Wethersfield's Joey Tata (L) and Will McCarter (R) celebrate the Eagles victory over Fitch to capture the Class L championship on Nov. 21. It was Wethersfield's 16th boys' soccer title, a new state record.
1. Sweet 16 for Eagles Soccer
Wethersfield boys’ soccer defeated Fitch 4-1 to win the Class L championship at Dillon Stadium in Hartford on Nov. 21. Thomas Brodowicz scored a goal and added an assist, while Josh Gstell, Joey Tata, and Giankarlos DeJesus each added a goal. Will McCarter and Sammy Johnson tallied assists in the championship triumph. The historic win marked the 16th state title for the Eagles, which is a new state record.
2. Panthers Football Finishes Flawless
Cromwell/Portland football defeated Bloomfield 21-6 to win the Class S championship on Dec. 11 in Trumbull. Teddy Williams scored three touchdowns, giving him 30 for the season, and the Panthers defense completely shut down the normally potent Warhawks on a foggy morning in Trumbull. The win secured a perfect (13-0) season for the Panthers, who won their first championship since 2008 and the first title since Cromwell and Portland merged in 2015.
3. Ice Hockey Marathon in Semis
Newington co-op defeated Wethersfield 3-2 in a five-overtime thriller at the Newington Ice Arena on March 24. Sam Davies scored in the eighth frame to end the epic Central Connecticut Conference (CCC) semifinal game, advancing Newington to the finals where they would beat Tri-Town 5-0 to win the conference title on March 26. Killian Ranger and Sam Hedlund each scored twice in the championship game.
4. Undefeated Season for NHS BBall
Girls basketball at Newington High School completed an undefeated season (15-0) with a conference championship win over Windsor on March 26. Newington defeated the Warriors 52-40 behind 17 points and 11 rebounds from Lilly Ferguson. Alexie Armour added 10 points, a dozen rebounds, and two blocks. The conference title ended a dominant season for the team, which outscored their opponents by an average of 27 points per game.
5. Wise Clutch on Final Hole
Cromwell’s Jack Wise sank an eagle on the final hole to finish tied atop the leaderboard at the Division II championships at Stanley Golf Course in New Britain on June 7. Wise’s miraculous shot tied him with Danny Torres of Waterford for a share of the class championship.
6. Sheth’s Perfect Spring
Rocky Hill tennis sensation Suhani Sheth won all 18 matches, wrapping up an undefeated regular season with a singles win at Berlin on May 24. Sheth’s efforts, along with a strong group of singles and doubles players, helped the Terriers enjoyed their best season in program history, winning 15 of 18 regular season matches and defeating Watertown in the Class M tournament.
7. Quarterbacks Shine as Friday Night Lights Return
Following a cancellation in the fall of 2020, 11v11 football returned this fall with the team’s kicking off the regular season off on Sept. 10. Four of the area teams won their opener, including Newington who defeated Enfield 32-24 behind three touchdown tosses from Paddy Brown, who was making his debut behind center. Cromwell/Portland steamrolled Morgan 36-8 thanks to quarterback Cole Brisson’s three touchdowns (one pass, two rush). Wethersfield blanked Platt 20-0 behind a smothering defense and single caller Wil Bankowski, who debuted with three touchdowns (two pass, one rush). The following day, Rocky Hill kicked off and pounded East Catholic 20-7 behind the legs and arm of first-year quarterback Tyreice Dominque, who rushed for 169 yards and a pair of touchdowns on Sept. 11.
8. NHS Relay Races to Victory
The Newington boys 4x800 relay team won both the Class L track & field championship on June 1 and State Open championships at Willow Brook Park on June 10. The foursome of Michael Bohlke, Luke Brown, Reed Campbell, and Sam Geisler easily won the class championship, smoking runner-up Conard by nearly ten seconds, and then ran a blazing time of 7:57.79 to upset top-seeded Staples at the State Open.
9. Memorable Debut for WHS Lax
After a long wait, the boys’ lacrosse team at Wethersfield debuted on the varsity level with a come-from-behind 8-7 victory over Granby on April 10. The Eagles were primed to play varsity lacrosse in 2020 but the COVID-19 cancellation pushed it until 2021. In the historic opener, Wil Bankowski scored six goals as the Eagles erased a 6-1 deficit to complete an epic comeback. The team went on to win 14 of 15 regular season games in their inaugural varsity season.
10. Wiatrak’s Walk-Off
Freshman Victoria Wiatrak drove in two runs, including the game-winner on a walk-off in the bottom of the seventh as Cromwell softball eliminated Old Lyme (4-3) in the second round of the Class S tournament on June 2. Wiatrak’s walk-off sent home Jaime Anderson, who scored her second run of the day to advance the Panthers to the quarterfinals.
11. Championship Homecoming for Eagles Field Hockey
Wethersfield field hockey reached the state championship game for the first time since 1980 and, although they lost to powerhouse Guilford on Nov. 20, it was a banner year for the Eagles who won 18 games and played in the championship game for the first time since WHS started hosting the title games in 2005. Despite the loss, Eagles senior goalie Julie Peacock left it all on the field, stopping 29 shots in the title game. Peacock was part of a memorable senior class at WHS, which departs as the winningest class in program history.
12. Amaning Sprints to Record
Newington’s John Amaning Jr. broke the school record in the 100-meter dash, running a 10.74 in a meet at Wethersfield High School on May 13. Amaning, who was also a star running back at NHS, is currently running track and playing football for Lackawanna College in Pennsylvania.
13. Terriers Baseball Clinch Verse Rival
Rocky Hill baseball cemented a spot in the state tournament with a 10-4 victory over Wethersfield on May 19. Dennis Machial earned the win on the hill, striking out five, and also scored two runs from the plate. Zach Mascaro and Matthew Gwara also each drove in two runs, while Nick Aderhold had three hits and a run as the Terriers secured win #8.
14. Gagliardi Crushes Morgan
Tino Gagliardi had a game for the ages, connecting on four hits and driving in eight runs as Cromwell baseball outslugged Morgan 15-11 in Clinton on April 14. Gagliardi’s gigantic afternoon included a grand slam in the fifth inning, which erased a deficit and put the Panther up for good.
15. Burchell and Bobin Crowned Class Champs
Wethersfield’s Jayson Burchell won the class championship in the long jump and teammate Michael Bobin won the class championship in the pole vault as the Eagles finished sixth overall as a team at the Class L finals at Willow Brook Park on June 1. Burchell also placed third in the long jump and both went on to top six finishes at the State Open.
16. NHS Volleyball Continued Excellence
Newington boys’ volleyball made the state championship for the eighth time in the last ten seasons on June 10. The Nor’easters lost to Barlow in four sets, which marked the end of another successful season at NHS for a team that won 17 of 19 regular season games. Jacob Baclawski earned All-State after leading the team in kills (288) and aces (77).
17. In a Montalvo Minute, Anything Can Change
Freshman Louie Montalvo scored five points in the final minute as Wethersfield boys’ basketball held on to defeat Rocky Hill 56-49 at WHS on Feb. 22. Montalvo, who was held scoreless for the first 31 minutes, drained a three-pointer with .43 left in regulation and then stole a pass before sealing the game with two free throws.
18. MHS Javelin King
Middletown’s Trevor Drescher won the class championship in the javelin, throwing a meet-best 184-10 at the Class L championships at Willow Brook Park on June 1. Drescher, who is currently on the track and field team at Bucknell University, edged New Milford’s Sam Tarrant (183-03) to win the state title.
19. Perry Slings Discus Really Far
Rocky Hill’s Marina Perry won the class championship in the discus at the Class M finals at Willow Brook Park on June 2. Perry dominated the field, throwing 118-10, well ahead of runner-up Katherine Tunney of Weston (107-10). Perry also placed third in the shot put at the class championships.
20. WHS Baseball Outlasts NHS at Dunkin
Wethersfield baseball defeated Newington 4-2 at Dunkin Donuts Park on May 6. Matt Fletcher earned the win on the mound and Brendan Zaleski picked up the save as the Eagles held off a rally from their rivals to preserve a memorable moment at the beautiful venue in the Capital City.
21. Pettaway Nets 30
Tyah Pettaway scored a career-high 30 points as Middletown girls’ basketball defeated Platt 74-44 at MHS on Feb. 25. Pettaway nearly duplicated her feat in the next game, scoring a game-high 29 points as the Blue Dragons went toe-to-toe (49-44) with Newington, who finished the season undefeated and won a conference championship.
Sports Editor for the Rare Reminder, Glastonbury Citizen, and Rivereast News Bulletin