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PRINT EDITION Serving South Windsor, Vernon, Tolland Ellington – also serving Enfield, Suffield, Manchester, Glastonbury and Hebron

February 2016 South Windsor’s Stephanie Karlins gets past the East Hartford defender in the Bobcats CCC girls basketball victory. Photo by Matt Stevens

Out Of My Way


Top Performers. page 6

High school photos. pages 7, 13 & 15

Player Spotlight page 19

February 2016

The Sports Department P.O. Box 746, Ellington, CT 06029 860-872-0TSD (0873) • 860-614-5866 • thesportsdept.com


Publisher: Kevin Hayes • kevin@thesportsdept.com Editor: Tim Jensen • Production Manager: Jana Malecek Contributing Writers: Jon Buzby • Reid L Walmark • Danny Atkinson • Kevin Hayes • Steve Smith • Melanie Oliveira


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The other night, during a junior varsity game, a player sat the entire game until, with 30 seconds left and the team up by 12, the coach sent him in so that he could say he played everyone. He stood on the floor while the other team dribbled the clock out. For now, forget the issue that it was a game against a freshman team that the JV team had to use three varsity players to win, and that half the team only played less than a minute. This game was actually an extra game added to the schedule between the two schools in the district, and like any JV game, shouldn’t be played to win at all cost. The real issue here is that it was more embarrassing for the player to enter the game with time running out and the game all but over than it would be to not play at all. By entering the game during the last minute, everyone in the crowd knew that the only reason he was coming in was because he had not played at all. If he had stayed on the bench, with 15 players coming in and out throughout the game, other than his parents, most likely nobody would have noticed he didn’t play.

This coach’s substitution patterns have not made sense all season. The player who did not play at all in the last game started the game before and played almost a half. The game before that, he didn’t play at all. And he’s not the only one to be yanked in and out of the lineup without any reason. But all of that aside, I was hoping that maybe in this extra game, the coach would find it in his heart to play everyone equal time, especially since other than the three players who also play varsity, the rest of the players are all about the same ability. Remember, this was a JV game that really meant nothing, win or lose. But, no such luck. Instead, the same seven kids played most of the game while the other eight got their 2-3 minutes or less, just like during the regular season. Did I mention the team’s record was 7-15? One more reason everyone should have played equal minutes. In my opinion, putting a player in with less than a minute, just to say he played, is not a good idea. Call it what you will; I call it garbage.


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s it really beneficial for a kid who hasn’t played the entire game to put him in with less than a minute to go in a contest that is already decided?

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February 2016

Garbage Time Is Just That

Keith J. Wolff, CFP®, CLU®


February 2016

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Student Athlete of the Month

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Cross Country, Indoor Track, and Outdoor Track

Academic Honors and Awards: I have received Honor Roll every quarter of my high school career and High Honor Roll every quarter of Junior Year and of Senior Year (so far). Athletic Honors and Awards: Two-time All-Conference for Outdoor Track, twotime All-conference for Indoor Track. Part of 2014 Class M State Champion Cross Country team, on multiple top 10 school record lists, 7 Letter Varsity Blanket recipient. How do you prepare before a game/ meet? On the bus ride to a meet, I think about my races and what I have to do in order to be successful, if I need the motivation I might listen to some music. About 45 minutes before the race, I go for my warmup. On the warmup I try to imagine how the race will go and what I should be prepared for.

What are you most looking forward to in regard to your Spring season? With regards to my spring season, I would like to help the boys team win a second NCCC championship so we can complete the “triple crown” for the second year in a row, since we won NCCC’s for Indoor Track and Cross Country. What has been your biggest highlight to date in your high school uniform? My biggest highlight is probably this past Indoor Track NCCC championship meet. I ran the fastest 600 meter race of my life and ran the 3rd fastest in school history. To be considered among this list of athletes is an honor. Who has been your biggest sports influence? My biggest sports influence is probably my parents, they’ve always been accepting of what sports I played and have always believed in me even when I didn’t. Who is your favorite pro or college athlete? My favorite athlete is Jesse Owens. He broke a lot of barriers in the sport. From setting three world records in the span of 45 minutes, winning four gold medals in the 1936 Berlin Olympics, and having to deal with the discrimination because of the color of his skin. He is a big inspiration for me. What are your plans beyond high school? I plan on attending either Penn State, University of Maryland, or UConn for a degree in Mechanical Engineering.

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How I prepare for a game: I try to get something to eat with the guys on the team before the start of a game. Then 60 Village Place•Glastonbury,two CThours 06033•860.266.6030 I’ll usually listen to my music to try and get trainer@ctsportsandfitness.com•www.ctsportsandfitness.com focused before going to the gym. Most exciting moment of this past Jack Twardy season: Getting the opportunity to play for the league championship. Basketball Most memorable moment as a high school athlete: Either coming back to win at RHAM and getting the assist for the game winning three with 20 seconds left or upsetting Weaver who was ranked 2nd in the state and won the Class M championship Academic accomplishments: 3.8 GPA, my junior year. National Honors Society member Favorite pro or college athlete: Kemba Athletic accomplishments: 2015 All- Walker Tournament team (Artie Kohs tournament), College plans: I’ve committed to play Eblens Pre-season Hoop Classic all-star basketball next year at St. Lawrence game University

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Student Athlete of the Month Emma Hazel Gymnastics

Academic Honors and Awards: High honors second quarter of this year, Honors first quarter. Athletic accomplishments: I’m just a freshman, but my best athletic accomplishments so far this year have probably just been balancing RHAM gymnastics with the club gymnastics I do,

and improving with RHAM as the season has gone along. I just scored a 9.3 on vault in our last meet, so that was very encouraging. How I prepare for a meet: I try to motivate my teammates for the meet as much as possible and visualize the competitions I am going to do in my head. Most exciting moment of this past season: The team winning my very first high school meet against Conard felt very exciting. Favorite Events: Vault is probably my best event, but my favorite to perform is definitely bars. High School Goals: I just want to get better all-around in the next three years and continue to motivate my teammates. I will hopefully be captain as a senior.


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Student Athlete of the Month Sam Gagnon Basketball and Baseball

Academic Honors and Awards: Member of National Honor Society, Member of National Business Honor Society Athletic accomplishments: CCC AllAcademic Team 2014 How I prepare for a game: I make sure I eat a good meal about four hours before the game. I also get in a quick work out and make sure that I am well hydrated. I also

listen to the same songs before every game to get mentally prepared as well. Most exciting moment of this past season: The most exciting moment of this season would have to be when we beat Bloomfield at home. This was a big win for us and has given us a lot of momentum for the rest of the season. Most memorable moment as a high school athlete: My most memorable moment of the season was against Hartford Public at home. It was a hard fought game that we won. I ended the game with 13 points, 14 rebounds, and 7 blocks. Favorite pro or college athlete: My favorite pro athlete would have to be Paul Pierce. I admire his passion when he plays and his never wavering will to win. College plans: I am going to attend Eastern Connecticut State University and play baseball for them.



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February 2016 PRINT EDITION


TOP PERFORMERS By Nate Zielinsky The Sports Department Top High School Basketball Teams Continuing to Rely on Multiple Players The area has no shortage of solid boys and girls basketball teams this season, but the best clearly have one attribute in common: leaders who always play well and can consistently take over games. Behind the dynamic duo of sophomore big women Mary Baskerville and Danielle Delano, 17-0 Enfield is closing in on an undefeated regular season. Baskerville is averaging 15.4 points, 8.4 rebounds and 4.9 blocks per game as of February 10. She has scored in double figures every game, and recorded double-doubles in three of the Raiders past four wins. Delano is averaging 14.8 points, 4.8 assists and 4.2 steals per game. Over the past three games, Delano has averaged over 16 points and six assists. The South Windsor girls squad is 12-3 thanks to the work of point guard Alex Goslin and forward Molly Murphy. Goslin recently scored her 1000th-career point during a 22-point performance in a win against East Hartford, becoming the third player in Bobcats program history to Mary Baskerville do so. The senior also scored 27 points in a win against RHAM on February 1st. Fellow senior Murphy scored 19 and had 11 rebounds and five steals in the same win, and scored 25 in the team’s following game. While Mya Villard has been the main catalyst for 18-0 Cromwell, Araya Lessard has been a stalwart sidekick. Villard, a senior center, is averaging 14.1 points and 10.3 rebounds per game, and has recorded seven consecutive double-doubles. She also broke the 1,000-point mark two weeks ago against Portland. Fellow senior Lessard is scoring just under 10 points per game, and has averaged over 13 points the past three contests. The 9-3 East Catholic boys squad has seen the emergence of freshman guard Joe Reilly alongside junior star forward Mike McGuirl. Reilly has had multiple 20-point games in the last month, including consecutive wins against Manchester and Hartford Public. McGuirl has returned from injury to have a series of great games, including 29 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists against Hartford Public and a quadruple-double (22 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists and 10 steals) against Manchester. The 12-5 RHAM boys team is playing its best basketball of the season, winning four games in a row. During the hot streak, seniors Brodey Coutant and Sam Gagnon have controlled the perimeter and the paint. Coutant scored 18 and 16 points against South Windsor and Fermi, resepctively, while Gagnon scored 15 and grabbed 11 rebounds against Bloomfield. Sam Gagnon

Indoor Track The Tolland High girls long distance runners dominated at the CCC Championships on January 30th. Junior Kat DeLoreto won the 1000 and 1600 meter races with times of 3:03.71 and 5:20.20., respectively, while fellow junior Hayley Collins won the 3200 in 11:16.35. Senior Julia Sprout won the 600 meters in 1:39.77. Junior pole vaulter Amy-Erin Zadroga also had a day to remember, vaulting 10-3 to set a new meet record. East Catholic senior Abby Gothers was also a winner, taking the high jump title with a leap of 5-4. On the boys side, Glastonbury senior Randy Neish cemented his legacy as one of the best long distance runners in the Northeast while leading the Tomahawks to the team title, winning the 1000, 1600 and 3200 meter races. The senior ran a meet-record time of 4:24.84 in the 1600, and won the 1000 in 2:35.74 and the 3200 in 9:52.81. Senior teammate Jason Kelly won the pole vault with a mark of 11-6. Hockey Suffield/Granby/Windsor Locks has established itself as the area’s best team with a record of 10-3-1 behind senior forwards Colin MacDougald and Dan Bahl. MacDougald leads the team in points with 21(10 goals, 11 assists), while Bahl leads in goals with 11. MacDougald has scored at least one point in every match and scored twice recently in a win against Woodstock, while Bahl had a monster day against Conard on January 22nd, recording both three goals and assists. Sophomore goalies Patrick Green and Dan DeGagne have both been very strong, both allowing a goals against averaging of 1.9.

Honorable Mention

Andrew Jaworski, Tolland boys basketball-The junior guard had a triple-double on January 30 in a win against Fermi. He finished with 16 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists, and followed it with 25 points and 13 rebounds against Bristol Eastern in a win. Chavon George, Windsor Locks boys basketball-Sophomore point guard is averaging 19.5 points per game; has scored 44 points in the Falcons past two games against Suffield and Enfield. Nick Casiano, Rocky Hill boys basketball-The junior averaged 32 points in three games during the final week of January. McKenzie Rusczyk, Suffield girls basketball-Junior guard is averaging 17 points per game; scored 27 against East Windsor on January 29. Caitlyn Gresh, Ellington girls basketball-Junior averaged 17 points and seven assists in the Knights last two wins, grabbing six steals against Granby. Tori Weatherwax, Windsor Locks girls basketball-Averaging 13.4 points per game for the Falcons, has scored in double figures in every game but one. Michael Stoker and Kaitlin Bakas, South Windsor track-Stoker finished second in the 3200 and third in the 1600 at the CCC Championships, while fellow senior Bakas was runnerup in the 1000 and third in the 1600. Scott Swan, South Windsor hockeyThe senior forward has scored 12 goals and has 18 points overall. Caitlyn Gresh

February 2016 7



Tolland’s Sammie Matteo brings the ball upcourt vs Fermi.

Photos by Matt Stevens Glastonbury’s Trevor Suydam makes a break for it as he moves the puck up the ice.

more photos online



TheSportsDept.com has TONS of great action shots online. This month's collection of games features: Ellington vs East Windsor girls basketball South Windsor vs E.O. Smith boys basketball South Windsor vs East Hartford girls basketball Glastonbury vs Notre Dame Fairfield ice hockey Glastonbury vs Conard girls basketball Tolland vs Ellington boys basketball Tolland vs Fermi girls basketball

To see these games and much more visit www.TheSportsDept.com and click "Photo Gallery" button at the top of the page

February 2016 PRINT EDITION



Caffeine in Athletics Matthew Leeds MS, ATC, LAT Athletic Trainer, Ellington HS


t’s hard to go a day without seeing numerous students walking to or from school with their iced coffees in hand. “America runs on Dunkin’,” and apparently so does today’s youth. “I need my coffee” is a phrase you will hear more often than not. But when it comes to athletics, should you withhold from consuming caffeine prior to sports participation? For the purposes of this article I will focus on sources of caffeine from coffee and energy drinks, and their effects on the student athlete. As a collegiate athlete and now a Certified Athletic Trainer in the secondary school setting, it is far too common to find an athlete consuming coffee or energy drinks prior to practice or a game. “It gives me energy,”

or “helps me focus” are the common thought processes. The “energy” that the athlete feels is non-nutritional, and is not actually “energy.” Your body generates its fuel from the foods you consume. The energy rush felt is from caffeine which is a stimulant.

Stimulants at the NCAA level are banned substances from sports participation, even in small amounts. According to the NCAA, it is illegal to have a urine concentration greater than 15 ug/ml. Caffeine is a stimulant which gives you the feeling of energy, but it is short-lived. Unfortunately, banned substances are far less regulated at the high school level. We must rely on educating these athletes To play at your best, there is no subon what they should and shouldn’t be stitute for hydrating throughout the day and eating balanced meals. Sports putting into their bodies. drinks like Gatorade can be used during Caffeine affects different parts of your prolonged exercise to help rehydrate body as it is absorbed. One of the and replenish lost electrolytes, but


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more important aspects is that caffeine is a diuretic, meaning it increases urination. This can increase the likelihood of dehydration depending on how much sweating the athlete does. As stated by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), caffeine can also lead to increases in heart rate and blood pressure, upset stomach, dizziness and decreased performance. During competition, your heart rate will be higher - there is no need to ingest something that will make your heart beat even faster and work harder than it is used to. The AAP also goes on to state that caffeine consumption can cause heart arrhythmias (abnormal heart beat). Some of these symptoms can occur from just a cup or two of coffee. Popular energy drinks can contain as much caffeine as up to 15 cups of coffee.










should not be used as the only means of hydrating. Try to avoid processed food, and make sure you eat 3-4 hours before competition, giving yourself enough time to digest and absorb the nutrients from the food.

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Southern Connecticut State swimmer Tyler Vander Vos and Bentley University diver Colton Bridge both won events at the Northeast -10 Conference Swimming and Diving Championships in Worcester, Ma. from February 4th-7th, with Vander Vos winning multiple races. Vander Vos, a sophomore who previously starred at South Windsor High School, helped lead SCSU capture the 2016 Northeast-10 championship - its sixth straight - by winning one individual race (the 200yard freestyle) and serving on four winning relay teams. On the first day of the championships, the Owls 800yard freestyle relay team, led off by Vander Vos, finished first with a time of 6:48.05, setting a new conference record in the process. The second day, Vos was part of the winning 400 medley relay team, swimming butter- Colton Bridge fly. The third day, Vander Vos won the 200 free, breaking the conference reprocess. Bridge also won a bronze medal cord he set last year with a time of 1:39.57. in the three-meter competition with a score He also served on his squads winning 200 of 376.70. Bentley finished second overall. freestyle relay team, which again set a conference record with a finish of 1:21.29. Women’s Basketball Vander Vos and his fellow 400 free relay Albertus Magnus sophomore forward members left a flourish on the champion- Olivia Bolden has made a huge leap in her ships final day by setting one more confer- second season. The former South Windence record in 3:01.24. sor standout is averaging a team-leading In diving, Bridge, who competed at 17.3 points per game and 6.9 rebounds for Tolland High School, won the one-meter the 14-7 Falcons through February 10th. diving competition on day two. The se- Bolden has failed to score in double-fignior recorded a winning score of 427.80, ures in just four games, and had argudefeating three-time defending champion ably her best game of the season in the Josh Byrne of Le Moyne College in the team’s last contest at Lasell on February

Mar. 15

Brianna Bishop 6th. Bolden scored 31 points, shooting 10-of-16 from the field and grabbing 10 rebounds in a 73-50 victory. American International College guard Brianna Bishop is having another strong year in her final season. The senior has been a major catalyst for the 19-4 Yellow Jackets, leading them in points per game with 14.1 and assists with 2.3. Bishop, who attended Suffield High School, recently rebounded from a couple of off games to lead AIC on a four-game win streak. During the stretch, she has averaged over 15 points and just under five assists. Western New England junior forward Emily Anderson of Rocky Hill is second on the 13-8 Golden Bears in points per game with 11.8….University of Hartford sophomore forward Janelle Harrison of Cromwell is third on the Hawks in points per game with 6.3. Men’s Basketball The Eastern Connecticut trio of Tarchee Brown, Trachone Preston and Hugh Lindo have continued to be a force to be reckoned with for opponents of the 14-7 Warriors. Brown a sophomore guard who starred at Rockville High, leads Eastern in points per game with 18.2 and is shooting just under 48 percent from the field. Brown

February 2016

Tyler Vander Vos

and Lindo, who played together at Enfield High, rank second and third on the squad in points per game at 15 and 11.4, respectively. Lindo, a junior forward, is shooting 52.5% from the field, and is averaging a double-double per game with 10.9 rebounds and leads the Warriors in both blocks and steals. Brown and Preston each had one of their best games of the season in Eastern’s most recent win against Plymouth State, with Brown scoring 19 points and grabbing 10 rebounds and Preston scoring 17 while handing out six assists. The game was a quiet one for Lindo, snapping a streak of 10 consecutive double-doubles. Southern New Hampshire senior forward BJ Cardarelli is averaging 11.5 points per game for the 15-8 Penmen. The former East Catholic star has been highly reliable, scoring in double figures in 12 of the team’s last 13 games.


By Danny Atkinson The Sports Department



Hockey Trinity junior forward Ethan Holdaway leads the 15-4 Bantams in goals with 11 and is second on the squad in points with 18. The Glastonbury High alum scored in a loss at Williams on February 5th and had an assist the next day at Middlebury…. UConn senior forward and Rocky Hill native Patrick Kirtland is fourth on the Huskies in points with 15….Assumption junior forward Stephen Picard has scored eight goals and recorded 11 points for the Greyhounds. Wrestling Western New England junior Brian Donovan performed well at the City of Springfield Championship on February 3rd. Donovan, who attended Manchester High, went 2-1 in the 197-pound division, helping the Golden Bears finish second overall.

February 2016 PRINT EDITION


By Reid L. Walmark The Sports Department

Art Wheelock - the longtime varsity baseball coach at Rockville High School in Vernon - knew it would be an honor enough just being selected for the high school’s athletic Hall of Fame second induction class in 2014. But he wasn’t quite expecting a special, personalized tribute from a former player that accompanied it. When Matt Valentino, an All-State player in 1992 as a senior, learned of Wheelock’s honor, he posted a note on social media, thanking Wheelock for showing confidence in him as a pinch-hitter in a state playoff game. As a sophomore, Valentino was sent to the plate for a senior captain during a rally. Valentino struck out with two runners on down two runs. But it wasn’t the end of the world. Valentino became a Rams’ captain and later played for four years at Northeastern University. Fifteen year olds are impressionable, regardless of how much maturity. Wheelock left his mark on Valentino. Coaching high school sports isn’t all teaching the game and trying

to win. It’s primarily molding young athletes to meet challenges they’ll encounter as adults, not just what they’ll face on the field or gym in high school. “He just thanked me for having the confidence in him to pinch-hit,” said Wheelock, whose last year as baseball coach, his 36th, was in 2013. “I get emotional when I think about it. [Former] players still call me.” Wheelock started Pee Wee Baseball in town for five, six and seven year olds in 1987, taught Physical Education at the high school for 42 years and still supervises the Coach’s Crew for athletes in need of non-athletic skills – and work – during the summer, as well as continuing unofficially to mentor Rams athletes. For all his contributions, Wheelock has been named Community MVP for February by The Sports Department. Wheelock, 65, a lifelong Vernon resident, still is involved with Coach’s Crew, Pee Wee Baseball and mentoring. He serves on the RHS athletic Hall of Fame board. Three Rams’ baseball teams reached CIAC state finals (LL in 1981, 1999), with Rockville winning the 2000 Class

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L title. Wheelock still does security for Rockville football and boys basketball games, and once did so for girls basketball. In 2014-15, Wheelock was the assistant coach for the Rockville Post 14 American Legion baseball team, helping his head coach son, Nick. Wheelock guides the Coach’s Crew, up to five athletes, for summertime maintenance work (weeding, pruning, mowing, etc.) on many of the town’s 82 parks and schools, properties that are not high on the full-time staff’s priority list. “We have so many programs that it’s important we have staff that can work independently,” the town’s Parks and Recreation Director Bruce Dinnie said of Wheelock running Coach’s Crew. “If something is needed, he’s very successful at knowing how to get it done.” Wheelock is best known as the Rams baseball coach. “I was pretty demanding. Tom Penders [East Catholic’s iconic coach] said he wished he could be as vocal as me,” Wheelock said. “I demand-

ed the players give back something to the community. They were there every Saturday for the [Pee Wee Baseball] program.” Wheelock graduated from the high school in 1968, playing basketball and serving as captain for the football and baseball teams. He played football and baseball for four years at West Virginia Wesleyan. Valentino’s actions do not surprise Rams baseball coach Greg Caron, who was Wheelock’s assistant for three years before taking over. “Art is a rare breed. They just don’t make people like him anymore,” said Caron, who played for Wheelock. “He’s passionate, intense and as loyal as they come. He loves the town of Vernon. He loves the students and student-athletes of Vernon. He would do anything for them. “On the field, you will not find anyone more focused and intense. He pushed you like you wouldn’t believe. That includes both on and off the field. He wanted you to be the best you could be. He was tough in every way, but it made everyone successful. He mixed that with good relationships with his players and a great sense of humor that drew everyone to him.”

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February 2016 PRINT EDITION


Three Local Football Players Commit to Play in College


wo football players from Glastonbury High School and one from East Catholic officially committed to playing college football starting next season. While Glastonbury’s Keyion Dixon has understandably gotten most of the attention for his commitment Keyion Dixon to UConn, teammate Sam Pirsig has committed to play at Central Connecticut. East Catholic’s Chris Amata has committed to play at Middlemain factor in his choice. bury College. “I chose UConn due to the home facThree additional Glastonbury play- tor,” Dixon said. “Having Rentschler ers could also compete in col- Field so close to my home and UColege. Frank Palowicz will officially nn coaches living in Glastonbury, I commit to either Curry College or felt like I didn’t have to go far away to Western Connecticut very soon, get the best opportunity for me and Alex Fahey will definitely play for my future. UConn has made me feel a Division 3 program and Jake like part of a family.” Madnick is weighing the decision Dixon said that his family and Glastonof whether to play football at Mid- bury teammates and head coach dlebury in addition to lacrosse. Scott Daniels gave him valuable adDixon was outstanding at quarter- vice and support during the recruiting back for Glastonbury as a junior process. Dixon credited Daniels for and senior, earning All-State hon- emphasizing which schools would be ors. UConn began recruiting Dix- a good fit for Dixon both on the field on early on in the process, and he and in the classroom. verbally committed to the Huskies The 6-3, 180-pound Dixon is expectin December. For Dixon, playing ed to play wide receiver at UConn, close to home and for a program where he could be a good fit due to he was highly familiar with was the his speed and athleticism. Dixon is

Area Scoring Leaders - Boys BB

Leading scorers as reported to The Sports Department

Andrew Jaworski-Tolland High School-20 ppg Kewan Smoot, Jr.-South Windsor High School-19.1 ppg Bailey Bassett, Ellington 15.5 ppg Micah Fox, Ellington 14.3 ppg Shane Young, Jr.-South Windsor High School-14.7 ppg Ian Halpin-Glastonbury High School-14 ppg Jake Arruda-Suffield High School- 13.4 ppg Jack Twardy-Glastonbury High School-13 ppg David Busch-Tolland High School-12 ppg Sam Flynn-Suffield High School- 11.6 ppg Jake Cichon-Rockville High School-9.5 ppg Romeo Sowah-Rockville High School-7.5 ppg

confident he can make a smooth transition to receiver. “I feel comfortable in open space, and because I’ve played quarterback, I feel like I will know how to put myself in the best position to get the ball,” he said. “My speed and leaping ability will help the Huskies.” “Keyion will need to get acclimated to catching footballs from QBs at that level, but I am confident he will adjust fine,” Daniels said. “Keyion is a quick learner.” Pirsig committed to play at Central Connecticut at the end of last week, a few days after the official Signing Day of February 2nd. Pirsig, who was named an All-State offensive lineman as a senior, was recruited by a number of programs in New England. “CCSU was my top choice since the start of my junior year,” Pirsig said. “I attended two of their summer camps and the coaches welcomed me with open arms and were very helpful. My speed after the ball is snapped and my agility are skills that I hope will be an asset to the program.” “I feel Sam’s skill set will be a good fit at CCSU, and they are very high on his potential,” Daniels said. “He plays quick off the line of scrimmage, and that is needed at that level.”

Sam Pirsig

According to East Catholic head coach Steve Calande, Amata, who mainly played outside linebacker as a senior at East Catholic, had Middlebury at the top of his list from the start of the recruiting process. “Chris is a winner with a highly positive outlook,” Calande said. “With his leadership skills and work ethic, he will make an immediate impact at Middlebury,” Calande said. “I bet he will be calling defensive signals before too long.”

Area Scoring Leaders - Girls BB

Leading scorers as reported to The Sports Department Alex Goslin, South Windsor 21.5 ppg Molly Murphy, South Windsor, 19.7 ppg Mary Baskerville, Enfield 15.1 ppg McKenzie Rusczyk, Suffield 14.1 ppg Tori Weatherwax, Fermi, 13.5 ppg Lia Baroncini, RHAM 13.9 ppg Erin Hayes, Ellington, 12.2 ppg Raelynn Voislow, Windsor Locks 10.6 ppg Cam Hendricks, Glastonbury 10.0 ppg Aleigha Partee, Glatonbury, 10.0 ppg Emily Renzoni, Somers, 8.0 ppg Taylor Hall, Tolland 7.9 ppg

February 2016 13



Ellington’s Shannon-Maguire looks for some room inside vs East Windsor.

Maddie-Seymour of Glastonbury sizes up the defender.

Manchester’s Derrick Molden turns the corner against Rockville.

more photos online


Photos by Matt Stevens

Enfield’s Cat Fonseca runs the offense for the Raiders. Photo by Prestige-Lifetouch

Madi-Lemire of Ellington goes high for the ball.

February 2016 PRINT EDITION


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February 2016 15



South Windsor’s Molly Murphy finds the open teammate.

Photos by Matt Stevens South Windsor’s Shane Young gets some air time as he drives to the hoop.

Rockville’s Lindsay Montminy and Manchester’s Natalie Pacheco battle for position.

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crosse/soccer field and tennis courts at Schwartz Park adjacent to Ellington High School.

The vote passed thanks in large part to Senator Tim Larson, Senate President Martin M. Looney and Governor Danell P. Malloy.

“I want to thank the Governor for placing this important project on the Bond Commission’s agenda,” said Sen. Larson. “This investment of state funds will ensure Ellington has proper facilities at its high school and take pressure off of other fields around town. I’m very excited that we were able to get this done for our community.”

The construction of a turf field, as well as lights, will support a greater demand for their use and relieve the overuse of exist grass fields in the town.

Any high school athletes dream is to play under the lights in front of their home crowd and now Ellington student athletes are one step closer to being able to experience that.

The request was for the installation of a turf soccer/football/lacrosse field and lights for an existing football/lacrosse/soccer field at Ellington High School. In addition, the project will provide lighting at a football/la-

“Ellington has a lot of grass fields in town and we have to rest these fields to keep them in good shape,” said Chris Weitz, President of Ellington Football Booster Club. “This project will take a lot of school sports and recreation sports

and put them on a turf field that won’t need rest and allow us to rotate resting fields in town. This is a really good thing for the town. Thanks to Senator Larson for helping get this for us. Really a great model for how politicians can work with their community. I’m so appreciative of all his help in getting these funds. We have been working on this for a number of years and without his help this would have been a real uphill battle.”

a revised STEAP grant request has been submitted on behalf of the town in the amount of $250,000 to help bridge that funding gap. The remaining funding will come from “in-kind” town services and private monies.

The estimated cost of the overall project is close to $1.4 million so additional funding will still be necessary in order to see the After the vote was passed, Ellington Booster Club president project to fruition. Cyndi Costanzo, Governor Dannel P Malloy, Chris Weitz, According to Weitz, Ellington Football Booster president all posed for a picture.


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February 2016

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February 2016 PRINT EDITION



Malin Named To HOF East Catholic High School athletic director and longtime coach Tom Malin has been elected to the NHSACA National Hall of Fame. Malin was selected for this national honor by Connecticut’s High School Coaches Association. This selection was based on longevity, service to high school athletics, honors and other specific criteria. Coach Malin will now be added to this illustrious list of coaches in honor of his outstanding career including 40 years as East Catholic’s boy’s soccer coach (retired) which included an impressive 369-255-70 record; two state championships, one state runner-up

Strong Drive for EHS hoops The Ellington High School boys basketball program recently concluded a winter food drive to benefit the Ellington Food Pantry. All three teams – freshman, junior varsity and varsity –participated in the effort. Varsity captains Bailey Bassett, Micah Fox and Mark Hickman made the presentation to the Food Pantry earlier this month. Gorman earns All State and Scholarship awards Ellington’s Allison Gorman was recently awarded All-State honors for girls soccer and was awarded a select scholarship only offered to six high school girls in the state of Connecticut. Gorman was just one of 24 girls to make the All-State team for the Class M division. Her outstanding play also earned

finish and five state semi-finalist finishes. Malin has also served as the boys’ golf coach for the last 35 years with an impressive 510-283-17 record that includes 10 state championships and two state runners-up. Combined, Malin has accumulated a staggering 879 career wins to go along with 12 state titles. Coach Malin will be retiring from East Catholic in June after 43 years of service. This year’s induction ceremony for the Class of 2016 will take place at the National High School Athletic Coaches Association’s National Convention at the Galt House in Louisville, KY on June 28th. This year’s class includes thirty coaches from sixteen states across the nation.

cont. reading page 19

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Academic Honors and Awards: Honor Roll every semester of High School, High Honor roll for multiple semesters. Athletic Honors and Awards: Bo Kolinsky Female Athlete of the Year, All American Honors, All New England Honors, All State Honors, All Conference Honors How do you prepare before a game/meet? I eat a good, nutritious breakfast, either oatmeal pancakes or eggs with toast. I stay well hydrated and relaxed. I also love to listen to motivational speeches from YouTube. What are you most looking forward to in regard to your spring season? I am looking forward to start competing and racing again. I am also looking forward to just spending time with my teammates and making more memories. What has been your biggest highlight to date in your high school uniform? There have been so many amazing things that have happened in my Tolland uniform

and I am so thankful that I have gotten the opportunity to be on such and amazing team. The highlight would probably be wining State Opens for all three seasons, Cross Country, Indoor, and Outdoor track. Accomplishing that with my teammates will always be something I hold on to. Who has been your biggest sports influence? My biggest sports influence is my older sister Kelsey who is now running for UConn. She was the one who taught me all the basics when it came to sports. She built up my strength and made me a tough competitor. She would bring me to the backyard when we were little, and we would always play one on one soccer. She beat me every single time, and when I always wanted to quit and go inside, she made me stay out and work on sprints, or some other drill. Who is your favorite pro or college athlete? Jenny Simpson (runner) is my favorite pro athlete. She is very tough and works really hard. She is definitely someone who I look up to when competing. What are your plans beyond high school? I am going to run at James Madison University in Virginia next fall. It was definitely the best fit for me, academically, athletically and socially. I am so excited to be apart of its team next year.

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Allison Gorman her a spot on the 2015 Senior Bowl roster where talented girls from across the state were able to display their skills Gorman was a staple for the Ellington soccer team this season, and her pres-

By Nate Zielinski


Rockville player finding success as Simsbury coach For Simsbury JV boys basketball coach Brian O’Gara, coaching wasn’t always option number one but a love for the game and a passion to mold young players in better basketball players is what has led to his success in his first few years. O’Gara, a graduate from Springfield College, originally went to school to study

Coach O’Gara

Player Spotlight

ur player spotlight for the month of February is the one catalysts for one of the strongest girls’ teams in the state. Molly Murphy, a senior forward from South Windsor, is averaging 19.7 points and 9 rebounds a game and hoping to lead her team right back to the Class LL State Championship game. Last year, the Bobcats fell one win short, but this year has been all business to accomplish their ultimate goal. It gave the team a confidence that they could compete with anyone while letting them know work needed to be done. “The loss in the championship game is definitely a motivating factor for this season,” Murphy said. “It pushes the team to practice with a high level of intensity every day and we use each game to continuously improve as a unit.” At 16-3, Murphy and her team are in excellent position to capitalize on another great opportunity to make an ex-

Molly Murphy

tended run in the state tournament. The team’s focus has been taking the season one game at a time. That approach along

O’Gara coached the RHS freshman team for two years, and while on the Varsity staff there he helped them reach the playoffs for the first time five years. His record as the JV coach of Simsbury is 11-5 in his first season. Two of O’Gara’s mentors are Rockville Coach Nate Martins and Simsbury coach Greg Stillman. “Both are people I talk to if I have questions or need advice as they have multiple years coaching and great insight to the game,” said O’Gara. Coach O’Gara always has high expectations for his players and is always trying to make them better and prepare them for when they make the next step to the Varsity level.

with a concerted effort when it comes to defensive intensity is why Murphy believes they have been so successful again this season. “Coach Don Leclerc puts a lot of emphasis on defense, so I think that has been a big factor in many of our wins because when we work hard defensively it gets the momentum going in our favor,” Murphy said. For Murphy, listening to music is what gets her going before every game. Getting into that aggressive mindset and clearing her head is what Murphy tries to focus on specifically. To avoid any nerves or tightness, the team always meets in the locker room before every game and keep it light with a pre-game talk and a joke from their coach. Murphy’s stats are undeniably impressive, but surprisingly, a team first mentality is what leads to her stuffing the stat sheet. While averaging almost a double-double, Murphy focuses on defense and rebounding and lets her offensive

game take care of itself. “This season I realized how crucial rebounding really is because it takes away second chance opportunities for the other team, and my mindset heading into a game is usually just to focus on the defensive side of the court, and with that the offensive side will typically come,” Murphy said. As for an inspiration, Molly looks no further than her father, as that is the athlete she looks up to most. Her father was also a talented basketball player and taught Murphy the game when she was younger. “I try to be as aggressive and successful as he was when he played,” Murphy said. Murphy is still undecided about where she wants to go to college, but whether she chooses to play basketball or just focus on studying oncology, Murphy’s focus never waivers. “I’m just aiming to be successful in whatever path I ultimately choose,” Murphy said.

February 2016

physical education but began coaching at Rockville High School. Once he knew it was something he wanted to pursue long term he minored in Coaching. “I did it more as a favor and to help coach my brother who was on the team,” said O’Gara. “I found out quickly that I actually really enjoyed coaching and would make the commute from Springfield to Hartford every weekend to coach.”


ence will certainly will be missed. On top of the athletic honors, Gorman was awarded a scholarship from the Connecticut Girls Soccer Coaches Association for $750.



February 2016



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Profile for Tsd Publisher

The Sports Department February 2016 Edition  

The Sports Department February 2016 Edition

The Sports Department February 2016 Edition  

The Sports Department February 2016 Edition