GHS Winter Sports Preview
Head coach Jim Vaughan returns for his 22nd year, compiling a record of 283-186 during his tenure. The Guardians, who finished 9-7 during a COVID-shortened winter in 2020, return three starters in 6’4” senior center Jack Hennessy, senior forward Trey Tennyson, and junior guard Adam Molusis, who averaged 10 points and four assist a season ago..
Vaughan will also count on seniors Tyler Huff, Dan Cantafi, Mickey Shea, and 6’6” center Quinn Twombly for experience. Junior Jordyn Sams and freshman phenom David Smith will also be part of a deep rotation.
Coach Vaughan said a season-ending injury to sophomore Connor O’Leary, who is one of the better underclassmen in the state, will be a big loss. However, the arrival of Smith and the returning starters should allow the Guardians to compete in the conference.
The team’s home opener is Mon, Dec 20 against Middletown. The game tips at 6:45 p.m.
The Guardians are coming off a conference title after defeating Wethersfield 55-21 in a modified CCC tournament during 2020’s COVID-shortened season
Sydney Kehl is the only returning starter after the team graduated four senior captains in Jaci Budaj, Rachel Roman, Jillian Margaglione, and Charlotte Bassett.
Kehl is one of two seniors, along with Kiley Feeney, on the Guardians roster this season.
The team plays Danbury on Sat, Dec 18 at GHS. The game tips at 12:00 p.m.
Boys Ice Hockey
Head coach Ken Barse is entering his 26 season leading the team. The veteran coach has an experienced team coming back, including key seniors Alex Rodriguez (captain-center), Zack Caporale (wing) and Kayden Hinchey (defense), Aidan Adams (defense), and Nick Huempfner. Sophomores Sean Huempfner (defense), Michael Rodriguez (wing), Max Gerasimov (wing), and freshman goalie Pat Sullivan will be asked to take on key roles.
Coach Barse’s outlook, “With 10 seniors we have great leadership and experience that will carry this group into the playoffs. This is a very disciplined group of hard working young men and their mental toughness will be a key in winning the close games.”
The team plays their home games at Koeppel Community Sports Center, located at Trinity College in Hartford. Their home opener is Sat, Dec. 18 against East Catholic. Face-off is 7:30 p.m.
Girls Ice Hockey: Storm co-op (Glastonbury/East Catholic/South Windsor/Rockville/Tolland)
Head coach Frank Usseglio returns to coach the co-op Storm, who finished 6-8-1 last winter and won a Central Connecticut Conference (CCC) tournament game. They return an experienced group, made up of all-conference senior goaltender Maren Riley (2.16 GAA, .916 Save percentage), an all-conference forward in Meghan Croyle (9 goals/13 assists), an all-conference defender in Bella Pacheco, and all-state and all-conference defender in Mary McKiernan (10 goals/6 assists). Four other seniors (Molly Edgington, Olivia Lonski, Katie Fradin, and Anna Pasterick) and five juniors (Norah McCauliffe, Jessica Pollack, Emily Malouin, Leila Espirito-Santo, and Kelsey Kowal) provide a lot of experience on the ice. Add to that a talented mix of underclassmen, including a handful of sophomore (Alexis Pacheco, Mallory Pierz, Audrey Molin, Alexa Wolf, and Maddie Archambault) and a few expected impact freshmen (Liliana Ficaro, Kate McKiernan, Edith Hayes, Maya Fisher, and Karolina Prytko). Thanks to a deep line-up, the Storm could challenge for the CCC’s top spot this season.
In addition to the team’s conference schedule, the Storm will also face a very challenging out of conference schedule with games against New Canaan and Darien, as well as out-of-state games against Bishop Guertin (NH), Matignon (MA) and LaSalle Academy (RI).
Coach Usseglio believes the formula for the team’s success will be on defense, “We expected to defend well in all three zones, and rely upon our experience on the blue line and in goal to be the foundation for this year’s group. Our goal has been, and remains, to be a difficult opponent for whoever we play.”
The Storm play their home games at the Newington Ice Arena and will next host Mercy/NW Catholic on Wed, Jan 5. Face-off is 5:10 p.m.
Wrestling was the winter sport that was most impacted by last season’s COVID restrictions. The “high-risk” sport was limited to practice/conditioning only. Head coach Jake Jones brings back three returning wrestlers in senior Mikey Maciolek, junior Nathaniel Post, and junior Andi Jano.
Coach Jones outlook, “We are looking forward to actually having a season this year, as we were cancelled completely last year. We have a young team, but are looking to develop our young talent for the future, while staying competitive in the present.”
The team is slated to have a home meet against Manchester on Wed, Jan 5 at 6:00 p.m.
Girls Indoor Track
Head coach Brian Collins is back to guide an indoor track and field group that missed out on competition and postseason play last winter. However, the Guardians return plenty of athletes who were part of the outdoor track & field team that won the conference and state championship in the spring.
Lucy Bergin, Hannah Caiola, Jackie Caron, Riley Carroll, Sarah Christina, Kate DeSousa, Olivia Dickson, Jackie Dudus, Haley Evans, Ava Gattinella, Molly Harding, Anna Hilary, Kylie Hilliard, Annika Hurley, Tennaly LeClaire, Kelley MacElhiney, Anna Morris, Sarah Ongley, Annika Paluska, Cici Ryan, Emily Smith, Meghan Smith, Layla Spann-McDonald, Zoe Spann-McDonald, Brooke Strauss are back following either contributions last spring or strong performances in cross country this fall.
Coach Collins outlook, “We have a strong returning group that could help us repeat as CCC and Class LL champions. We did lose some very talented athletes from two years ago (no indoor track season last year) but we return some very talented athletes from our LL Championship Outdoor Track team and LL Championship Cross Country team this year. We additionally have some new athletes on the team this season who could possibly help make us stronger and give us more depth. We're hoping that most of the events will be covered and we have depth in each area.”
Boys Indoor Track
Head coach Mark Alexander returns a well-rounded group that is looking to hit the ground running following the restrictions last season. Seniors Joseph Accurso (distance), Michael Sardo (sprints), Jack Schaffner (jumps), Cody Stone (distance) Thomas Ryen (jumps), Alex George (throws), Will Haddad (distance), and Kevin Clarke (jumps/sprints) provide experience. Juniors Dominic Pena (mid-distance), Harrison Krause (distance), Kalym Richards (sprints/jumps), Jonathan Wihbey (jumps), Cameron Colletti (distance), Jackson Boyd (sprints), Ben Yalof (mid-distance) will provide depth, while newcomers Kevin Graziosi, Will Greelissh and Davian Rivera bring even more talent to the table.
Coach Alexander’s outlook, “This year’s team is young and eager to prove themselves this season after last year’s season was cancelled. Small group of seniors, but their strong leadership skills will help guide the team.”
Yvette Sima enters her 13th year coaching and will manage a team with a loaded roaster. Sima will count on returning seniors and captains Sarah McKinney and Amanda Steckler, but said she will count on the entire team to fill roles this winter after restrictions dampened the enthusiasm level a season ago.
“There’s so much more excitement this year. Last year, with the exception of one meet, we didn’t travel at all. Visiting teams didn’t come to us, we videotaped and recorded everything and had to submit it. It’s going to be a whole new experience for most of these girls,” said Sima. “We have some new girls that are coming in that are very strong and we have some returners that are very strong too. What it comes down to is how clean they are during the event and their consistency. I think we could have a very strong year.”
The Guardians home meets take place at Gymnastics Express Too on Eastern Blvd. The first home meet is scheduled for Jan. 15 against South Windsor.
For a complete list of all the GHS sports team’s rosters and schedules, visit ciacsports.com
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Sports Editor for the Rare Reminder, Glastonbury Citizen, and Rivereast News Bulletin