The 2020 fall sports season was not your ordinary sports season. Due to the ongoing pandemic, there were many restrictions and safety precautions put into place to ensure safety throughout the season. Even with all of this, Cromwell High School still managed to have a successful fall season and provided these student athletes with the chance to play. Here’s how it all went.
The boys soccer team finished the season with a 5-4-2 record. They were led by their outstanding defense, which produced four All-Shoreline players. Senior captain Tyler Neves received first team, senior Aiden Snyder and senior captain James Grodzicki received second team, and senior Nick Garafolo received third team. The defense posted five shutouts and was a focal point in the Panthers success. The offense was led by senior captain Zack Randazzo, who had eight goals, followed by senior Joseph Salafia with six goals, and junior Logan Fox with five goals. The Panthers fell short in the Shoreline tournament, losing to East Hampton in the first round by a score of 2-0. When asked about the season, senior captain James Grodzicki stated “Overall, we had a great season. There were some games where we struggled and others we did very well, but our effort was always there.”
The girls soccer team finished the season with a 4-4-4 record. The team was led by senior captains Anna Sbriglio, Sarah Gostowski, and Jenna Lattanzio, who paved the way for the future of the program. Sophomore goalkeeper Lily Kenney, and freshman Cam Hickey and Katie Barber set the tone for what the future has to offer for the Cromwell High School Girls Soccer program. When asked about the season, senior captain Anna Sbriglio said “Despite the challenges we faced this year with COVID-19, we were all so fortunate to be able to have a season. Although we didn’t end the season the way we all would have liked, every second spent with my team has been so memorable and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”
The cheer team had a big change this year due to COVID-19. Instead of cheering for the football team, they cheered for the boys and girls soccer teams. When asked about this, senior Lillian Stermer said, “Cheer has changed so much this year. We were no longer cheering for football and no longer were allowed to stunt. We only were able to cheer for both soccer teams and be on the sidelines. We made the best of it and were very grateful we had somewhat of a season.” The cheer team brought energy to the soccer games and made up for the lack of fans to give everyone a feeling of normalcy.
Boys Cross Country:
Over the last few years Cromwell boys Cross Country was led majorly by the two-time all state runner, Mark Rodriguez, and one-time all state runner Connor Daly. This year though, a new star was formed into the powerhouse team, and that was senior captain Michael Zocco. When asked about the tremendous improvements, Zocco stated, “From March until the day of the Shoreline Championship, there were no off days. I ran throughout quarantine and the summer and I feel that if I didn’t do that I wouldn’t have been as successful as I was. Many teammates were also running throughout quarantine and we even did some friendly competitions to see who could clock the most miles. That kept a lot of people motivated.” Zocco received all-state, and first team all regional. Rodriguez received all-state, and first team all regional as well, and Daly received second team all regional along with Felipe Patinha.
Girls Cross Country
The girls Cross Country team had a strong season led by senior captain Sadie Sullivan and sophomore Grace Mikan, who propelled the team to place third in the Shoreline Championship. Mikan received first team all-state and first team all-regional for her performances throughout the season. This shows the future is bright for the program, as along with Mikan, freshman Julia Baymuradova and sophomore Izzy Coite showed great progress throughout the season.
The girls volleyball team found the season very challenging, but were just happy and thankful to be able to play. With many injuries and players out due to quarantine rules, the team learned that they could overcome any obstacle, and formed a greater team bond. When asked about the season, senior captain Alex Umelo said, “The season was very difficult from our regular volleyball season. We encountered many challenges, but I am grateful I was still able to compete for my last year.” Umelo received second team all-conference, and Brynn Kovacs got honorable mention.
Cromwell High School had three swimmers, who joined the team at Rocky Hill High School. The three were Victoria Barnat, Arianna Bishop, and Karissa Bishop. Barnat had strengths in fly and freestyle swimming, Arianna Bishop had strengths with back and freestyle swimming, and Karissa was an all-around swimmer. The swim season was cut short due to school shutdowns, but the team is thankful for the season that they were able to have.
Football (conditioning only)
As everyone knows, football was heavily impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. No games were allowed to be played, due to the sport being labeled as “high risk.” That did not stop Cromwell High School’s football program from working though. The team, following all COVID-19 safety guidelines, had conditioning after school for about an hour. The team was focused on footwork and getting in shape for the possible season in the spring.
About the author: Joseph Salafia was born and raised in Cromwell where he grew watching and following the high school soccer team at Cromwell High School. Salafia played soccer at CHS for all four years, also playing basketball for two seasons and was a part of the golf team as a freshman. Outside of school, he enjoys hanging out with family and friends, as well as watching professional sports and keeping up with the latest sports news. The soon-to-be graduate will study Communications and Journalism in college and his dream is to pursue a career in the sports field.
Sports Editor for the Rare Reminder, Glastonbury Citizen, and Rivereast News Bulletin