Drew Kron, a senior at Xavier High School, has committed to play baseball and continue his education at the University of Connecticut.
Kron, who was born and raised in Hebron, recently made his commitment official, electing to continue his passion in the Nutmeg State.
“As a kid I was always thinking I wanted to leave Connecticut and go as far away as possible, but as I got older and more schools started talking to me I thought playing in Connecticut wouldn’t be so bad. I wanted the hometown feeling and that feeling of representing the state,” said Kron, who plans to major in finance at UConn.
Kron added that his decision came down to the Huskies coaching staff, led by longtime head coach Jim Penders, who will be entering his 19th season at Storrs, and is the all-time winningest coach in the program history with 606 wins.
“Coach Penders and the whole coaching staff were very knowledgeable, very personable guys,” said Kron, who originally made a verbal commitment to the university in the summer of 2020. “When I committed they were building the brand new baseball facility and now it’s done. It’s absolutely beautiful and one of a kind.”
Staying in the Northeast and getting an experience similar to the Power Five Conference schools was important for Kron, who comes from an athletically gifted family.
His older sisters where both outstanding athletes at RHAM High School. Hanna Kron, a 2017-graduate, was level-5 cheerleader and Gretchen Kron, a 2018-graduate, was a three-time All-State soccer player in high school. Gretchen is currently a senior at Quinnipiac University where she is a four-year member of the Bobcats soccer team.
Along with being a stud baseball player at Xavier, Kron was the starting quarterback for the Falcons football team since he was a sophomore.
Because of COVID, he lost his sophomore season on the diamond and his junior season on the gridiron. Kron used the hardship as motivation and responded with an All-State baseball season as a junior and an All-Southern Connecticut Conference (SCC) selection following his senior season this fall in football.
“You take less stuff for granted once things are taken away from you. You realize how much it means to you as a person,” Kron said of the cancellations. “Getting baseball canceled was definitely tough but it allowed me to get stronger and work on my craft and I was able to play baseball during the summer. Then football got canceled and honestly that was the tougher one because it was back-to-back seasons and it was over a year of not playing a competitively in high school.”
Kron, who is also the Senior Class President at Xavier, is looking forward to one more season with his high school teammates this spring. He said the team is motivated by the first-round exit against Shelton from a season ago in the opening round of the 2021 Class LL tournament.
The accomplished outfielder will lead a strong set of bats and high-profile pitcher Tyler Hartley will be the team’s ace on the mound. The Falcons are aiming to make up for the last three years, which featured a pair of early exits and the canceled season.
“My freshman year we lost on a walk-off against Newington and last year we were winning the whole game until we blew the lead in the last couple innings. It was tough for the team but we are going to bounce back from it,” he said.
Baseball has become a nearly year round gig for Kron, who previously played in the summer for the Connecticut Rivals and spent last summer playing with the Connecticut Arrows in the Connecticut Collegiate Baseball League (CCBL).
The extensive baseball has prepared him for his next stop at Storrs, playing collegiately in the Big East Conference.
Along with the competition of Division I baseball, Kron said he’s also excited about the life on the road, adding “It’s pretty exciting seeing the strength of schedule that UConn has. That’s the coolest part, being able to see different parts of the country and playing at different universities.”
East Hampton senior cheerleading captain Emma Lanzi with head coach Alexa Paddock (right) and assistant coach Kate Adams during Senior Night on Jan. 22
Here are the Rivereast Standout Athletes of the Week for the Week of Jan. 17-23:
Emma Lanzi – East Hampton High School (Cheerleading): Lanzi, who is a captain and the only senior on the Bellringers cheer squad, was recognized on Senior Night at East Hampton High School last week. She has been cheering for a decade, starting with the East Hampton Hawks youth cheer at the age of seven. Lanzi, who has also played softball at the high school, said she approached this year knowing she would be the leader, adding, “The best part about our cheer team is how close we all got and we have become like sisters. Sometimes I feel as if I am like a mom to them.”
Sarah West - RHAM High School (Basketball): West scored a game-high 18 points as the Raptors ripped through Rocky Hill 69-39 on Jan. 18. The junior then had 20 of the team’s 33 points, including a half-court shot to beat the third quarter buzzer, in the following game against Conard on Jan. 21. In the two games, West also combined for 16 rebounds, 10 blocks, seven assists, and five steals.
Ashton Oakliff - Portland High School (Wrestling): Oakliff won all four of his matches as Portland hosted a multi-school meet on Jan. 22. The senior was one of four Highlander wrestlers to win all four matches, joining Andrew Johnson, Spencer Rosado, and Griffin Shafer. Owen Brunk and Ethan Dean each won three of four matches.
lijah Black - Bacon Academy High School (Basketball): Black scored 20 points as the Bobcats downed Norwich Tech 62-46 on Jan. 20. The junior had help from senior Quinn Johnson, who added 15 points in the victory. It was the team’s second victory in a row, also beating Griswold (50-44) on Jan. 18 behind 11 points from Sam Blumberger and Ryan Claffey’s nine-point, 15-rebound performance.
To nominate someone for an Athlete of the Week or with any questions or comments on sports-related topics, email Josh Howard at firstname.lastname@example.org
Portland's #2 Harrison Collins is defended by Gianluca Albert during Cromwell's 55-51 victory on Jan. 18.
The boys’ basketball team at Portland High School suffered a hard-fought conference loss against undefeated Cromwell, 55-51, on Jan. 18 before responding with wins over Simsbury and East Hampton last week.
At Cromwell, the Highlanders played with a sense of urgency from the opening tip and used a swarming, press defense to hold the Panthers to 15 points in the first half, taking a seven-point lead into the break
They relinquished the lead in the second half before coming back and almost stealing the game in the final minute.
“Overall I love the way my boys fought and I want them to hold their heads high,” said Portland head coach David Bradbury.
Eli Evison scored 11 of his team-high 18 points over the first 16 minutes. The 6’6'' forward showcased an ability to dominate down low with a soft touch and stretch the defense with his outside shooting, evidenced by his trio of three-pointers.
Leading 22-15 at the half, the Highlanders increased their lead to nine in the opening minute of the third on a jump shot from Harrison Collins. The Panthers responded by going on a 15-4 run, taking their first lead of the game midway through the quarter.
Cromwell sophomore Victor Payne took over in the third, scoring 14 of his game-high 22 points in the frame.
“Cromwell did a good job, especially in the second half, at getting us out of our rhythm a little bit,” said Bradbury, “[Payne] is a tremendous player. He got going a little bit and we had trouble keeping in front and we had a tough time helping and leaving the strong side corner open. We let some of their lefty shooters get hot from the corner. That dictated that third quarter.”
The teams exchanged five more lead changes in the third, highlighted by a three and a pair of layups from Joe Rusczyk, who finished with 17 points.
A three pointer by Jake Salafia put Cromwell up 39-35 heading to the fourth quarter and home team rode the momentum into the final quarter, taking a 52-43 lead on a put back from Louis Friend with less than two minutes remaining in regulation.
But Portland did not go quietly into the night and on the following possession, Evison knocked down a deep three as the Highlanders scored eight of the next nine points.
Evan Johnson canned a contested three-pointer and Rusczyk made an acrobatic layup to narrow the gap to 53-51. Jake Thompson then drew an offensive charge on the ensuing inbounds, giving the team the ball with a chance to tie or take the lead.
Evison nearly delivered, but his layup attempt bounced out with five second remaining in regulation.
Cromwell’s Gianluca Albert, who finished with 20 points, drained a pair of free throws with 3.5 second left to seal the game and improved the Panthers to 6-0.
Thompson had seven points and Collins added six in the loss.
Bradbury was proud of how his team responded in the hostile environment, “There is no question that these are two of the better teams in the Shoreline Conference. It is a bit frustrating. I thought we fought really hard down the stretch.”
Following the tough loss, the Highlanders responded with home wins over Simsbury (1/19) and East Hampton (1/21) to close the week. Thompson scored 21 points in the 66-56 win over the Bellringers, which improved the team to 6-5. East Hampton, who was led by Jye Lynch’s 20 points, fell to 4-2.
Portland has another Shoreline showdown this Friday, Jan. 28, when they welcome Morgan to PHS. The game tips at 7 p.m.
Nevaeh Clark - Cromwell (Basketball): Clark dished out a career-high 12 assists, adding 11 points and six rebounds, as the Panthers steamrolled Old Saybrook 64-26 on Jan. 21. The junior guard’s distributions benefited Jessica Grodzicki and Adela Cecunjanin, who scored 17 and 15 points, respectively.
Alex Sikorski - Rocky Hill (Basketball): Sikorski, a 2017 RHHS-graduate, scored 24 points, including a pair of thunderous dunks in overtime as Western New England University beat Suffolk 88-81 on Jan. 22. Sikorski, who was an All-State player and made headlines for a highlight-reel dunk in high school in 2017, added eight rebounds, six assists, and three steals in the win over Suffolk. He is the Golden Bears leading scorer, averaging over 17 points per game.
Tito Ortiz- Newington (Wrestling): Ortiz took first place in the 152 lb. bracket at the 35 Annual New Milford Tournament on Jan. 22. The senior dominated Xavier Marchena of New Milford in the championship match, winning by a technical fall (16-0). Junior teammate Seamus Oates (220 lbs.) finished fourth at the tourney held at New Milford High School.
Thomas Lunt - Xavier (Wrestling): Lunt defeated Cal Muese of Fitch (6-4) to win the 220 lbs. division at the Colter Abeley Tournament in Middletown on Jan. 22. The senior helped the Falcons take first place at the tourney as freshman Jackson Heslin (120 lbs.) and sophomore Anthony Basile (126 lbs.) also took home first place finishes.
Vanessa Venditti - Wethersfield (Basketball): Venditti scored a season-high 26 points against Windsor on Jan. 18 and followed it up with a 14-point performance in a couple of quarters of work during a 65-30 victory over Rocky Hill on Jan. 21. The junior guard is the leading scorer for an Eagles team that enters the week at 4-4.
To nominate someone as an Athlete of the Week or with questions or comments on sports-related topics, email Josh Howard at email@example.com
Wethersfield boys’ swimming and diving defeated Middletown (99-85) in a highly-competitive meet on Jan. 11 at
Each team won six of the 12 events.
Wethersfield’s Jack Kulpa won two events, the 50 yard freestyle and the 100 freestyle.
Middletown’s Zach Krantz also won two events, the 200 individual medley and the 100 Breaststroke.
Owen Powers (200 freestyle) and Tanner Bradbury (100 fly) each chalked up individual wins for the Eagles, while Zachary Crevier held off Middletown’s Zach Costa to win a closely-contested 100 backstroke.
Middletown got a win from Andrew Strickland (500 freestyle), while divers Cody Shad and Diego Carrillo finished first and second, respectively.
Middletown also took home first in a two of the three relay races. Strickland, Krantz, Costa, and Matthew Olerud won the 200 medley relay, while Cost, Strickland, Andrew Green, and Eric Liesener won the 400 freestyle relay.
Wethersfield’s foursome of Kulpa, Crevier, Bradbury, and Joseph Andino won the 200 freestyle relay.
Wethersfield will finish the regular season with a road date at Rocky Hill on Feb. 1, followed by back-to-back home meets against Avon (2/8) and Hartford Public (2/15). Both home meets start at 5 p.m. The team closes the regular season at Newington on Feb. 22.
Middletown has a three-meet home stand coming up against Platt/Maloney (2/4), Lewis Mills (2/8), and Southington (2/14). The meet versus Lewis Mills will be senior night where the Blue Dragons will celebrate nine seniors, including four mangers.
Cromwell's Gianluca Albert defends Portland #2 Harrison Collins as #15 Eli Evison looks on during the Panthers 55-51 victory on Jan. 18.
Coming off a two-week COVID hiatus, the Cromwell boys’ basketball looked lethargic, scoring only 15 points in the first half before flipping the switch to come from behind and hold off Portland, 55-51, on Jan. 18 at CHS.
“It wasn’t the points—it was the lack of effort; the lack of focus,” Cromwell head coach John Pinone said of the first half performance. “We missed free throws, missed assignments on defense, and didn’t follow the scouting report. Those are the things that upset us.”
Trailing 24-15 early in the third, the Panthers used a 15-4 run to take their first lead of the game at 30-28 on a three-pointer from Jake Salafia. Salafia knocked down two more triples during the quarter as the team exchanged six lead changes.
“Cromwell did a good job, especially in the second half, at getting us out of our rhythm a little bit,” said Portland head coach David Bradbury.
Sophomore Victor Payne was the catalyst behind the third quarter turnaround, scoring 14 of his game-high 22 points in the quarter.
“He put in the time in the summer and when he came back you could tell he worked on his game,” Pinone said of Payne. “He’s a good ball handler for a guy his size and he’s great in transition. We’re at our best when we’re in transition.”
Bradbury said that Payne changed the complexion of the game, “He’s a tremendous player. He got going a little bit and we had trouble keeping in front. We let some of their lefty shooters get hot from the corner and we were helping way too much. That dictated that third quarter.”
Cromwell’s lead grew to nine points in the fourth when Louis Friend grabbed an offensive rebound and scored with 2:10 left in regulation.
On the following possession, the Panthers had a chance to put a vice grip on the game but Portland grabbed an offensive rebound and Eli Evison canned a three, prompting an 8-1 run by the Highlanders.
In the closing minute, the Highlanders cut the deficit to 53-51 on a layup from Joe Rusczyk.
Portland’s Jake Thompson then drew an offensive foul on the ensuing inbounds and the visitors had a chance to take the lead but Evison missed a layup in the waning moments.
Gianluca Albert sank two clutch free throws to close out the game with 3.5 seconds remaining.
“We were out for two weeks with the COVID shutdown, so we were rusty at first and coach got into us a little bit and that woke us up. We started scoring and playing good defense,” said Albert. “We were lucky enough for [Evison] to miss that layup and I knew I had to make the free throws.”
Albert scored 20 points, including 11 of Cromwell’s 15 first-half points to keep the Panthers within striking distance.
“I’m a captain this year and I feel like I’ve stepped into a bigger role,” added Albert, who has assumed a bulk of the offensive responsibilities with Payne. “[Victor] is a really good player. He has a ton of skills and I know he can do anything on the court. He’s really stepped up and done well this year.”
Because of the early deficit, Pinone used a short rotation and liked how the team responded in the second half, but was dissapointed with their inability to close out the game. He was particularly upset at Portland’s late surge, starting with Evison three following the offensive rebound.
“It almost cost us the game because we didn’t aggressively go after the ball. We’re not a physically aggressive team, we don’t play with anger,” said Pinone, “But I’ve got to give us credit, we were down nine to start the second half and we clawed our way back. Especially after the way we played in the first half, it could have been a long night. We found some energy in the third and fourth quarters and we got the W.”
Because of the COVID-precautions, it was Cromwell’s first game in 15 days. The Panthers had won their first five games over a 15-day span and the win over Portland improved them to 6-0.
Evison led Portland with 18 points and Rusczyk added 15. Thomson had seven and Harrison Collins had six. The Highlanders responded by closing last week with a pair of wins over Simsbury (1/19) and East Hampton (1/21) to bring the team’s record to 6-5 this season.
Cromwell entered this week 8-0 after beating Old Saybrook, 71-47, on Jan. 21 and Valley Regional, 42-31, on Jan. 22. Albert scored 32 in the win over Old Saybrook and the 12-point win over Valley Regional was Cromwell’s seventh victory by double digits this season.
Not bad for a team that graduated seven players, including all five starters, from a season ago.
“It’s all of us, it’s a team effort,” said Albert, who agreed with his coach. “We have to be more physical out there. We have to get better in practice and our mindset has to be there.”
GHS ice hockey captains (l-r) Zack Caporale, Alex Rodriguez Jr. Kayden Hinchey, and Nick Huempfner
The 10 seniors on the Glastonbury High School ice hockey team have over a decade of experience playing together. They now hope that chemistry translates into some memorable wins over the next couple of months.
“The hockey community is a small community, but we are very tight. That’s what makes this group so special,” GHS head coach Ken Barse said of his seniors. “For years they watched outside of our boards and what they wanted most was to be on the ice with a G on their chest.”
Senior captains Zack Caporale, Alex Rodriguez Jr. Kayden Hinchey, and Nick Huempfner are leading a team on the ice that has battled a brutal schedule, along with the injury and illness bug.
Through 10 games, the Guardians stand at 4-6. The experienced team aims for a fruitful February and to be fully healthy by the time the start tourney rolls around in March.
“We are really like a band of brothers together,” said Caporale. “I’ve known these guys forever and we are willing to do anything. We’re willing to take a bullet for each other.”
Rodriguez Jr. added, “It’s a great feeling being together. I grew up with these guys and a lot of us played youth hockey together.”
Caporale and Rodriguez have helped engine the offense this winter.
Hinchey is the leader on the defensive end. He believes that the defense could be the key to a postseason run, saying, “All of the coaches say ‘defense wins championships’. We just have to have that communication and play for each other.”
Huempfner began the season on the defensive end before shifting to forward to fill a need.
“It’s a challenge going from one position to another but you just have to roll with it. You have to figure it out on the fly and I just do what the team needs me to do,” said Huempfner, “Now that I’m a leader on the team, it’s time to step up and be more of a threat offensively and defensively.”
Barse commended Huempfner for making the position change, saying, “Nick is doing an outstanding job as a forward.”
The longtime head coach, who is in his 26th season leading the program, has seen countless players come and go during his tenure, which includes state championships in 1999 and 2003.
Scott Hinchey, who is the head coach of boys’ lacrosse at GHS, was a player on the 1999 title team and is the father of Kayden Hinchey.
“Kayden is my first second-generation player, which is a daily reminder of how old I am,” Barse joked.
He added that he’s been to former players’ weddings and helped celebrate other big moments in their lives.
“Hockey is about relationships and these relationships are lifelong. Some people ask me why I keep coaching and it’s about those relationships,” said Barse.
Assistant coach, Alex Rodriguez Sr., has been alongside Barse and is now coaching his sons, Alex Jr. and sophomore Michael Rodriguez.
“It’s fun, it’s exciting. I’ve been coaching them both through youth hockey,” said Rodriguez Sr. “Anybody would dream of coaching their two boys all the way through high school.”
Rodriguez Sr. said his sons differ on the ice with Alex Jr. playing a more physical role and Michael taking a more cerebral approach.
The Rodriguez boys have grown up around the hockey program, developing a rapport with their current ice mates.
“They’re a tight group. They have been together since they were around 6-7 years old and they are together off the ice,” Rodriguez Sr. said of the seniors. “They’re all great kids and they are loyal to each other. When they battle out there they are looking out for each other.”
The team has looked strong in their four wins. They opened the season with a 4-2 victory over Branford and shutout North Branford (6-0) in game three. Following a three game-losing skid, the team rebounded with an impressive 4-2 victory over Farmington Valley.
The Rodriguez brothers combined for three goals in the victory over Farmington and freshman goalie Patrick Sullivan slowed a fierce Farmington attack that was averaging nearly four goals per game in their previous five wins.
The first-year netminder has earned the respect of his teammates and exceeded expectations with the coaching staff.
Caporale said that Sullivan has made the “biggest impact of any freshman that he’s seen.”
Coach Barse agreed, adding, “He has legs and speed like a senior, and the attitude and intensity of most seniors I’ve had. He is the real deal. His mental capacity to focus in the split second is what really drives him.”
Following an overtime loss to Wethersfield and another loss to South Windsor, the Guardians rebounded this past Saturday, Jan. 22, with a 2-1 win over Woodstock Academy. Both Rodriguez boys scored, with Michael netting the game-winner on an assist from Ben Jean. Caporale and Hinchey assisted on the first goal, while Sullivan made 37 saves to secure the victory.
The team has nine regular season games remaining, including a rematch against Wethersfield for Senior Night on Feb. 19. They finish with games at South Windsor and a home finale against Simsbury. All three games will be chances to avenge losses.
“There are too many ‘almost games’,” said Rodriguez Jr. “When we played East Haven and Wethersfield they were really close games but we fell apart in certain aspects. I promise you we won’t do that again.”
Hinchey added that Wethersfield is one of the better teams in the state and that the rematch will be a good measuring stick for the postseason.
The state tournament, which was not held a year ago during the COVID-shortened season, starts in early March. The last time the Guardians were in the postseason they knocked off East Catholic 3-2 in the first round and were set to take on top-seed Branford in round two before the remainder of the tourney was canceled in March of 2020 at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Last year was a bit of a wash as the team lost their starting goalie to an injury and the team, who normally practices and plays at Trinity College, was displaced to Newington.
Now back at Trinity, the team wants to put the early season losses behind them and focus on a bigger goal.
Barse stated the regular season is an experiment, adding, “I’ve seen a lot of things in ice hockey. It doesn’t really matter what you do in the regular season. We’re not afraid to experiment if it makes us better later.”
“I would love to see us improve on our intensity in front of the net. We do a lot of puck watching,” added Barse, “It’s been a bizarre year. We’re always taking one guy from one spot and putting him in another. It’s like a chess match.”
Francesca Gionfriddo is having a freshman year to remember.
The first-year Glastonbury High School student had a successful diving season in the fall, finishing top-10 at the Class LL championship, and is now one of the top Guardians gymnasts this winter.
Through the team’s first two meets, Gionfriddo has been atop the leaderboard in both meets. She had a meet-best 8.6 in the floor exercise in a win over South Windsor on Jan. 15 and then topped that with a 9.0 floor routine in a win over Wethersfield on Jan 18.
“She is someone who is extremely reliable in practice and at meets. She is respectful towards her coaches as well as her teammates,” stated GHS head coach Yvette Sima. “Francesca is consistent and always positive. She is always looking for ways to better herself and her routines. She is a great role model and such a pleasure to coach.”
Despite being a freshman, Gionfriddo has plenty of experience prior to entering GHS. Her mom, Julia Gionfriddo, was a former gymnast and enrolled her daughter into the advanced sport when many kids are just learning to run.
“I got into gymnastics when I was 18 months old, so I have about 14 years of experience,” added Gionfriddo.
Her mom also dove at Trinity College, prompting her daughter to also pick up the water sport.
Both gymnastics and diving require strength, flexibility, and confidence. Gionfriddo said that the aerodynamics of the sport are similar too, which helps with training.
In the wins over South Windsor, Gionfriddo tied with sophomore teammate Macey Burns as the best all-around gymnasts as the Guardians won 125.65 - 113.45. Against Wethersfield, the young duo again finished in the top two spots as the Guardians won 133.75 - 91.15.
Her early success is a bit of a surprise for Gionfriddo. However, she was confident coming into the year, saying, “I knew I had a lot of experience with the sport and I have a passion for the sport, so that helps.”
Gionfriddo is part of an extremely talented group of freshman gymnasts, which includes Anna Edwards and Sydney Salazar.
Individually the group has excelled, but Gionfriddo said they thrive most when working as a team.
“The team aspect is the most important. It gives us that extra boost of confidence. It can be scary sometimes when you're up there in front of everyone, but they know how to make you comfortable because they understand it,” she said.
Gionfriddo has shined in both the floor exercise and the vault, which she says are her favorite events.
“I really like that you have to be powerful in the vault and with the floor you get to showcase your personality. You have the music aspect and really get to have fun with it,” said Gionfriddo. “I just really like doing what I love. You get to see other people smile, which is one of the most rewarding parts of the sport.”
Along with diving and gymnastics, she is also part of Model UN, DECA (Distributive Education Clubs of America), and the Marine Environmental Science Club at GHS.
This spring she will be part of play lacrosse, making her a three-sport athlete at the high school.
Outside of sports, Gionfriddo enjoys skiing and traveling, along with playing the piano and viola.
GHS Ski Team Hits Slopes
The girls and boys ski race teams at Glastonbury High School started their ski race season at Mount Southington on Jan. 12.
In their first race, the girls team finished in 6th place overall of the 13 teams competing. The girls were led by senior captains Sara Wertsching and Katie Murphy, who finished 14th and 20th of the 174 skiers racing on this night. Contributing were freshman Ainsley Latz (28th overall), sophomore Eva Giliberto and junior Lauren Carlino.
The boys ski race team finished in 10th place overall out of the 14 teams competing. The boys were led by freshman Alex Bulger and senior captain Matt Bulger who finished 7th and 8th respectively of the 203 boys racing. Senior captain Ryan Murphy (37th overall) and junior Nate Zimbelman (38th overall) also performed well.
“Both teams got off to a good start at their first race of our season. Conditions were excellent at the hill and our skiers took great advantage of it,” said head coach Tom Zelek. “We have a good mix of veterans and newer ski racers on the teams and they are all working hard during our dry land training and conditioning sessions. As the season progresses and we get more experience on the race course at Mount Southington, I can see our teams getting higher up the standings with their overall scoring.”
On Jan, 19, the teams competed in the second ski race of our season. The girls ski race team finished in 6th place of the 13 teams competing. The girls were led by Wertsching and Murphy, who finished in 14th and 15th place respectively out of the 162 girls racing. Latz (29th) and Giliberto also raced well.
The boys were led by Bulger, who finished in 9th place out of the 208 boys racing on this night. Zimbelman and Murphy also contributed.
Zelek added, “Conditions were relatively tough on this night as the course became very challenging because of the large number of skiers on this particular night. The later you go into the race the course becomes harder and it takes a lot more skill and discipline to hold your line. I’m very impressed with how both our teams are doing early in the season.”
GHS Girls Track & Field Excelling
On Jan. 10, the Glastonbury girls’ track and field team traveled to Southern Connecticut State University to compete in the James Barber Invitational Meet. Four of the Glastonbury seniors led the way in the 1600m with Kylie Hilliard placing 4th (5:27.78), Olivia Dickson placing 6th (5:32.50), Annika Hurley placing 8th (5:40.12), and Sarah Ongley placing 14th (5:51.90).
Zoe Spann-McDonald, who did not disappoint in any of her events, won the 55m hurdles with a time of 8.87, finished first in the long jump with a 15’5”, and then placed 5th in the 55m dash with a 7.78.
Jackie Dudus, Alex Edwards, and Kelley MacElhiney raced the 1000m with Dudus placing 5th, MacElhiney 10th, and Edwards 16th. In the 300m, senior Molly Harding finished first overall with a time of 41.68 and Riley Carroll finished close behind with a 43.96, placing her third overall. Meghan Smith ran a 44.65 putting her in 4th and Emily Smith ran a 46.08 putting her in 10th.
Glastonbury also had a dominant 4x200m relay with a team consisting of Alex Edwards, Riley Carroll, Meghan Smith, and Molly Harding. The relay team won with a time of 1:53.04.
In the field events, Layla Spann-McDonald also finished first with a big shot put throw of 32’0”.
Five days later, on Jan. 15, some distance runners took on the third Hartford Public meet of the year. Six GHS girls raced the 1600m, putting up great times and PRs. Leading the charge was junior Jocelyn Wolf, placing 4th in a time of 6:05, followed by freshmen Isabella Martas-Mayr (8th) and Kaylin Gaudet (10th), running 6:29 and 6:37, respectively. Senior Caileigh Schroeder, placed 15th in a time of 7:14 and rounding out the field were juniors Saanvi Bethi (7:18) and Holly Skripol (7:19).
GHS Swim & Dive Tops Middletown, Hall
Following a loss to Xavier, the Glastonbury High School boys swimming and diving team got right back on the winning track with a home victory against Middletown High School (102-76) on Jan. 18 and a win over Hall High School (96-75) on Jan. 21.
Against Middletown, the Guardians won 10 of the 12 events and moved to 15-3 all-time against the Blue Dragons. After losing three meets to Middletown way back in the early 1990’s, Glastonbury has now come out victorious 15 times in a row. Campbell McFall and James Liao both had perfect four-win afternoons. Sean Savidge, Connor Lieu, John Redfern, Jack Watson and Brian Pawlowski all added two wins each. Leo Wong was a single winner. Middletown got wins from Cody Schad (diving) and Andrew Strickland.
The meet started with a 1-2 GHS sweep in the 200 medley relay. The relay team of Leo Wong, Sean Savidge, Connor Lieu and Campbell McFall won the event followed closely by the relay team of Donald Newandee, Brian Pawlowski, John Comite and Ryan Lieu. The score was 12-2 and GHS was off and running. The 200 freestyle was a 1-3-4 finish for Glastonbury. James Liao was 1st with a Class LL qualifying time, Jack Watson was 3rd and John Redfern was 4th.
The 200 individual medley was a 1-3-5 finish for GHS. Campbell McFall was 1st with a Class LL qualifying time, Myles Murphy was 3rd and Connor Lieu was 5th. The 50 freestyle was 1-2-3 sweep for the Guardians. Sean Savidge was 1st, Ryan Lieu was 2nd and Leo Wong was 3rd. The score was now 46-16 entering diving. Glastonbury was missing all of their divers for this meet leaving Middletown with a 1-2-3 sweep by default. Cody Schad won the event and both him and fellow teammate Diego Carrillo had impressive performances. The score was now 46-29.
After the break, Glastonbury came storming out of the gates with a 1-2-3 sweep in the 100 butterfly. James Liao was 1st with a Class LL qualifying time, Sean Savidge was 2nd and Brian Pawlowski was 3rd. Middletown would get its 2nd win of the meet in the 100 freestyle as Andrew Strickland impressively won the event with a sub-50 second time. GHS would place 2-3-4 to out-point MHS. John Redfern was 2nd, Connor Lieu was 3rd and Niall Easton was 4th. The long distance 500 freestyle would be a 1-2-5 finish for the Guardians. Jack Watson was 1st, Ben Boisoneau was 2nd and John Comite was 5th.
The 200 freestyle sprint relay would be a 1-3 finish for GHS. The relay team of Campbell McFall, Connor Lieu, John Redfern and James Liao sprinted to victory as the relay team of Leo Wong, Nick Roberts, Alex Wong and Sean Savidge placed 3rd. The clinching event of the meet would be the 100 backstroke where GHS turned in a 1-2-3 sweep. Brian Pawlowski was 1st with a Class LL qualifying time, Myles Murphy was 2nd and Ethan Hipsky was 3rd. The score was now 102-51 and Middletown could no longer catch up. GHS would swim the last 2 events exhibition.
Glastonbury touched 1-3-4 in the 100 breaststroke. Campbell McFall touched 1st, Ryan Lieu touched 3rd and Derek Lui touched 4th. The final 400 freestyle relay would see GHS touch 1-3. The relay team of James Liao, Jack Watson, John Redfern and Brian Pawlowski touched 1st while the relay team of Ben Boisoneau, John Comite, Daniel Gorenbeyn and Myles Murphy touched 3rd. James Liao turned in a Class LL qualifying time in the 100 freestyle with his lead-off leg in the final relay. The final score of the meet came to 102-76.
In the win over Hall, GHS won 9 of the 12 events. The victory improved the Guardians record this season to 5-1 and 28-2 all-time against Hall. After going 2-2 back in 1991-1994, the Guardians have won 26 meets in a row. Hall holds the distinction of having the most meets against Glastonbury as they have competed 30 times. Campbell McFall had a perfect four-win evening. Sander Silverman and James Liao each added three wins. The double winners were Brian Pawlowski, Jack Watson and John Redfern. The single winners were Sean Savidge and Myles Murphy. Hall got two wins from Carson Raisner and one win from diver Jonah Genser.
The meet started with a season best time in the 200 medley relay for GHS as they placed 1-3. The relay team of James Liao, Brian Pawlowski, Jack Watson and Sander Silverman won the event by 4 seconds while the relay team of Donald Newandee, Sean Savidge, John Comite and Ryan Lieu placed 3rd. The score was 10-4. The 200 freestyle was a 1-2-3 sweep by the Guardians. Campbell McFall was 1st, Myles Murphy was 2nd and Ethan Hipsky was 3rd. Myles Murphy qualified for the Class LL Meet with his time.
The 200 individual medley was also a 1-2-3 sweep for GHS. James Liao was 1st, John Redfern was 2nd and Sean Savidge was 3rd. The splash and dash (50 freestyle) was a 1-3-5 finish for Glastonbury. Sander Silverman was 1st with a new Class LL qualifying time, Brian Pawlowski was 3rd and Ryan Lieu was 5th. The score entering the diving event was a lopsided 46-16. Diving was a 1 on 1 battle between Jay Shah and Jonah Genser. Both displayed some excellent diving and Jonah just out-scored Jay by 8 points to win the event.
After the break, GHS went 1-2-4 in the 100 butterfly. Jack Watson was 1st, John Comite was 2nd and John Redfern was 4th. Carson Raisner from Hall impressively won the 100 freestyle. GHS would place 2-3-4 to out-point Hall in the event. Brian Pawlowski was 2nd, Myles Murphy was 3rd and Sander Silverman was 4th with a new Class LL qualifying time. The long distance 500 freestyle was a solid 1-2-3 sweep for GHS. Campbell McFall was 1st, Ben Boisoneau was 2nd and Alex Wong was 3rd.
The 200 freestyle sprint relay would be the clinching event for the Guardians as they swept the event by going 1-2. The relay team of Sander Silverman, John Redfern, Brian Pawlowski and Campbell McFall won the event while the relay team of Myles Murphy, Nick Roberts, Leo Wong and Ryan Lieu placed 2nd. The meet score was now 96-37 and Hall could no longer catch up. Glastonbury would swim the last 3 events exhibition.
Carson Raisner was back in the pool and won the 100 backstroke. GHS would place 2-3-4. James Liao was 2nd, Jack Watson was 3rd and Donald Newandee was 4th. The 100 breaststroke was a 1-2-3 sweep for GHS. Sean Savidge was 1st, Isaac Shen was 2nd and Connor Lieu was 3rd. The final 400 freestyle relay was a 1-3 finish for GHS. The relay team of Campbell McFall, Myles Murphy, John Redfern and James Liao easily touched 1st while the relay team of Ethan Hipsky, Niall Easton, Alex Wong and Derek Liu touched 3rd just 0.35 of a second behind the Hall relay anchored by Carson Raisner. The final score came to 96-75.
The upcoming schedule has a home meet on Thursday, January 27th against East Catholic High School at 3:45 PM. There is also another home meet against downstate power Amity High School on Tuesday, February 1st at 5 PM. The Amity meet is not to be missed as it will be one of the best meets of the season. Remember that all home meets (and some away meets) are live-streamed on Facebook. To get the live stream, send a friend request to Glastonbury HS Swimming and Diving as attendance in-person is still limited to 2 family members of the athletes. Contributed by Steve Hoyt.
Seniors #1 Ashley Lizotte and #13 Valerie Luizzi have helped lead the Bobcats to nine wins in their first ten games this winter
Bacon Academy girls’ basketball has won nine of ten games this season, including back-to-back impressive road wins over Woodstock Academy and Stonington.
In the win over Woodstock Academy on Jan. 13, Marissa Nudd led the way with 26 points, 18 coming in the first half, as the Bobcats blew away the Centaurs 67-28. Valerie Luizzi added 15 and Ashley Lizotte scored nine.
On Jan. 18, they took down Stonington 61-31 behind 17 points from Nudd, 16 from Luizzi, and 11 from Lizotte.
The team’s only blemish was a loss against E.O. Smith during the holiday break.
The Bobcats have a tough test against Waterford (7-3) this Friday, Jan. 21 followed by games against Fitch (1/25), Killingly (1/28), and Amistad (1/31) before the highly-anticipated rivalry game against RHAM in early February.
As of publications, the Raptors from RHAM are undefeated with a record of 10-0. They recently broke the school record by hitting 18 three-pointers in a 72-45 win over South Windsor on Jan. 14.
Lauren Fenton and Grace Whitmore each connected on four from beyond the arc, Sarah West (game-high 17 points) and Maddy Evans nailed three from downtown, Ailish Kleinhen knocked down a pair of triples, and Marina McLaughlin and Ally Deckman each made a three-pointer during the historic night.
The Raptors latest win was a 69-39 victory over Rocky Hill on Jan. 18. West again led the way with 18 points, while Evans added 14 and Fenton had 10.
Through the first ten games, both the Bobcats and Raptors are outscoring their opponents by over 19 points per game.
The basketball border-battle is scheduled for Wed, Feb. 2 at RHAM High School. Tip-off is 6:45 p.m.
Sports Editor for the Rare Reminder, Glastonbury Citizen, and Rivereast News Bulletin