Newington finished the regular season 12-8 and then defeated Darien, 76-63, in the opening round of the Division II tournament. Mason Romano scored 26 in the first-round victory and then had another productive game in the second round, however the Indians dropped a heartbreaker to Amity, 56-54. The team will lose a half dozen seniors, including Julian Ortiz and Jaden Morris, but Romano will lead a solid unit returning next winter.
Cromwell had a perfect regular season (20-0) and then won the Shoreline Conference championship before running into an upstart St. Joseph team in the second round of the Division IV tournament. The 74-58 loss at CHS was the final game for four seniors, Nick Wright, Naimir Heyliger, JJ Tracy, and Jack Dooley. Leading scorer and rebounder Gabe Charleston will head a talented group returning next season.
Wethersfield needed to win their last two games of the regular season to qualify for the tournament and then nearly upset Amity in the opening round, taking a lead into the fourth quarter before eventually losing 57-48. It was the final game for seniors Derek Tenney, Dante Burgos, and Liam Harrington, who all played important roles for the Eagles this winter.
Cromwell won the Class M state title, defeating Sheehan 60-51 at Mohegan Sun Arena, behind 18 points from Sadie Budzik. The win capped the team’s third title in seven seasons and their first since 2016. Seniors Gina Sousa, Jessica DellaRatta, Eliza Weston, and Taylor Yankowski all closed their high school careers as champions. Budzik, leading scorer Vanessa Stolstajner, and tourney-hero Najla Cecunjanin will be back as the hungry Panthers look to repeat.
Newington advanced to the quarterfinals in Class LL, defeating Shelton 54-50 in overtime in round one and then knocking off Glastonbury 55-44 in the second round, before falling to New London in the quarterfinals. Ashanti Frazier combined for 33 points, 17 rebounds, 11 assists, and 10 steals in the two tourney wins, and will again be leading the team next season with freshman-phenom/backcourt mate Karissa Zocco. Seniors Olivia St Remy, Aby Flores, Maya Gajowiak, and Erika Cuevas will be graduating.
Wethersfield won 15 of 20 regular season games and then knocked out Fairfield Warde, 57-36, in the opening round of Class LL. In the tourney win, Nicole Gwynn led the way with 21 points, while Alice Kelly and Isabella Samse each scored 16. The Eagles fell to Newtown in the second round, which was the final high school game for seniors Zoe Adams and Kaitlyn Swoverland. Gwynn, Kelly, and Samse will headline a loaded group coming back next season.
Middletown was defeated by Glastonbury in the opening round of Class LL, which marked the final game for senior captains Dominique Highsmith and MacKenzie Dunn. The Blue Dragons will have a young team returning next fall, led by leading scorer Kya Mayo.
Rocky Hill made a late-season push to qualify for the state tourney before falling to Kolbe Cathedral in the first round of the Class M tournament. The program’s all-time leading scorer Nikki Lukens will be one of a half dozen players graduating, leaving a large void to be filled by the likes of Aleksa Peterson and Corrin Stabile.
Newington co-op won 15 regular season games and then had a special run in the Division III tourney, breezing by Trinity Catholic 9-0 in the opening round and beating Tri-Town 3-2 in the quarterfinals. In the semifinals, the Indians led late in regulation and almost earned a spot in the state championship but two late goals by Lyman Hall/H-K/Coginchaug ended the run. The team will lose their top four point-producers in Ethan Ranger, Matt Lavoie, Andrew Graham, and Patrick Doherty to graduation. Several key pieces will be returning, including Kilian Ranger, Sam Hedlund, Justin Stergos, as well as both goalies, Alex DiPaolo and Andrew Fogarty.
Wethersfield/Middletown/Rocky Hill/Plainville also won 15 regular season games and advanced to the semifinals in Division II after defeated E.O. Smith 3-1 and Watertown-Pomperaug 4-1, before getting eliminated by Branford. The Eagles will lose All-State goalie Jake Peckrul and defenseman Riordan Mertens to graduation. Fellow all-state honoree Trevor Piecewicz will be returning to carry the load next season.
Wethersfield finished fifth overall at the Class M finals at Jonathan Law High School. Madison Bradbury and Erin Nargi earned All-State recognition following terrific all-around performances, including standout showings in the floor exercise, scoring 8.550 and 8.500, respectively. Sienna Brodeur. Vanessa Phrakoonkham, Sarah Gordon, and Meghan Appel also completed in the event. Bradbury and Nargi also competed in the Open Gymnastics finals in New Milford.
Middletown’s Matthew Lecky placed second in the 1600 meters and Edward Williams finished third in the 55-meter dash at the Class L boys’ final. Lecky went on to place fifth at the Open Finals held at the Floyd Little Athletic Center.
Cromwell girls finished sixth overall as a team at the Class S finals. Andraya Yearwood, Jordan Pare, Caitlin DellaRatta, and Cara Jordan won the championship in the 1600 Sprint Medley. Yearwood and Pare teamed with Melissa Woodcock and Kaitlin Lewkowicz for a third-place finish in the 4x200 relay. Pare, DellaRatta, Jordan, and Taylor Santos also finished in fourth place in the 4x400 relay. At the Open Championships, Yearwood was also the runner-up in the 55 Meter Dash and the 1600 Sprint Medley placed fourth.
Wethersfield junior Clarrisa Nock placed second in the Shot Put at the Class L finals, finishing behind Susie Okoli of Wilbur Cross.
Swimming & Diving
Wethersfield placed fifth overall at the Class M finals, thanks to efforts of divers Hadden Gaunt and Brian Puglielli. Gaunt won the diving competition, held at Bulkeley High School, and Puglielli finished sixth at the event, earning a combined 53 points for the Eagles. Caleb Skowronek took home second place in the 100 Breaststroke and teamed with Matthew Iallonardo, Brendon Mansaku, and Holden Hoon for a runner-up finish in the 200 Freestyle Relay. Hoon also placed third in the 200 Individual Medley.
Middletown also had a nice showing at the Class M finals, placing ninth overall. Tyler Wenzel earned second place in diving and fellow senior Nick Lupacchino finished fourth in the 200 Freestyle. Junior Michael Flynn placed fifth in 100 Backstroke.
Middletown placed fourth overall in the Class L finals behind Elijah Cyr (113 lbs.) and Nygell Smikle (285 lbs.), who both won the state championship in their respective weight classes. Kalil Shabazz (126) finished second and Erik Dubon (220) placed third. Cyr went on to win the Open Wrestling championships, proving he was the state’s best wrestler in his weight class.
Wethersfield finished sixth at the Class L finals. Matt Laurie (138), Alec Arnold (170), and Austin Harnish (220) all placed second, and Bryce Arnold (120) took home third.
Newington’s Wyatt Bernard (195) had a third-place showing in Class L.
Rocky Hill’s Josh Loza (126) placed third at the Class S finals.
Sports Editor for the Rare Reminder, Glastonbury Citizen, and Rivereast News Bulletin