Glastonbury's fearsome foursome of (l-r) Ava Gattinella, Casey MacElhiney, Jackie Caron, and Emma Smith first helped GHS track & field win a state title in June and then teamed up to break a school record in July. Picture at the National Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Eugene, Oregon.
1. Malz, Girls Track & Field Jump over Competition
The Glastonbury High School girls outdoor track and field team won the Class LL championship at Willow Brook Park on June 1. The Guardians soundly defeated Southington, 109.50-88, thanks to a mixture of endurance, speed, and strength. Mallory Malz won three individual events (pole vault, long jump, and triple jump) and the 4x800 relay team of Ava Gattinella, Kelley MacElhiney, Casey MacElhiney, and Jackie Caron also captured a class title. The Guardians had several other top-five finishes to secure the program’s first state title since 2010.
2. Forrest Dubbed State’s Best Female Athlete
Sam Forrest, who is one of the most decorated athletes ever at Glastonbury High School, was named the Top Female Athlete of Connecticut by Maxpreps on June 15. Forrest, who will play lacrosse at the University of North Carolina this spring, wrapped up an illustrious high school career in which she made All-State, All-Conference, All-New England, and much more during her four years competing in soccer, indoor track, and lacrosse. Lacrosse head coach Kris Cofiell called Forrest the most impactful female athlete she has seen at GHS in her 20 years of coaching.
3. Goode Great at States
Connor Goode won the Division I championship, shooting a tourney best 70, finishing three strokes ahead of the field at Chippanee Country Club on Oct. 18 The senior, who has committed to play golf at The University of Connecticut, was arguably the best golfer in the state this year after also winning the 80th Junior Amateur tourney during the summer and finishing with the state’s fourth best overall average on the links in the fall.
4. Girls XC Dominates Field
GHS girls cross country turned in an extremely well-rounded performance to win the Class LL state championship at Wickham Park in Manchester on Nov. 1. Freshman Brooke Strauss led the Guardians with a runner-up finish, followed by Jackie Caron (11), Ava Gattinella (17), Jackie Dudus (19), Lucy Bergin (24), Haley Evans (32), Kelley MacElhiney (39). The balanced line-up allowed the team to easily defeat second-place Hall and win the program’s first title in four years.
5. Petrik Shines, Captures Silver in Tokyo
2015-GHS graduate Karen Petrik won a silver medal at the Paralympic games in Tokyo, Japan on Aug. 29. Petrik was the coxswain for the PR-Mixed 4+ rowing team that finished second on the Sea Forest Waterway in Tokyo Bay. Petrik, who lives in Glastonbury, captained a boat powered by Allie Reilly, Dani Hansen, Charley Nordin, John Tanguay. The five were the only U.S. rowers to medal during both the Olympic and Paralympic Summer Games.
6. Casey Shatters Diving Record
Jade Casey broke the program’s dive record at the Central Connecticut Championship (CCC) and then shattered her own record at the Class LL championships at Middletown High School on Nov. 11. The splendid sophomore first broke a 17-year old mark, held by Erin White since 2004, during the conference finals and then topped that mark with an 11-dive gem, totaling 461.20 points at the state meet.
7. Bassett Eclipses Milestone
Charlotte Bassett broke the 1,000-point scoring barrier against South Windsor on March 2. Bassett, who is currently playing basketball at the University of New Haven, surpassed the four-digit mark after making a lay-up in the second quarter during the Guardians 63-52 victory over the Bobcats. The prolific scorer averaged 17 point per game during her final season at GHS
8. Softball Buries Berlin
GHS softball defeated #1-seed Berlin 3-0 in the opening round of the CCC tourney on May 27. Pitcher Brooke Tracy was magnificent, striking out 13 Redcoats over seven innings of work, allowing only one hit. Tracy also added a run from the plate, joining Sadie Scurto and Rayah Snyder, who also scored in the game. Scurto, Snyder, and Gabby Lambert each had an RBI in a game that head coach Karen Costes called the best win of her coaching career.
9. Kudlac Sister Power Record-Breaking Fall
Twin sisters Avery and Riley Kudlac were involved in six of the seven swimming program records that the GHS team broke this fall. Avery broke the 200 freestyle (1:51.50) and the 100 butterfly (55.66), while Riley broke the 50 freestyle (23.36) and the 100 freestyle (51.07). The twins also teamed up to break two relay records, combining with Annika Paluska and Norell Paluska to break the 200 freestyle (1:35.90) and joining forces with Brooke Sowka and Annika Paluska to break the 400 freestyle (3:28.74). Rachel Davis also broke the school record in the individual medley (2:07.19). All in all, it was a banner fall for a Guardians team that finished third in both the Class LL championship and the State Open.
10. Hinchey Reaches Century Mark
Glastonbury boys lacrosse head coach Scott Hinchey earned his 100th win after the Guardians defeated Trumbull, 14-7, in the qualifying round of the Class L tournament on May 28. Hinchey, who achieved the triple-digit plateau in only his eighth season at the helm, has been a pillar of consistency, guiding the Guardians to at least 11 victories in each of his seasons. In the momentous win, Kayden Hinchey had six goals and three assists.
11. Daniels, Petrone Run Wild on Newington
Matt Daniels and Jack Petrone engineered a ground game that ran for 331 yards as the Guardians traveled to Newington and shocked the football world, winning 28-20 on Oct. 8. Glastonbury entered the game winless (0-4) and the home Nor’easters were undefeated (4-0), but Daniel’s had a fourth quarter for the ages to preserve the team’s first victory, totaling 191 scrimmage yards and two scores over the final 12 minutes. The Guardians run defense was just as impressive, holding Newington to a measly two yards on the ground.
12. Guardians Roundball Crowed at Conference
GHS girls basketball defeated Wethersfield 55-21 to win a conference championship at GHS on March 22. The Guardians held the visiting Eagles to a season-low in points and leaned on seniors Charlotte Bassett, Jillian Margaglione, Jaci Budaj, and Rachel Roman, who captured a conference crown in their final game at the high school. Overall, the four helped the program win 31 of 40 games during their four-year tenure.
13. Baseball Walk-Off at Dunkin
GHS baseball defeated RHAM 3-2 at Dunkin Donuts Park in Hartford on May 25. With the game tied at 2, senior Spencer Azzara connected on a shot through the center of the defense, sending Sam Benedict home for the game-winning run. The walk-off winner ultimately provided the Guardians a home tournament game and left the players with a moment they will never forget at the beautiful venue in the Capital City.
14. Relayers Break Record at Hayward
Girls outdoor track & field standouts Casey MacElhiney, Jackie Caron, Ava Gattinella, and Emma Smith broke the school record in the Distance Medley Relay at the Outdoor National Championship in Eugene, Oregon on July 3. MacElhiney ran the 1600 meters, Caron ran the 1200, Gattinella ran the 800, and Smith ran the 400, finishing with a program record time of 12.14:74 at Hayward Field on the University of Oregon campus.
15. Strauss Strides to Conference Title
Brooke Strauss won the CCC championship at Wickham Park on Oct. 19. Strauss ran a course-best 19:20, edging runner-up Katherine Saunderson of Hall, who ran a 19:21. The fantastic freshman took the local cross country trails by storm this fall, also finishing second at both the Class LL finals and the State Open in November.
16. Sweet 16 for Girls Tennis
Girls tennis at GHS finished the regular season undefeated (16-0) with a triumph over Farmington at Farmington High School on May 25. #1 singles player Catherine Zak and #3 singles player Emma Cantor both won in straight sets. Double partners Mirta Atigetchi/Sammy Chung, Erin Cabana/Norah Anderson-Orth, and Nirdget Corey/Lexi Tran swept the three doubles matches to secure the perfect mark.
17. Christina Lifts Guardians in Landers’ Debut
Alayna Christina scored the go-ahead goal as girls soccer rallied to defeat Farmington 3-2 on Sept. 9. Christina’s goal came with less than five minute left, helping secure a victory for head coach Mark Landers who was making his debut on the sidelines after 20 seasons serving as the boys head coach. Trailing 2-1, sophomore Angela Chavez tied the game up with 8:39 to play in regulation before Christina delivered the eventual game-winner.
18. Norman Scores in Homecoming
Mary Norman scored a goal in her first game back playing at Glastonbury High School as the Guardians lacrosse team defeated Granby Memorial on May 19. Norman, who was returning from shoulder and hip injuries following an All-State field hockey performance in the fall, found the back of the net for the first time following a long layoff. Teammate Sam Forrest described Norman’s return as her favorite moment of the year.
19. Taleb’s Hat-Trick on Senior Day
Senior Ali Taleb scored three goals as GHS boys soccer exploded for a season-high nine goals in 9-1 win over Bristol Eastern on Senior Day, Oct. 25. Kevin Carmichael, Matt Doucette, Timothy McGuire, Nathan Infante, Gage Haines, and Alexa Silverman added goals in the win. Taleb, who scored a season-high four goals in a game against Tolland on Oct. 15, would end his senior season with a team-high 19 goals and added seven assists.
20. Fantastic Finish for Freshman Football
GHS freshman football wrapped up a 9-1 season with a resounding 34-6 win over Xavier on Nov. 18. The Guardians won their first eight games this fall and allowed only 11 points per game despite the first-year high schoolers playing together for the first time since seventh grade after competition was canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
21. Peterson Delivers for Legion
Owen Peterson pitched a complete game on the mound and then connected on a walk-off single as Glastonbury Legion 19U baseball defeated Tri-County 3-2 on July 28. Peterson pitched a complete game and then drove home Jayden Sgro to end the game at Glastonbury High School. It was Peterson’s second walk-off winner of the summer.
Hannah Brunk is taking full advantage of her senior year at Portland High School.
When she’s not blocking shots in soccer or draining shots in basketball and golf, she’s capturing the perfect shot for her budding photography hobby.
Currently, Brunk is starring on the PHS girls basketball team, debuting with a 21-point, seven-rebound performance as the Highlanders defeated Old Saybrook 43-35 on Dec. 14.
The productive Portlander is coming off a fruitful fall in which she protected the net for the girls soccer team that advanced to the Shoreline Champion and she doubled as the official photographer for the Cromwell/Portland football team that won a state championship for the first time since the schools merged on the gridiron.
It turns out that saving a shot in soccer and snapping the perfect shot on the sidelines have similarities.
“I get adrenaline with both, but when I make a save I am automatically proud of myself and when I take a picture I think of [the players] reactions first and I hope they like it,” Brunk said when comparing the two.
Sports and photography are just a few of the many hats that Brunk wears at PHS. She serves as the President of National Honor Society, President of Class Act, Treasurer of the senior class, Secretary for Key Club, and is part of the school’s a cappella group.
Her attraction to athletics started with cheer and dance in grade school before she shifted her priorities to basketball and soccer. She describes herself as “very competitive”, which stems from being in an athletic and ambitious household.
Her older sister Maddie Brunk made headlines on the basketball courts and softball fields at Portland High before graduating in 2020. Her twin brother, Owen Brunk, is a two-time All-State player on the state champion football team.
Capturing photos during her twin’s final high school football season boosted Brunk’s photography venture. She originally started taking free photos for friends as part of her capstone project and then began preserving memories for the football team. The team used the photos on social media and Brunk posted the shots to her official Instagram account @hbrunkphotography.
“My friend had a camera and I would borrow it. I used it so much that I knew I had to buy myself one because I was using hers way too often,” said Brunk, who purchased a Nikon camera in the summer. “I made my Instagram and more people started reaching out to me. Then people in school that I had never really talked to reached out to me when word got out that I wasn’t charging anything.”
She then received her first photo shoot request from outside the community when a student from Haddam-Killingworth reached out, promoting Brunk to describe herself as “a kid on Christmas.”
Owen, who is a minute older, then asked his slightly younger siblin to take photos during the games.
“I did one game to test it out and I loved it,” said Brunk, who received positive feedback from the football community. “Parents would come up and thank me. I was doing it for other people, but I also loved doing it for myself. The fact that I was able to do that for others sealed the deal for me. It was awesome.”
She found it difficult at times to watch her brother’s football games, especially the championship game, through a lens. However, she got satisfaction from knowing she was capturing small moments that will last forever.
The relationship between the twins is both competitive and encouraging.
“I think it pushes us because we are so competitive. It’s helped me tremendously,” said Brunk. “He pushes me, he wants me to do my best and academically I am very involved with the school and he sees that and wants to get more involved. I think we complement each other very well.”
Brunk’s vibrant personality allows to adapt to any situation. In soccer, she started as a field player before realizing she was a natural in goal
“I am a very vocal person and being the goalie I was like the quarterback,” stated Brunk. “I felt it better suited me because I was able to communicate with everyone.”
She created her own picturesque moment during the Shoreline tournament when she, with the help of a stout defense, blanked previously undefeated Cromwell (1-0) to advance to the Shoreline championship game.
“We have been rivals with Cromwell forever and when you walk into those games you want to win,” recalled Brunk, who outdueled Cromwell’s All-State goalie Lily Kenney, “[Lily] is just amazing and going into that game I knew I had to step it up and be the best that I can be.”
Brunk hopes to create even more memorable moments on the basketball courts this winter before teeing off one last time for the reigning Division IV state champion Highlanders golf team in the spring. Brunk said she uses the golf as a way to unwind after hectic fall and winter seasons.
The multitalented Brunk hasn’t made any college plans yet, but is leaning towards schools in the south to major in business or marketing, and possibly a minor in photography. Her parents, Earl and Alissa, have always encouraged their kids to explore all the option available to them.
“My dad has always said he wanted us to experience a whole new life after high school. We want to experience something else because we know we can come back,” said Brunk.
No matter where she ends up, Brunk will be taking advantage of every moment and capturing those moments on her camera.
“I never thought I would have taken as good of quality pictures as I did and when I do it’s a great feeling,” stated Brunk.
Hannah Brunk with her parents, Alissa and Earl, and twin brother Owen following the Cromwell/Portland football championship triumph
Rivereast Standout Athletes of the Week for the week of Dec. 13-19
Valerie Luizzi - Bacon Academy (Basketball): Luizzi scored a career-high 31 points, 24 coming in the first half, as Bacon Academy defeated Waterford 73-58 on Dec. 16. The senior tied a program record with six three-pointers and added eight steals, and junior teammate Marissa Nudd also scored a career-high 29 points. The Bobcats enter the week with a perfect 3-0 record after beating East Lyme 62-30 to open the season and besting Killingly 53-42 behind 28 combined points between Luizzi and Nunn.
Jackie Russell- East Hampton (Basketball): Russell scored 46 points last week as the Bellringers started the winter season with three straight wins. The sophomore scored 15 in a season-opening 71-19 victory at Fisher Island High School in New York, netted 11 in a 36-34 victory over Morgan, and then posted a season-high 20 points in a 62-13 win over Lyman Memorial.
Eli Evison - Portland (Basketball): Evison splashed during his senior season debut, scoring a game-high 20 points as the Highlanders ousted Westbrook 65-58 on Dec. 16. The 6'6" forward added seven rebounds and a pair of blocks to helped the team overcome early struggles and take control in the second half.
Liam Calhoun - RHAM (Indoor Track): Calhoun, who had previously broken the school record in the mile and 5k, broke two more records last week. On Dec. 17 he set a new school record in the 3200 meters, running a 10:03.01 at the Hillhouse Invitational at the Floyd Athletic Center in New Haven. The next day he from the set a new school mark in the 1000 meters with a time of 2:41.51 at the same venue.
To nominate someone for an Athlete of the Week or with any questions or comments on sports-related topics, email Josh Howard at email@example.com.
Bacon Academy’s volleyball player Kiera Stewart was named to the Class M All-State first team by the Connecticut High School Coaches Association (CHSCA).
Stewart, a sophomore setter, was shocked when she received the news.
“I didn’t even know what All-State was or ECC All-Star, so it was really surprising to get those accomplishments,” said Stewart, who was also named All-Eastern Connecticut Conference (ECC) after guiding the Bobcats to a conference crown. “It’s a very big honor. When coach called me to tell me that I made it I was surprised and didn’t know what to say, but inside I was super excited.”
Head coach Scott Dumond called Stewart the team’s “heartbeat on the floor”, adding, “She not only inspires through her play but also through her words. She’s an unassuming young lady that cares about her teammates above herself and does all she can to make them better. She is the first non-senior captain I have ever chosen for this team for next season. I am proud to coach her.”
Stewart started playing volleyball in the 7th grade, joining her older sister, Cameron Stewart, who played for the high school before graduating in 2020. The sisters were following in the footsteps of their father, Dave Stewart, who was a former player and coach.
She found the sport enjoyable and became an instant floor general, settling quickly into her setter role.
“When I play I am not thinking about anything else, I just try and enjoy the game,” said Stewart. “I’m not a super extravert person in daily life but when it comes to the sport I find it easy to talk to people and we can relate because we’re all playing the same sport. I think I just built up confidence over the years by playing with different players on different teams.”
Her freshmen season at Bacon was modified due to the COVID-19 restriction and Stewart was unsure how the team would fare this fall.
Following an up and down start, the team peaked late in the season and went on an eight-game winning streak.
The winning streak included wins over Plainville and New London to win the Division II ECC tournament. In the win over New London, who was ranked #1 in the tournament, Stewart was named the Most Valuable Player.
“Against New London it was a very energetic atmosphere,” recalled Stewart, whose confidence grew as the team started winning. “As we got closer it was reflected on the court because we were more energetic and started communicating more. Everyone was treated equal and that’s why we had the success that we had. The seniors definitely supported me, they were very supportive.”
Following the win over New London, the team won a pair of state tournament games over Lauralton and Prince before falling to Mercy in the Class M quarterfinals.
Overall, the Bobcats won 18 of 24 games and Stewart averaged a team-high 23 assists per game.
Stewart, who enjoys baking in her downtime, said she will play club volleyball in the offseason to work on getting stronger in all areas of her game.
The girls’ basketball team at RHAM has started the season red hot, winning four games over a seven-day span. The Raptors defeated Rockville, New Britain, Coventry, and Bristol Central behind a tremendous defensive effort, surrendering less than 34 points per contest.
Against New Britain, they held the Golden Hurricanes scoreless in second quarter during a 49-28 and then duplicated that feat in a 63-43 win at Coventry.
In the win over Coventry, Sarah West scored a career-high 33 points and Lauren Fenton and added 16 points, 11 coming in the first half. Fenton was also a force on the defensive end, along with Ailish Kleinhen who was tasked with defending all-state guard Charlotte Jordan.
Head coach John McNair praised Kleinhen’s efforts, saying she made Jordan “work very, very hard for all of her 18 points.”
McNair added that the win over Coventry was a group effort, crediting Maddy Evans, Grace Whitmore, Kathy Chapman, Addie Brown, Katie Hancin, and Marina McLaughlin for making significant contributions.
In the win over Bristol Central, Whitmore scored a team-high 14 points and West added 11.
McNair stated his team has “embraced the challenge of the hot start and buckled down defensively.”
Connor Konopka: Middletown/Rocky Hill (Ice Hockey): Konopka netted a hat trick as the Terriers defeated Northeastern 7-1 in Bolton on Dec. 18. The three goals from the Middletown senior were aided by the four other goals scored by Brody Davidson, Owen Davidson, Dom Violette, and Jacob Nelson.
Matthew Ruck: Wethersfield (Ice Hockey): Ruck stopped 33 shots, registering his third career shutout, as the Eagles blanked Simsbury 2-0 on Dec. 18. The sophomore goalie was flawless in net, while seniors Colby Quinn (shorthanded) and Will McCarter (empty net) provided the goals for Wethersfield.
Adela Cecunjanin: Cromwell (Basketball): Cecunjanin delivered a pair of gems last week as Cromwell won their first two games. The junior scored 12 points, grabbed four rebounds, and blocked four shots as the Panthers opened the season with a 39-29 win at Newtown. She then scored 12 more, hauled down a dozen rebounds, and blocked six shots in a 50-27 win over Haddam-Killingworth.
Tyah Pettaway: Middletown (Basketball): Pettaway scored a team-high 21 points as Middletown opened the season with a 63-50 victory over Hall on Dec. 14 and then followed it up with a 15-point performance in a 60-46 win over Manchester on Dec. 17. The senior guard is teaming with fellow senior Shadae Bushay, who scored 35 in the two wins, to form a dynamic one-two scoring punch.
Tyler Leavitt: Newington/Manchester (Hockey): Leavitt scored a pair of goals and dished out a pair of assists at the Newington co-op started the season with two wins. The senior from Manchester had an assist as the Nor’easters opened the season with a 3-0 shutout of Norwalk on Dec. 15 and then scored two goals and had another assist in a 5-3 win over Eastern CT on Dec. 18.
Newington's Marlie Zocco guards Windsor's #24 Janet Woodard as #14 Amaiya Stevens looks on during Newington's season-opening home victory.
Newington girls’ basketball won all 15 games a season ago, capped by a win over Windsor to capture the conference crown.
The Nor’easters tipped-off the 2021-2022 with another victory over Windsor, defeating the Warriors 55-34 at NHS last Tuesday, Dec. 15.
Freshman Bela Cucuta shined in her high school debut, scoring a game-high 20 points, all coming after the first quarter. Cucuta knocked down a half dozen three pointers, showing a comfort on the court that is beyond her years.
“That is why she is starting,” Newington head coach Marc Tancredi said of his mature freshman, “She’s got a scorer’s mentality and she’s not going to back down. We’re expecting her to be a big part of the team this year and for seasons to come.”
The 21-point triumph was not indicative to what the first three quarters looked like. Heading into the final quarter, the game was tied at 29 before Newington began to exploit Windsor’s zone defense and dominate the offensive glass.
The Nor’easters scored the first 11 points of the final frame, including a pair or triples from Cucuta and another from senior captain Lilly Ferguson.
Ferguson, who made All-State as a junior, finished with 17 points and a team-high four assists. Her ability to dictate pace allowed the home team to control the tempo during the last eight minutes, in which the road Warriors scored only five points.
“We had to be aggressive if we wanted to win and we had to defend. Defending is always a key to the game, defense wins championships,” stated Ferguson.
Tancredi said Ferguson has become both a better player on the court and a leader off of it, “She is in the second year in our program and was named captain by our players, and that’s really high praise for her. She has done a good job at crashing the boards, handling the ball, and doing all the little things.”
Ferguson is one of five seniors, four of which are starting. Twins Karissa Zocco and Marlie Zocco were primarily known as outside shooters over the last couple of years, but are now doing all the little things as well. The pair combined for nine points, a dozen rebounds, six assists, and three steals. Adriana Romano is back after averaging the second most points per game a year ago and Arianna Barnes is a key role player off the bench.
The season-opening win wasn’t without some adversity.
Following a 13-2 Newington run to start the second quarter, Windsor closed the half on a 10-0 and then held the Nor’easters to only three points during a sluggish third quarter.
“We did make a little bit of an adjustment with where we placed players, but it was really about us making shots,” Tancredi said of the team’s adjustments, “We placed our players in the bottom of the zone which made Windsor have to make a decision with who they were going to guard, but it was a matter of our players knocking down those shots.”
Windsor standout Ayanna Franks scored a team-high 18, but only two came in the final quarter.
Cucuta and Ferguson combined to score 16 over the final eight minutes. The senior-freshman tandem already has chemistry on the court.
“I knew who she was but honestly I didn’t expect her to be as good as she is. She is really going to be important for us this year, especially with some of the girls we lost last year,” Ferguson said of Cucuta, “We are looking to be the same caliber team that we were last year and we have a lot of good freshmen coming in.”
Freshman Kendall Miller was also solid in her debut, scoring six points and grabbing nine rebounds.
Ferguson, who had committed to play college basketball at the University of Massachusetts, is now the undisputed leader on the court.
“I’m just focused on leading my team and making us better,” said Ferguson. “Even at halftime I gave them a talk and said we just have to want it, and that’s what we did. We came back in the fourth quarter and we proved that we were the better team tonight.”
The team followed up the opener with a 54-41 victory over E.O. Smith. Cucuta hit seven of nine shots and again led the team with 23 points. Ferguson chipped in 20 points and nine rebounds.
On Monday, Newington moved to 3-0, winning a defensive struggle (35-24) at Wethersfield behind 19 points from Ferguson.
The victory over Wethersfield was the 20th straight win for the Nor’easters, who haven’t suffered a loss since the 2019-2020 conference tournament.
Following the undefeated season last winter, expectations for Tancredi and his team are sky-high.
“It’s just about playing Newington basketball. Playing tough, playing the right way, being disciplined,” said Tancredi. “We are going to be everybody's biggest game. We have to have the mentality that teams are going to come at us and we can’t back down.”
Newington's Lilly Ferguson defends Windsor's Ayanna Franks during the Nor'easters 55-34 win
Wethersfield football All-State selections Mathyas Nieves (L) and Louie Montalvo (R), along with head coach Matt McKinnon.
Junior Mathyas Nieves and sophomore Louie Montalvo were named to the Connecticut High School Coaches Association (CHSCA) Class L All-State team last week.
Nieves made it for his work on the defensive end, racking up a team-high 104 tackles, including six for loss, along with four interceptions and a dozen pass breakups. He doubled as a reliable receiver on offense, hauling in 21 passes for 245 yards and five touchdowns, and also returned a kickoff for a touchdown.
“Being an All-State player means setting a good example and being a role model for your teammates and those watching,” said Nieves. “I think this award is given to someone who strives to be the best whether that’s on the field or in the classroom.”
Head coach Matt McKinnon said of Nieves, “Mathyas is a fearless warrior who loves to hit, make plays, and gives everything he has to achieve victory on Friday nights. We are looking for him to lead our program throughout the entire offseason. Nieves gets it done better than anyone I know.”
Montalvo was selected on offense, powering an Eagles attack as an all-around specialist, averaging nine yards a touch, staring at receiver and dueling at a wildcat quarterback. He caught 45 passes for 450 yards and five touchdowns, adding 175 yards and four touchdowns on the ground. He too returned a kickoff for a touchdown. Defensively he had 35 tackles (two for loss), two quarterback hurries, an interception, and broke up two passes as a defensive back.
“Louie takes pride in the program, giving everything he has for his teammates. He contributes to our program in all 3 aspects of the game, leading by example for his fellow peers to follow. We are looking for him to take over in the CCC next fall,” said McKinnon.
Both players will be returning next fall for a team that dealt with a plethora of injuries and still finished 6-4.
Connor Goode, who recently wrapped up an illustrious golfing career at Glastonbury High School, has committed to play golf at the University of Connecticut.
Over the last six months, Goode was better than good—he was great.
Recently he was the medalist at the Division I golf championship on Oct. 18, shooting a tournament-best 70, winning by three strokes.
Overall, Goode and the Guardians finished the fall season by averaging a state-best 8.78 in competition, and going undefeated in dual meets.
Goode’s success in the fall followed his second place finish, as a junior, at the Division I state championship in the spring. He also won the 80th annual Connecticut Junior Amateur Golf Tournament at the Watertown Golf Club on July 23, defeating 31 of the state’s best young golfers.
“He’s obviously a highly skilled player, but I’m equally proud of how well he represented Glastonbury. He showed great character, sportsmanship, and integrity both on and off the course,” stated GHS head coach Tom Zelek, who added that Goode was undoubtedly the team’s MVP this fall. “I'm looking forward to following him during his time at UConn.”
Goode will be moving on to collegiate golf but said the experience of high school golf is something he’ll never forget, especially his relationship with fellow seniors Charlie Dolan and Nick DiNino.
“The team that we had was special and we made each other better. We had a really competitive team and it was a lot of fun” said Goode, who added that his favorite moment happened as a freshman. “I holed out for eagle and my friend, who was a junior at the time, ran over and tackled me on the fairway. We were going crazy.”
Goode lost and entire high school season because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but he racked up plenty of accolades during his three seasons, making All-Conference three times, All-State twice, and All-New England this year.
At Storrs, he’ll be joining a Huskies team that is led by longtime coach Dave Pezzino, who was born in North Haven.
Pezzino was a driving force in Goode’s decision to stay in Connecticut.
“Once I got to meet the guys, the decision was pretty clear. I just went with my gut and it felt right,” Good said of his choice. “I thought I’d be a good fit with the team and I really like the coach.”
Goode accomplished basically everything he could in high school and the competition that college represents the natural next step.
“I’m looking forward to playing with the best of the best at the next level,” stated Goode, who is leaning towards a business or business-related field. “Every other golfer is like me at that next level and I’m trying to push myself even further.”
Kaitlyn Welsh, a senior at Glastonbury High School, was named to the All-State field hockey team by the Connecticut High School Coaches Association (CTHSCA).
Welsh, who primarily played center defensive midfield, received the news from GHS field hockey head coach Maureen Perkins.
“It was early morning and I got a phone call from coach. She said she just wanted to congratulate you on making All-State first team and I thought she was joking,” recalled Welsh. “I was totally surprised. This was one of the biggest goals that I had this year.”
Teammate and fellow senior Molly Harding was also selected to the All-State first team. The two have been playing sports together for nearly a decade, first starting with basketball and lacrosse.
“It was such a great feeling. It’s been such a fun time playing with her and spending time with her,” Welsh said. “To have this opportunity together is just such a heartwarming thing, I was so happy. There is no one that I would rather get this with.”
The duo teamed with six other seniors, providing experience for a Guardians team that advanced to the Class L semifinals this fall.
Welsh said that Senior Day, a 5-0 win over South Windsor on Nov. 1, was a standout moment this season.
“It was such an amazing feeling and it made all the seniors feel special,” said Welsh, who credited the younger girls with making the team better. “The underclassmen on this team are the best underclassmen that I’ve ever seen and they worked so hard to help us.”
She captained a defensive unit that shutout 13 teams and allowed only 11 goals all season. Welsh was also a big contributor on the offensive end, scoring 12 goals and dishing out 10 assists.
The All-State selection was a well-deserved reward for Welsh, who didn’t start playing field hockey until her first year in high school after a friend recommended it. Her childhood passion was basketball but she quickly shifted her priorities once she started playing the outdoor sport.
“I went into it thinking it would be conditioning for me because I played basketball. Back then I thought basketball was going to be my whole world but then I found field hockey and it’s been incredible. I will never go back,” recalled Welsh.
It was a wise move as she wound up playing all four years at the varsity level and developed a close relationship with the coaching staff, calling them “the best coaches that I have ever had.”
She added, “I’ve learned things that I never thought I would learn and the things we’ve done together outside of field hockey I will never forget. Basically field hockey season is the best time all year.”
Currently she is playing for a club field hockey team in Greenwich, making the long commute every couple of days to further her development.
Off the field, she enjoys time with her two labradors, Waylin and Stormy, and helps her parents with their passions. Her mom, Carol, operates CW Photography and her dad, Mike, owns Dude’s Donuts.
Welsh is still exploring her post-high school options and wants to keep playing in college, but currently she is doing a post-graduate year at Suffield Academy to further enhance her skills and expand her options.
“Hopefully I will do great things,” said Welsh. “I really would really love to play field hockey at the NCAA level and still looking around at colleges.”
Sports Editor for the Rare Reminder, Glastonbury Citizen, and Rivereast News Bulletin