Harrison Krause (front) and Dominic Pena are both coming off outstanding performances during winter’s indoor track and field season and now are two of the senior leaders for the Guardians outdoor track and field team.
Girls Outdoor Track and Field
Head coach Brian Collins returns to lead a squad that is aiming for a three-peat after winning back-to-back Class LL state championships in 2021 and 2022.
With a slew of talent returning and new athletes joining the mix, Collins said this group has the potential to be even deeper than last year’s title team.
“With the hard work, determination and dedication of these athletes, they have a great opportunity to have an outstanding season,” added Collins. “As always, one of the big keys is to stay healthy.”
The team is again loaded on both the track and in the field, with an abundance of athletic ability at each and every level.
Alyssa Healy, Riley Carroll, Alayna Taylor, Kelsey Landers, Mackenzie Landers, Celina Rodrigues, Azariah Santavenere, and Alissa Thompson-Webb make up a lightning fast group of sprinters.
Jackie Caron, Alex Edwards, Mikayla Nedder, Annika Paluska will provide the power in the mid-dances, while Brooke Strauss, Jocelyn Wolf, Jackie Dudus, Lila Garbett, Ava Gattinella, Kelley MacElhiney, Lucy Bergin, and Abby Mathew will handle the longer distances.
In the field, Anna Morris and Brianna Jordan will be the team’s primary throwers. Anna Hilary, Sarah Christina, Eloise Mulready, Mackenzie Rinaldo, Maija Adams, and Cici Ryan will handle the jumping events, along with Jenna Fradin, who is also a sprinter.
Collins said the team’s goal is to again win the Central Connecticut Conference (CCC) and the state meet, leaning on an experienced group of leaders on and off the track.
“We’re very fortunate to have many good leaders on the team to help the new and inexperienced girls learn from,” added
Collins. “Hopefully we’ll get better each day and each meet, but it starts each day at practice.”
Boys Outdoor Track and Field
Head coach Mark Alexander returns a vast and experienced group from last year, featuring all-conference athletes Harrison Krause (distance) and Dominic Pena (mid-distance).
The pair is part of a strong senior class that also features Jackson Boyd, Deandrea Williams, Kalym Richards, Max McCurdy, Jonathan Wihbey, Gage Haines, Ben Yalof, Cam Colletti, Alexander Howarth, and Owen Peterson.
Juniors Tye Karpicky, Nate Lawrence, Adam Pardo-Nasto, Aiden Katzman, Jace Lewis, Emmet Dickinson will help lead the charge.
Alexander said that this is the most student athletes the program has had since the team won the state championship in 2019, with a deep and talented underclassmen group highlighting a bright future.
Sophomores Robbie Caruso, Ryan Jackson, Gabe Kvadus, Raza Malik, Christian Miclette, Austyn Neidel, along with freshmen Diego Aguilar, Crawford Cauthen, Kyle Hageman, Sam Hageman, Alistair Mihalko, and Josh Smith lead a young group.
“The team is working hard, wanting to get better and qualify for the state championships,” added Alexander. “In between the indoor and outdoor season a large amount of guys were running on their own to get ready for the season. I am looking forward to an exciting season.”
Head coach Karen Costes returns to the dugout to lead a Guardians squad that won 18 of 20 games a season ago.
The team lost all-conference players Sadie Scurto (catcher) and Brooke Tracy (pitcher), but welcomed back all-conference honorees Rayah Snyder and Natalie Lessard.
Snyder, a University of Connecticut-commit and two-time all-state selection, will again bat leadoff and play shortstop. She will captain the team with Lessard (CF), Nabia Crawford (RF), and Molly Doherty (LF)––giving Costes plenty of leadership in the outfield.
After getting time behind Tracy a season ago, junior Gabby Lambert takes over as the team’s ace. Replacing Scurto at catcher will be sophomore Taylor Page.
Costes said the rapport between Lambert and Page has looked good in the team’s scrimmages, adding that Lambert “put in the work” in the offseason and Page’s transition to starter catcher has been a “smooth one.”
Junior Lily Woodworth, who played baseball for her first two years in high school, switches over to softball and is expected to bat early in the lineup.
Costes said the team will lean on a stout defense early in the season while they get comfortable offensively, but added that with added depth they could potentially have a more balanced lineup this spring.
“We have the players to get it done,” added Costes, who added the team will have a tough conference schedule because of their strong records over the last two years. “It will help us figure out who is varsity ready.”
Head coach Dennis Accomando returns to lead a team that won 14 regular season games and a pair of state tourney contests last spring.
Returning all-state stud Drew Curto will head a senior class featuring seven players, six that saw significant action on varsity a year ago.
The team graduated three pitchers who are now playing college baseball, so Accomando will rely on a trio of juniors to assume the load on the hill.
Cody Heselton earned a couple of wins a year ago and slated to be the team’s ace, with Graydon Vyse and Anthony Michaud in the rotation.
Accomando credited all three with putting the work in the offseason, adding, “They all have a ton of potential and we’re looking forward to what they can do for us.”
Vyse is a 6’4 “ prospect that is deadlift 500 pounds and, in general, power could be a strength for the team this year as Accomando said this may be the biggest and strongest groups he’s had in his eight years.
“They have worked incredibly hard. I give the kids a lot of credit for dedicating themselves in the offseason,” added Accomando. “They may not have a ton of at-bats and experience from a game standpoint, but they know what it takes.”
Head coach Kris Cofiell graduated four all-conference players in Bridget Clarke, Hannah David, Christina Guanci, Mary McKiernan, but returns a young and talented roster as the team is looking to follow up on another double-digit win season last spring.
Senior Alicia Choquette (midfield) and Sydney Norman (defense) will captain the team along with junior captain Avery Olschefskie (midfield), who is coming off all-state and all-conference recognition as a sophomore.
Joining Choquette and Olschefskie on the midfield will be sophomore Kate McKiernan, the team’s breakout freshman last fall.
“What we lack in lacrosse experience, we make up for in athleticism,” stated Cofiell. “[The] team is full of multi-sport athletes who have excelled in other sports and now look to take that experience on to the lacrosse field.”
Following the departure of the team’s top two attackers in Guanci and Mary McKiernan, junior Steph Koppy will anchor the unit as the only returning starter on the attack end.
Juniors Gianna Calciano and Sydney Shaw, both returning starters, will join Norman in the defensive end.
Sophomore Lola Espirito-Santo takes over in goal after learning behind Clarke as a freshman.
The team is aiming to regain conference supremacy after failing to win the conference after 13 straight years of being on top. 15 of the last 16 years they have finished undefeated in conference.
“Our overall team speed has improved in 2023,” added Cofiell. “We have a tough front loaded schedule with two top FCIAC
teams in the first three games that will show us what it will take to compete in our league and beyond.”
Head coach Scott Hinchey welcomes back an experienced team that is aiming to repeat as conference champs following a Central Connecticut Conference (CCC)-South title last spring.
“We return a good senior class that has played together for a long time,” said Hinchey. “It’s a veteran group and we played a bunch of freshmen last year that got bigger, stronger, and faster as sophomores.”
Returning all-conference captain Brady Stone will head a potentially potent offensive attack that will also feature fellow senior Liam Doyle, who is returning from an injury a season ago.
Seniors Ryder Harmon and Jack Carducci will head a stout defense that brings back most of its depth.
Hinchey said that goalies Drew Hazard (senior) and Cayden Infantino (junior) will compete for time in net.
“It’s a good, healthy problem to have. We have two guys that are capable of stepping in and playing” Hinchey said of his goalie situation. “They worked well together and we have confidence in both those guys.”
Hinchey pointed to two-way player Jack Anglim as being a key this spring, saying the senior Swiss army knife “does a little bit of everything.”
“I think we can be very athletic, with a lot of speed and balance,” added Hinchey.
Scott Daniels, a previous assistant coach under Chris Vozzolo, assumes the head coaching duties. Daniels is joined by assistant coach Rob Bernard, taking over a program that won 14 of 15 regular season contests a year ago.
Senior Christian Kaverud returns as the team’s No. 1 singles player following state open qualifications in each of the last two years.
Sophomore Andrew Risinger, the team’s No. 3 singles last season, and senior Elliot Kim, the No. 4 singles player a year ago, also return to compete for major roles.
Niteesh Kalangi and Nick Bonaiuto each played doubles a year ago and will compete for singles spots this spring or again star in doubles.
Sophomore J.D. Landry played some singles a year ago and will look to solidify a singles spot this year.
Following a 14-1 season last spring, head coach Sharon Murphy said this season will about fitting new pieces together after the team graduated nine seniors, including their top three singles players.
Senior co-captains Nora Anderson-Orth and Emma Miller are stepping in as the No. 1 and No. 2 singles players. Other returning starters are Leila Azimov, Sarah Zhang and Jasleen Kaur.
Murphy said the key is finding the right combination to fill the ten starting positions (four singles and six doubles players) of the 24 players on the roster.
“One of the obstacles we face in the beginning of the season is coming up with the right combination of doubles teams,” stated Murphy. “It’s going to be a challenging season, but I’m optimistic that the team is up for it.”
Ken Barse is back for his second season leading the Guardians, aiming to follow up on a conference title and strong showing at the state competition last spring.
“We have an experienced team returning with the addition of a talented freshman,” stated Barse. ”These girls are a dedicated group who have worked hard in the off-season and are up for the challenge of the April winds and weather.”
Junior Morgan Peterson was the medalist at the Central Connecticut Conference championships and returns as a team captain.
Peterson is joined in the captain’s chair by junior Maya Manzotti, the team’s No. 2 golfer.
Juniors Riley Savage, Kara Anderson, and Neeyor Devtale, along with sophomore Sofia Cirillo and freshman Annelise Manzotti provide a deep lineup.
“The great part of this group is how close they are and no matter what challenges they face, they support each other and are so much fun to be around,” added Barse. “It is an honor to be coaching this special group.”
Donald Colebrook, a former all-conference volleyball player at GHS and 2012-graduate, takes over as the head coach of a team that finished the regular season undefeated and won a conference title.
The Guardians lost a good chunk of their starting lineup to graduation, including a handful of all-conference players, so the new coach will lean heavily on senior captain Kyle Annecchino to help lead an up-and-coming group.
“This group lacks a lot of varsity experience but I believe has the right attitude to get past that and perform as needed,” stated Colebrook. “I'm looking forward to working more with this capable, focused group as the season goes on.”
GHS senior Rayah Snyder will return to play shortstop and bat lead-off for the Guardians following an all-state season as both a junior and sophomore.
Sports Editor for the Rare Reminder, Glastonbury Citizen, and Rivereast News Bulletin