Portland High junior Alex Hair. Photo credit Hannah Brunk Photography
(Week of Oct 4-10)
Alex Hair- Portland (Football): Hair played solid on both sides of the ball as the Cromwell/Portland Panthers earned a hard-fought 21-6 victory over Valley Regional/Old Lyme on Oct 9. The Portland High junior running back ran for 75 yards on 16 carries on offense, also racking up four tackles, a sack, and a fumble recovery on the defensive end.
Bri Miller- East Hampton (Soccer): Miller scored three goals as the Bellringers downed Hale-Ray 4-2 on Oct 7. The junior’s hat-trick, combined with a goal from younger sister Abbie Miller, led the way as East Hampton won their third game of the year.
Ryan McLaughlin- RHAM (Football): McLaughlin threw for a season-high 220 yards and a pair of touchdowns as RHAM defeated East Catholic 21-12 on Oct 9. The senior signal caller connected with Max Nylen and Ben Weers on scoring strikes of 27 and 55 yards, respectively. It was McLaughlins’ second game this season with multiple touchdown passes, also throwing a pair of scores in a 42-21 victory over Farmington in the season opener.
Birch Collins- Bacon Academy (Soccer): Collins scored the game’s only goal in a driving rain as the Bobcats defeated rival RHAM 1-0 on Oct 4 at Bacon Academy. The freshman’s game-winner was assisted by junior Steven Laliberte as the team improved to 6-2.
(Week of Oct 11-17)
Simon Kandeke- Portland (Soccer): Kandeke scored twice and dished out an assist in a 5-0 win over Coginchaug on Senior Night on Oct 12. The senior has battled nagging injuries all season, but has been able to return to the lineup and provide more firepower to a Highlanders team that qualified for the state tournament following a 3-1 victory over Cromwell on Oct 14.
Kandeke is grateful that he has been able to contribute this season, “It felt great. I was able to contribute to the win and my team was excited for me to join them again. The best part of it all was definitely making my mom and school proud on our stage. It’s a different feeling.”
Sydney Weimer and Liam Calhoun- RHAM (Cross Country): Weimer and Calhoun, both seniors, celebrated RHAM’s cross country Senior Night by winning their respective races in a meet versus Enfield on Oct 12. Weimer ran a 22:38 to finish first in the girls’ field and Calhoun ran a 16:54 to win the boys’ race, each leading the way as the Raptors defeated the Eagles of Enfield. Calhoun went on to place 11th and Weimer ran a team-best (22:26) at the CCC finals at Wickham Park on Oct 19.
Jordan Murphy- East Hampton (Volleyball): Murphy had terrific back-to-back matches, combining for 19 kills and 27 digs in a straight set win over Cromwell on Oct 11 and a five-set loss to Haddam-Killingworth on Oct 15. The junior leads the team in kills and has the second most aces and digs this season for a Bellringers team that won 12 of 17 matches in the regular season.
Sam Blumberger- Bacon Academy (Soccer): Blumberger scored seven goals over a four-game span for the Bobcats. The senior captain scored three goals in an 8-0 win over Haddam-Killingworth on Oct 11 and then scored the lone goal on a header after receiving a cross from junior Steven Laliberte on October 13. Blumberger then had a two goal, one assist performance in a 6-0 win over Windham on October 15 and scored a goal in the team’s regular season home finale, a 4-3 win over Ledyard on Oct 22.
(Week of Oct 18-24)
Kendra Schoeps- Portland (Soccer): Schoeps scored two goals and dished out an assist as PHS girls soccer celebrated Senior Night by defeating East Hampton 4-0 on Oct 18. Head coach Joseph Santavenere said, “She did an outstanding job both scoring and setting her teammates up throughout the game.”
Schoeps was one of five seniors recognized during the special night. Hanna Brunk, Giuliana Dicenza, Allison Scott, and Kendall Prince are the Highlanders four other seniors.
Ally Hadley- RHAM (Volleyball): Hadley has played tremendously all season for a RHAM team that hasn’t lost since September 13th. The junior combined for 36 digs, 26 kills, and 8 aces as the Raptors beat Avon (Oct 20), Newington (Oct 22), and Enfield (Oct 25) to extend the team’s winning streak to 16 straight matches.
Brennan Johnson- East Hampton (Soccer): Johnson scored two goals as the East Hampton boys’ soccer won their home finale, defeating Lyman Memorial 4-0. Tommy Morton and Ethan Marshall scored the other two goals for a Bellringers team that finished 4-2-1 at EHHS this fall.
Jordan Malloy- Bacon Academy (Cross Country): Malloy was the runner-up at the ECC Girls’ Cross Country Championship, running a 20:46 at the 5k course in Norwich on Oct 21. The senior finished behind only the meet’s winner, Linsdey Arends from Woodstock Academy, and ran a faster time then 48 other runners. Malloy, who had won the event twice before, helped Bacon Academy place 7th out of 11 teams at the meet.
(Week of Oct 25-31)
Max Nylen: RHAM (Football): Nylen exploded for a career-high four touchdowns as RHAM football upset Plainville 25-21 on Oct 30. The junior running back ran for 162 yards, including long scoring runs of 50, 20, 60, and 30 yards. His final two scoring runs came in the fourth quarter as the Raptors overcame a fourth-quarter deficit to improve to 3-4 and hand the visiting Blue Devils their second loss this season.
“It was a great feeling coming from behind to win with the team,” stated Nylen. “The o-line did a fantastic job blocking too which really helped my performance.”
Teddy Williams- Portland (Football): Williams scored three more touchdowns, two receiving and one on a fumble return, as the Cromwell/Portland Panthers improved to 6-0 with a 48-6 demolition of Granby/Canton last Friday. The Portland High senior has been a frequent endzone explorer this fall, totaling 13 touchdowns, including eight over the last two games.
Paul Pignatella: East Hampton (Soccer): Pignatella scored a goal during his final regular season game with the Bellringers as East Hampton defeated Canton 2-0 to close the regular season with a victory. The senior captain has been an offensive force in his final season in Blue & White. Sophomore Ethan Marshall scored the team’s other goal as the Bellringers finished the regular season 7-5-2.
Audrey Palmer: Bacon Academy (Soccer): Palmer scored two goals in Bacon Academy’s final regular season home game as the Bobcats upended Stonington 3-2 on Oct 27. The freshman’s multi-goal performance, along with a goal from sophomore Kayla Hall, helped the team register win #8, qualifying them for the state tournament.
Sports Editor for the Rare Reminder, Glastonbury Citizen, and Rivereast News Bulletin