman of Armenian Youth Federation (AYF) Central Executive.
The Homenetmen scouts, including the Boston chapter’s scout marching band “fanfare,” led the procession of the athletes. Participants from 13 chapters from the Eastern USA (Albany, Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Florida, Merrimack Valley, New Jersey, New York, Philadelphia, Providence and Washington) and Canada (Montreal and Toronto) proudly held signs of their chapters as they marched past dignitaries and cheering spectators. A delegation of two basketball teams that will represent the Eastern USA Region at the Pan-Homenetmen Games marched with their own banner, showing their readiness to compete at the long-awaited tournament in Armenia at the end of July.
Longtime Homenetmen member Avo Barmakian welcomed everyone to the 30th Navasartian Games and provided a biography of the chapters as they marched in the procession. Sevag Khatchadourian, chairman of the Boston Chapter Executive, thanked the countless volunteers and members of the Steering Committee for their tremendous efforts. Vicken Khatchadourian, chairman of the Regional Executive, emphasized the importance of Homenetmen’s mission within our community and stressed that the Navasartian Games should serve as a catalyst for each chapter to continue its growth and strive for greater successes in the future.
Der Kosrofian from Soorp Asdvadzadzin Armenian Apostolic Church of Whitinsville, MA presented a message from his Eminence Archbishop Anoushavan Tanielian and concluded the ceremony with a prayer.
On Saturday evening, more than 600 people attended the Navasartian Games Victory Gala at the Westin Waltham Hotel. As Master of Ceremonies, Barmakian welcomed Homenetmen members and supporters and introduced the dignitaries and representatives present at the gala. Sarkis Ourfalian, chairman of the 30th Navasartian Games Steering Committee, extended special thanks to every member of the Steering Committee, the Boston Armenian community for their moral and financial support and to the many volunteers who dedicated their time to ensure a successful weekend.
The program continued with a special performance by the Sayat Nova Dance Company of Boston. At the conclusion of the program, representatives from each chapter were presented with plaques commemorating the 30th Navasartian Games, followed by lively music and dancing with singer Harout Bedrossian and his band.
Sunday marked the final day of athletic events, featuring semi-final and championship games. The athletic venues were buzzing with excitement, while spectators eagerly watched their favorite teams compete for the championship.
The weekend’s final event took place on Sunday evening, headlined by superstars Suro and DJ Jilber, who kept attendees dancing all night. During a brief break, the Regional Athletic Committee presented trophies to championship teams for each division and awarded the overall champion chapter award to Boston, this year’s host chapter. The night was an incredible way to cap off the weekend and send off the hundreds of athletes and guests who gathered to celebrate a memorable Navasartian Games.
The 2022 Navasartian weekend was energetic and vibrant. Athletes, members and guests had sorely missed the opportunity to reconnect with fellow Armenians and enjoy the fierce, yet friendly competition that is at the core of Homenetmen athletics. Volunteers working tirelessly to ensure a successful weekend found encouragement and support from attendees’ smiling faces as they hurried between athletic courts, concession stands and the evening social events. While only a few teams took home trophies, every attendee felt like a champion. They walked away knowing that the Homenetmen spirit is unbreakable, and the Navasartian Games traditions are here to stay.
Pee-wee boys (12 years and under)
Teams: Boston, Providence, New York A, New York B and Washington
The Boston pee-wee boys team dominated this tournament by going 4-0 with a margin of victory of 27 points. They trounced New York A in the final 40-24 with strong performances from Avo Bedrossian, Luca Mondolfi, Garen Keledjian and Gabriel Kioumejian.
Pee-wee girls (12 years and under)
Teams: Boston and Providence
On day 1, these two teams tied in their first game 28-28 (no overtime due to it being an exhibition match), and Boston edged Providence on day two by only three points. The final was another close contest with Leanna Iskenderian and Eva Khalarian helping Boston pull out the win to sweep the pee-wee basketball bracket.
Bantam boys (13 to 15 years)
Teams: Boston and New York
New York beat Boston in the two exhibition matches before the final, and it seemed like they were on their way to win the championship. Dominating performances from Michael Azatyan and Christopher Simonian had New York with the upper hand going into the last matchup. But in one of the upsets of the tournament, Boston beat New York in the final with strong performances from Michael Nshanian and KJ Keuchkarian to snatch the gold.
Bantam girls (13 to 15 years)
Teams: Boston and New York
The Boston girls overwhelmed the New York team with strong plays from Leanna Dorian and Nayiri Chekijian in the final to win 42-11.
Junior men (16 to 18 years)
Teams: New York, Montreal, Boston A and Boston B
With four teams in this bracket, the group played a round robin with the top two teams advancing to the final. New York swept the bracket going 3-0 to secure their spot in the final.
For the second spot, Boston A and Boston B played a thrilling game. With Boston A down two points with 20 seconds left, Chris Ashjian of Boston A found Mardin Minasian for an and-1 lay-up. Minasian hit his free throw to give Boston A a one-point victory.
While Boston A had a chance at redemption in the final, the team from New York continued their dominance. Lucas Boudakian, Dominic Correa and Mario Lilla led the way for New York as they held on to a 48-40 victory to grab the gold medal.
Senior women (18+)
Teams: Chicago, Montreal, Boston A and Boston B
In a rematch of the last senior women’s final, Boston A met Chicago again in the championship game for one of the most exciting games of the entire tournament. Chicago’s Olivia Emerzian and Gina Kmiec helped build a small lead late in the game, but Boston battled back. Down one point and with less than 20 seconds left, Tanya Badrikian of Boston hit a game-tying free-throw to send the game to overtime. The teams battled back and forth in the extra time, but with just under a minute left, Boston point-guard Leeza Dayian found Nina Vosbigian for a three-point play (lay-up plus foul) to secure Boston’s second consecutive championship in this bracket.
Senior men (18+)
Pool A: New Jersey A, Boston B, Toronto, Chicago A
Pool B: Merrimack Valley A, Boston C, Chicago B, New Jersey C
Pool C: Boston A, Merrimack Valley B, Providence A, New Jersey B, Washington
Pool D: New York, Philadelphia, Chicago C, Providence B, New Jersey D
In pool A, New Jersey A and Toronto took care of business against Boston B and Chicago A on day one of the tournament with both teams going 2-0 and setting up their final match as an opportunity to get to the semifinal. New Jersey built a lead early in the first half, but some hot shooting from Toronto cut the lead to just seven points in the second half. After exchanging baskets, New Jersey was finally able to pull away and secure their spot in the semis.
In pool B, the defending champs Chicago B swept through their group play by going 3-0 with an average margin of victory of 40 points to get to the semifinal. Ara Emerzian, Dalton Torosian and the rest of the Chicago team were on their way to try and repeat as champions.
In pool C, Boston A took down Merrimack Valley B and New Jersey B. Providence beat Washington and then edged out a victory versus New Jersey B. Boston A and Providence met on day two for a spot in the semifinal with Boston taking the win, 63-35. Danny Yardemian and Daron Hamparian carried the scoring load for Boston during their undefeated group play.
In pool D, New York and Philadelphia both went 2-0 before meeting on day two. Through strong play from Anto Keshgegian, the younger Philadelphia squad was able to exhaust the experienced New York team to grab the final spot in the semifinal.
In the semifinal, New Jersey A showcased their 3-point shooting ability to take down Boston A, 71-63. Strong performances from Koko Karajelian and Anthony Vincent led them to victory. On the other side of the bracket, Chicago B took down Philadelphia to make it to their third straight senior men’s final.
This final was a rematch of the 2019 Navasartian Games when Chicago B won their first championship.
The senior men’s championship trophy is known as the “Mark Alashaian Trophy.” Alashaian was the coach of the New Jersey men’s basketball team for several years. He also coached the Homenetmen Eastern USA Region basketball team at the Pan-Homenetmen Games in Armenia before tragically passing away in 2017. Alashaian was not only an important figure to his basketball team but the entire Homenetmen family. And in heart-warming fashion, for the first time since the trophy was renamed, New Jersey was able to get their championship in honor of their coach. The winning effort was an all-around team performance that would have made Coach Mark proud.
Veteran men (35+)
Teams: New York and Boston
Behind Ari Minassian’s steady shooting, the New York veteran’s team was able to take down Boston in a one-point victory in the finals and earn their gold medal.
Teams: Boston, New York A, New York B, Providence A and Providence B
The offensive juggernaut that was the New York A soccer team won the gold for pee-wee soccer. Led by Sevan Davidian and Paul Nenejian, the New York A team scored 25 goals in just three games to go 3-0. Samo Kechijian and Dante Hairabedian had great tournaments for the Providence A team. With victories over New York B and Boston, Hairabedian and Kechijian got Providence to the final but fell just short to New York A in the championship game.
Teams: New York, Boston, and Montreal
In bantam soccer, New York and Montreal both took care of Boston in group play. In their first match-up, New York edged out a 7-6 victory over Montreal. The rematch in the final was just as close. In an exhilarating final match-up, New York narrowly defeated Montreal again, 5-4. Michael Azatyan and Christopher Simonian delivered exceptional performances to help New York achieve the gold.
Teams: Boston and New York
With two teams in the group, the winner of the tournament was decided by aggregate (combined score after two games). New York dominated the first game 8-2 to give their team a comfortable lead heading to the second leg. While Boston fought back in the second match-up, they ultimately still fell short. Armen Aprahamian and Jack Abajian dominated both games for the New York side to help them win 15-8 on aggregate.
Teams: New Jersey, New York, Boston, Washington and Providence
With five teams in the tournament, the group played a round robin with the top two teams advancing to the final.
On day 1, Washington took down New York 2-1 with Dean Dersimonian netting the game-winner in the second half. Boston beat Providence 4-0 with a strong defensive performance. In the afternoon games, New Jersey comfortably beat Providence behind a hat-trick from Steven Hazarian, and Boston took care of Washington to go 2-0 to start the tournament.
On day 2, New York bounced back from their first loss to get an impressive win over Providence, 8-2, with goals from Tigran Nikoghosyan and Haig Piramzadian. Boston and New Jersey played to a 2-2 draw with goalkeeper Ara Naljian coming up with key saves to preserve the tie for New Jersey. In the evening games, Providence got their first win of the tournament with a 2-1 victory over Washington. New York continued their big day with a win over New Jersey to put themselves into second place in the group going into the final round robin games.
On the final day, Washington beat New Jersey, 5-1 to eliminate them from the tournament. New York and Boston played to a 2-2 draw, setting up for a rematch in the final later that afternoon.
In the championship game, Boston took the lead in the first minute on a goal from Daron Hamparian and assisted by Alex Tavitian. Boston continued to attack, but goalkeeper Alex Mkryan’s timely saves and Gor Badikyan defensive performance kept the score 1-0 going into halftime. Boston eventually broke through and was able to double the lead in the second half with a goal from Tavitian. New York’s Haig Piramzadian’s impressive effort got his team back in the game as they cut the lead in half with time running out. But Boston’s defense, led by Raffi Yaboujian and Kevork Ourfalian, remained consistent throughout the tournament and sealed the 2-1 victory in the final. This was Boston’s seventh senior soccer championship in the last 10 Navasartian Games.
Pool A: Washington, Merrimack Valley, Boston, New York
Pool B: Providence, Chicago, Philadelphia, New Jersey
In pool A, Merrimack Valley comfortably won their group dropping only one set in three games to get to the final.
Chicago, led by Alek Banklian and Ara Emerzian, took care of business in pool B by going 3-0 and setting up a final vs. Merrimack Valley.
Michael Baltayan, Jack Sarkissian and the rest of the Merrimack Valley team continued their dominance in the final by beating Chicago without dropping a set and getting the gold medal—the Hamo Sardarbegians Trophy.
Teams: Boston, Chicago A, New York, Chicago B, Providence and Washington
Pool A: Chicago A, Boston, New York
Pool B: Chicago B, Providence, Washington
Chicago A and Washington both went 2-0 in group play to advance to the semifinal. For the remaining two spots, New York took down Boston, while Chicago B beat out Providence.
In the semifinal, Chicago A knocked out Chicago B, and Washington overwhelmed New York. Neither Chicago A nor Washington dropped a set on their way to the final, and so something had to give in the final. Chicago A (winner of the 2019 Navasartian games), led by Sarine Kalayjian’s strong play, was able to defeat Washington and successfully defend its championship.
60m winner: Aline Mikaelian (Boston)
100m winner: Eva Khalarian (Boston)
200m winner: Aline Mikaelian (Boston)
60m winner: Sarkis Bakirdjian (New York)
100m winner: Sarkis Bakirdjian (New York)
200m winner: Luca Mondolfi (Boston)
60m winner: Violeta Cornea (New York)
100m winner: Violeta Cornea (New York)
200m winner: Violeta Cornea (New York)
60m winner: Gavin Anastasian (New York)
200m winner: Gavin Anastasian (New York)
Junior women :
60m winner: Lilly Karageozian (Albany)
100m winner: Loucine Santana (New Jersey)
Junior men :
60m winner: Saro Karageozian (Albany)
60m winner: Olivia Emerzian (Chicago)
100m winner: Olivia Emerzian (Chicago)
200m winner: Olivia Emerzian (Chicago)
60m winner: Avo Sarkissian (New York)
100m winner: Avo Sarkissian (New York)
200m winner: Avo Sarkissian (New York)
800m winner: Alexander Besnilian (Boston)
60m winner: Vartan Mardirosian (Boston)
100m winner: Vartan Mardirosian (Boston)
200m winner: Vartan Mardirosian (Boston)
800m winner: Lord Sevag Tokatlian (Florida)
Pee-wee 4 x 100 winner: Boston
Junior 4 x 100 winner: Albany
Senior 4 x 100 winner: New York
Under 18 division:
1st place: Tavid Bozadjian (Washington DC)
2nd place: Sareen Seraderian (Boston)
3rd place: Liana Seraderian (Boston)
1st place: Serg Aroush (New Jersey)
2nd place: Rostom Mkrtschian (Providence)
3rd place: Palig Mouradian (Boston)
25-yard free first place: Liana Seraderian (Boston)
25-yard breast first place: Liana Seraderian (Boston)
50-yard free first place: Liana Seraderian (Boston)
50-yard free first place: Vartan Mardirosian (Boston)
50-yard breast first place: Vartan Mardirosian (Boston)
100-yard free first place: Vartan Mardirosian (Boston)
Most improved chapter: Providence
Aram “Sonny” Gavoor Sportsmanship Award: Merrimack Valley
Mark Alashaian senior men’s basketball trophy: New Jersey
Hamo Sardarbegians senior men’s volleyball trophy: Merrimack Valley
1st place: Boston – 86 Points
2nd place: New York – 70 Points
3rd place: Chicago – 22 Points
4th place: Providence – 15 Points
5th place: New Jersey – 14 Points
6th place: Washington – 12 Points
7th place: Montreal – 9 Points
8th place: Merrimack Valley – 7 Points
9th place: Albany – 4 Points
10th place: Philadelphia, Toronto, Florida – 0 Points