By: Josh Gstell and Brandon Rodriguez
Wethersfield High School offers several winter sports/activities including hockey, basketball, wrestling, boys swim and dive, and gymnastics. However, there is one often left out of this mix, being indoor track. When someone mentions winter sports here at Wethersfield High School, indoor track is one of the most overlooked.
Indoor track is a very underrated winter sport, considering there are no tryouts, and if you register, you are automatically on the team. Speaking on this, it relieves a lot of stress in the process of trying a new sport. High school sports are a great way to try new things, and make new friends, especially as an incoming freshman.
We spoke to Jake Errickson, senior Captain of the indoor track team for this past 2021/22 winter season. Jake has run indoor track all four years of high school and has shown to be a role model for the younger kids on the team, making him an easy choice for captain by both coach Jeffrey Weber and Jeffrey Sanborn.
Jake’s older brother Jimmy Errickson was a senior captain Jake’s freshman year and convinced Jake to join the team. “He [Jimmy] said the team atmosphere was great, and I would make a lot of friends by joining [the indoor track team]”, said Jake. In the end, Jimmy proved to be correct! Shown right is just a few friends Jake has made from indoor track.
However, meeting new people is just one positive aspect of indoor track. If you are wondering if the team is any good, this past season they saw great success. Jake stated, “this year was successful for me, I was part of the varsity team for the 4x800m and the 4x400m races. We ended up making the states time for the 4x800m and then came in 13th place at the states.” The team overall had 12 runners who qualified for state championships, and one runner, Holden Speed, who qualified for state opens, and for the New England championship.
Physical activity is very important when it comes to high schoolers. Staying active in the winter is definitely a challenge for some due to the weather, but indoor track is a great way to stay active during the winter months. If you or someone you know is looking to join a winter sport in which little to no prior experience or knowledge is needed, indoor track is a great choice! Just because others have overlooked the sport, it certainly doesn’t not mean that you should too!
By: Nick Farrelly
On Saturday, February 25, the Nighthawks girls ice hockey co-op team won their first-ever CCC title. This co-op girls hockey team consists of a number of towns, which includes Berlin, Newington, Avon, Southington, Coventry, RHAM, Lewis Mills, Plainville, Watertown, and of course Wethersfield.
After an excellent regular season, posting a record of 14-4-2, the Nighthawks kept rolling and defeated rival Hall/Conard in the CCC championship at Trinity College. Congrats to the girls on this amazing achievement.
Wethersfield High School’s own Nicole Partridge was named the MVP of the tournament. I sat down with her to discuss her thoughts on the season, the tournament, as well as being named MVP.
Partridge said about her MVP, “It felt awesome, I was not expecting it at all. It’s an honor. But it wasn’t just me, everyone on the team contributed in the tournament and played great, and we as a team deserved that win, but the job is not finished.”
A junior here at Wethersfield High School, Nicole is a captain for Nighthawks, and led the team in points throughout the season, along with fellow WHS student Bella Bonfiglio. Nicole continued her dominant season in the first two rounds of the state tournament, scoring two goals in each of the first two games.
In the first game of states against Suffield, the Nighthawks went down early, losing 2-0 after the end of the first period.
“It was a really nerve racking game. I think the nerves of being in such a big game got to us in the beginning, but I had faith in our team. We had a few little locker room speeches. These speeches brought us together, and gave us a good game plan for the next two periods.”
The locker room speeches paid off. The Nighthawks stormed back in the last two periods. RHAM’s Nina Holm scored the first goal for the Nighthawks, and Partridge added on two more, which was enough to propel them to victory.
In the second round of states, the Nighthawks came in as the underdogs against Simsbury. However, they were not underdogs for very long. Two more goals from Nicole Partridge as well as WHS’s own Sophia Nower silenced the Trojans, as the Nighthawks won 3-1.
“We really just added onto what we did in the last two periods against Suffield. We just played our game, and stuck to what we knew, and that ultimately won us the game,” stated Partridge.
Sadly, the Nighthawk’s great run came to a close this Saturday in Shelton at the hands of #2 seeded Darien. It was a hard fought game all around, but the Nighthawks fell 5-1, as Bella Bonfiglio scored the lone goal for the co-op team.
Despite the tough way these girls went out, congratulations to them on a historic and amazing season and run in the state tournament. They can only build on what they accomplished this year and will be back even stronger next winter.
From left to right: Bella Bonfiglio, Sophia Nower, Nicole Partridge of Wethersfield High School named All-Conference.
By: Nicole Partridge
Wethersfield Youth Recreational Basketball, a program that has existed for decades is a great way for 7-8th graders to get out and play a sport. Not only does it benefit the kids, but it also allows high school students to give back by coaching the kids.
For the 2021-22 season, many teams competed to try and bring home the first place championship shirt. The winning team, coached by Nick Farrelly along with assistant coaches: Ben Caulfield, Dylan Romagnoli, and Evin Adhin, had a season going against all odds, they lost to the team they played in the championship 4 times previously.
A team coached by 100% high schoolers, faced adult coaches that have been coaching for years now. They were also the underdogs, they weren’t supposed to have the tremendous season they did have. Farrelly said, “This might be the last game you’ll ever play for basketball, at least organized, leave it all out on the floor.”
While they were coaching, they learned just as much from their athletes. Farrelly said, “They taught me that I really enjoy coaching and that I really want to coach in the future.” While he is possibly looking up to the age group he coaches, he will never forget the kids who taught him that it's okay to coach loosely and that sometimes winning sprouts from focusing on having fun.
Other coaches, Joe Bellas for one, learned life-long lessons from coaching as well. Bellas said, “I learned how to grow and improve as a leader by learning from my players and working to create a fun environment.” His team also had a pretty successful season.
Aside from the coaches and players, fans had a great time at the game. Friends of the players had formed a student section of their own, cheering on their classmates. Junior, Ava Healy, supported the coaches at the championship game.
Everyone knew this championship was a very important thing for the kids. Healy says, “I felt a lot of pressure for them [the kids], I knew this meant a lot to them.” The middle schoolers endured the stress, excitement, and more that they will go through in future years.
When asked if she would consider coaching she agreed enthusiastically with, “Most definitely. Nick [Farrelly], Ben [Caulfield], Dylan [Romagnoli], and Evin [Adhin] really inspired me to want to start coaching.” This shows not only does it change the kid’s and coach's lives, but spectators as well.
Recreational basketball is a great activity, no matter if you are in 7th grade looking to play or high school looking to give back, or even spectating! This is definitely something anyone should look into, you never know what you may learn.
by: Ethan Malloy, Ethan Torres, and Jake Donahue
As the CCC Championship approaches, the Wethersfield Eagles hockey team is set to take on Northwest Catholic at the Mark Edward Freitas Ice Forum in Mansfield, Connecticut on March 4.
The Eagles have faced off against Northwest twice this year already, tying back in January 2-2, and losing 5-1 in February.
However, the Eagles stay optimistic and believe that a new game means a fresh start.
Senior Captain Colby Quinn said, “We had a great week of practice working hard, working on the things we needed too, and when we come out tonight they aren’t going to know what hit them.”
Starting defensemen TJ Mayfield added, “This is a big game for us, we have to come in with confidence and play the game we play. We have to come out with more aggression and show we want it more.”
Starting left wing Will Mccarter acknowledges that Northwest is a high-level team, and is not taking them lightly by any means. He stated,”Obviously they are a top 3 team in the state, it’s going to take everything we got to beat them, and we have to play every shift as hard as possible.
As the boys take the road trip down to Mansfield, Captain Jay Socha had one final thing to say,”The boys are rolling, and they're not stopping anytime soon.”
Note from the Editor: This is an article in a series called "Wethersfield Heroes," where our students work to highlight and honor those in our community going above and beyond amidst the tumultuous year. If you know someone that you would like to nominate as a Wethersfield Hero, please contact Mr. Martin at email@example.com.
by: Rei Betoja and Antonio Contreras
Rob Jachym is no stranger in the Connecticut soccer scene, and especially in the Wethersfield community. From a professional soccer player to one of the most recognized coaches in the state of Connecticut, Mr Jachym has created a legacy for himself so much so that some people could even call him a hero.
Robert Jachym moved from Poland to the United States in 1979 at the age of 5 years old. His left foot began to terrorize his opponents when he started at Maloney High School in Meriden, Connecticut. Being named an All-American in 1991 is what led him to his next step at the University of Hartford, where he was a second team All-American and graduated in 1996.
“[Jachym] is one of the most competitive people I’ve ever met, no matter what he does he always does 100%,” said college roommate Antonio (Tony) Leone. The dynamic duo are still friends to this day, so if anyone knows Rob, it's Mr. Leone.
With only one step left in a professional career, he was drafted by the Columbus Crew at the 3rd overall pick in the inaugural draft in 1997 . After 7 years in the MLS as well as the USL and 63 goals later, it was the end to Jachym’s playing career and the beginning to a new chapter.
Wethersfield did not understand how lucky they were when Rob Jachym became an assistant coach for the boys soccer team. But years later, it is relevant how he has changed the Wethersfield soccer culture as a whole. “I think this year's championship is a great example of what he has done,” Mr. Leone said. Rob led this year's team to another State Championship, the 5th under Rob and the 16th in the program's history, which is the most in the state.
But Rob reaches out past the varsity program and into the community of Wethersfield as a whole. Rob Jachym runs the Revolution Academy, which is a soccer summer camp that travels through the state of Connecticut, but for one week near the end of August it makes a stop to the town of Wethersfield.
A great number of those who lifted that trophy this year attended that camp as a kid and one of them being myself. This has made Rob somewhat of a celebrity in town. “ We couldn’t go into Dunkin Donuts without the people mentioning good luck Rob good luck boys keep it going coach.”
A hero can be defined as a person who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities. Mr. Leone went one to say “It’s also great for the town players at the younger levels to have something to aspire to.” A hero nonetheless. Kids in this town grow up idealizing him and aspire to play on that field, under those lights, and maybe even one day live one of those trophies. So when it comes down to if Rob Jachym is a hero, the answer is obvious.
He took over the head coach role in the year of 2000 and the rest is history. Success was no problem for Rob and the eagles as in the first 9 years as a head coach he already won 4 state titles. He had already made a name for himself as a player but was becoming even a bigger figure as a coach. This legendary status was set in stone when he was inducted into the Connecticut soccer hall of fame in 2010.
By: Ella Alger, Grace Lisella, Bella Tomaino
With the start of the upcoming high school basketball season upon us, players and teams are beginning their preparation. Exciting news from the CIAC on Oct. 29 stated that vaccinated players and coaches will not be required to wear a mask on the court.
This differs from the modified season teams saw last year, in which they were required to wear masks at all times with “mask break” timeouts implemented into the game. Sitting down with a few members of the Wethersfield High School basketball community, we were able to discuss how the upcoming season will differ from what we saw last season and how they will continue to stay safe this winter.
Jeffery Russell has been the head coach of the Wethersfield girls basketball team since the 2016-17 season, where he has helped lead his team to the state tournament each year and is no stranger to unusual circumstances. Back in March of 2020, his season was shut down due to the pandemic right before heading to the quarter finals of the state tournament.
Last year, the team was able to play a modified season that included the requirement of mask-wearing. When asked about his preparation for last year’s season, his goal was about getting “back to being a team again” and easing into the season, rather than the intense practices he has led in the past.
Additionally, when we asked how he would feel if masks were a choice again for this upcoming season, he told us, “My personal choice is yes. My youngest son still has some immune issues, so I mean I do just from a safety standpoint. They’ve never bothered me.” Masks or not, the girls basketball team is hoping to perform their same intensity on the court as we’ve seen in past years.
We also spoke to Coach Mark Bagdasarian, the assistant coach for the Wethersfield boys basketball team. Last winter, the boys already shortened season became even shorter due to a COVID outbreak on the team. They were forced to quarantine due to positive tests and close contact, which ended their season prior to the tournament.
For his preparation last year and this year he said, “How does it affect our preparation? It doesn’t.”
So it's just the same old season for Bagdasarian, no adjustments or alterations to the game plan, just play basketball. Furthermore stating, “I don’t like having kids wear masks, but I understand the reason for it.” Seeing that masks will not be in effect this season, Coach Bagsdasarian seems to be ready to bring the heat to the court.
Along with two of the Wethersfield basketball coaches, we also sat down with some players to receive their input on mask requirements from the past year and how they will feel having more breathing room outside of the mask this year.
We first met with senior Jack Frietas, who has been on the boy's basketball team since his freshman year and has played varsity since his sophomore year. When asked about masks affecting performance on the court, Frietas told us “I don’t think [masks] impact us at all, you just need to be in shape.” Frietas feels that masks do not affect a player’s performance during a game, instead “it’s just more annoying to have it on.”
From a players standpoint, running around at high intensity for 32 minutes with a piece of fabric on your face is not the most convenient experience in the world, so when players found out that masks would not be required for vaccinated players and coaches, they were most relieved rather than nervous. With COVID still being a present issue, taking other precautions will still be a priority. However, it puts players at ease to know that they will be able to get back to the game they always loved in the way it’s meant to be played.
By: Liam Stec
Jeffrey Sanborn, the Wethersfield High School boys cross country, indoor track, and girls outdoor track and field coach at Wethersfield High School, has been coaching for over twenty years, and is a coach well-liked and respected by athletes and students alike.
Starting his running career at Wayland Academy and advancing to the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse as a collegiate athlete, Coach Sanborn is a highly qualified coach. He also happens to be the only openly gay coach at Wethersfield High School.
However, Coach Sanborn has not always been an openly gay coach at Wethersfield High School, having only come out within the past 10 years. When asked about how he came out and what prompted him to come out 10 years ago, he said, “I actually first did it because there was a bunch of bullying issues at the time”, even noting that, at one point, a student was beaten up for his sexuality.
After this, it became clear to Coach Sanborn that allies were needed, and somebody to look to, as well as someone who could be used as a resource for any questions and further education was needed, and Coach Sanborn decided to take on this role.
When asking Coach Sanborn what his number one piece of advice was to those who are coming out, his first piece of advice was “go find allies.” To be an ally of the LGBTQ+ community means to be a person who has a genuine, strong concern for the well-being of LGBTQ+ people, supports accepts LGBTQ+ people, and advocates for equal rights and fair treatment.
There are numerous sites out there to help educate others in finding allies and a common ground, and one of the number one sites for this is The Trevor Project.
The Trevor Project is an LGBTQ+ supporting site that explores topics that others may be uncomfortable to talk about, discussing topics of suicide, sexual orientation, gender identity, mental health, and community. It’s a place many have found as extremely educational and helpful, even having a built in feature where if you press the escape button three times it will be deleted from your search history.
Educating yourself as well as others is one of the most important ways to fight the adversities and inequalities still present in the fight for complete equality. This even means correcting peers, friends, family, and anyone else when you hear or see something inappropriate, however there’s a way to go about it and do it right.
As said by Coach Sanborn “Tell them it’s not cool and tell them why.” The most basic thing you can do is educate people, tell them why it’s not okay, but make sure to not attack them; if you attack them aggressively they’ll attack you right back.
One important thing for people to realize is that often it’s simple word choices that need corrections. “I’ve never heard anyone say anything in a negative tone, it’s just a language choice they’re not consciously aware of,” said Coach Sanborn. Their language is a product of the culture they’ve been brought up in.
Coach Sanborn said it makes you think, “How many times have you heard someone say ‘That’s so straight?’ Nobody ever has. So why is it okay to say ‘That’s so gay?’”
Unfortunately, this is present in everyday life in varying degrees all over as seen in the news this week with Jon Gruden and his emails. Jon Gruden was an NFL coach of the Oakland Raiders, who had several emails released calling NFL commissioner several derogatory names and homophobic slurs. It is the actions of figures as large as these that can hurt others the most and cause some of the largest and lasting damage.
This is one of the biggest contrasts between coaches and highlights the effects of coaches on people: Some like Sanborn can help others and encourage people to be who they are, while others such as Gruden tear people down for something as simple as being themself.
This isn’t to say that people are completely alone though, according to a new study conducted by Outsports, the University of Winchester and the Sports Equality Foundation, 95% of athletes surveyed said their teammates’ responses to them coming out were overall “neutral” to “perfect”. This means 19 out of 20 times, there will be a positive response amongst athletes, and even then a team never consists of only 2 people, there will statistically be those who support and embrace you for who you are.
Here are some sites for additional information or personal research
by: Michael LaPerriere
Thursday, September 30th was senior night for the boys soccer team, with 20 seniors and one junior on the rostor it was sure to be an exciting night, truly inspirational for many.
The boys faced off against the Simsbury Trojans, coming off a tie with the Farmington River Hawks, the Trojans were hungry for a win. A hard fought battle between the Trojans and Eagles led to an Eagles win with a late goal by lone Junior of the team, Thomas Brodowicz.
I interviewed Brodowicz regarding the goal, this is what he had to say, “I was trying to make it to the corner to celebrate but I was swarmed by the team, other than that the goal was great for the team, and helped us keep our undefeated streak”. The junior was more happy for the team rather than the individualism that came out of the game.
The seniors struggled to put the ball in the back of the net, with many chances from headers to low shots, none found the net. Both defensive ends of the games were strong, the two captain center backs Owen Ahmetovic and (AJ) Antonio Contreras both played strong games, putting in great tackles and clearances while playing a large leadership role to the team. Goaltenders Chris Daley and Ricky Torres both played very strong games, shutouts for both.
Brodowicz is a prime example of never giving up, continually pushing, and fighting until the last second. He scored with 36.6 seconds left in the game, hardwork and determination led to this victory.I spoke with midfielder Willam McCarter who delivered the beautiful cross that led to the goal, this is what he had to say “I honestly thought they missed, then I saw him crash the net and everyone going crazy. I kinda stood there in awe for a second, then I bursted to Thomas and the team and went crazy.”
With the late goal, it pushed the Eagles to a six-game win streak, this will lead them closer to being the top team in their league. The goal will be one to remember and will live on in Wethersfield soccer history, his actions that night will not go unnoticed and made it truly a night to remember. Make sure you support the Eagles in the rest of their season, you can find their schedule here.
By: Joe Calafiore, and Savier Paige
The Wethersfield football team has been through some challenges these past years. Last year, they were going into a big season with a lot of big name seniors, but due to COVID, the season was canceled. This year, the team is ready to bounce back and try to show how they are still a good team.
So far this season, the team's record is 2-2. They started off the season with two big wins vs Platt, and Berlin and they seemed like they were on a good pace for this season, but they evened out their record with two straight losses against Bristol Central and Windsor. Most recently against Windsor they had their toughest loss yet, with a score of 21-0 at home.
The team is ready to switch up the momentum and get a big win against Conard for senior night. The players will be put in front of a big crowd as they will be honoring the school's seniors and the highlights of their careers. The team will look to feed off that energy of the crowd.
“Look for the win, nothing else matters to me on senior night,” said senior T.J Smith, the starting running back and defensive player for the Wethersfield Eagles. We took the time to talk to T.J to get his perspective on the current season.
Smith is focused on one main thing “WIN” and he will do whatever is needed to achieve it. With their last win against Berlin, T.J made a clutch last-minute interception to seal the game.
“We're gonna play our game, with our strength being defensive.” The Eagles have good faith in their defensive performance and feel that they can utilize it to push through and get that win that they are looking for.
Be ready to see your Wethersfield Eagles take the field against Conard this Friday night!
by: Sarah Karwic
Many people are familiar with the boys hockey team at Wethersfield High, but are unaware that there is also a girls hockey team. The team is a collective of 18 players from Avon, Southington, Newington, Litchfield, RHAM, and Wethersfield, 5 of which come from Wethersfield.
Wethersfield became involved in this team through current WHS senior Paige Muscillo. Muscillo states that when she was a sophomore, she received an email asking if she would be interested in joining the Avon-Southington co-op team. Since joining, she has loved being a member of the team and bringing in other Wethersfield players.
The team has not been immune to the changes brought by COVID-19. In their practices and games, they have had to make adjustments to comply with new regulations. According to Muscillo they “went from regular practice with masks, to only four players and a coach on the ice with masks.” In their games they have made accommodations to playing with masks, Muscillo stated, “One of the biggest differences from years before is wearing a mask on the ice, with mask breaks every 10 minutes. Due to this, it really slows down the game which can either work in our favor or the opposite.”
Off the ice they have had to make adjustments in the locker rooms. According to Muscllo they are still allowed to use them, but depending on the rink they are at and the size of the locker room there are limits to how many people are allowed in it. At the Newington arena they are only allowed to have 15 people at a time.
Spectatorship has changed too. Each player is allowed two guests, but only at home games.
Despite all of the added troubles caused by COVID-19, the team is going strong. The team is currently ranked second for their conference and fifth in the state. They have also only lost three out of fifteen games this season, so they are not letting COVID-19 ruin their season.
By: Owen Gagne
It has been over a year since Wethersfield Public Schools closed due to COVID-19 and the CIAC (Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference) has officially allowed us to have races. Coach Jeff Sanborn, head coach of girls and the boys distance squad, is going to speak on the topic and tell us more.
There has been lots of speculation about the upcoming outdoor track season, but as of March 1, the CIAC has allowed for races and sent out schedules. Coach Sanborn said, “We are going to have dual meets only, no invitationals, and 6 of the 7 meets will be at home.”
This is great news for all track athletes, especially considering last year's season was cancelled entirely.
This outdoor season will be a lot different than the indoor season WHS just had. Coach Sanborn told us that some guidelines have changed, for example the team does not need to wear masks during races. Also, unlike the indoor season, there is a set schedule for the team to follow and WHS can race other schools rather than just intersquad.
Training in the outdoor season will also dramatically change for athletes in field events from what it was like in the indoor season. For those training for the field events (javelin, discus, high jump, etc.), there are facilities outdoors that become useful to them and there are dedicated coaches for each event rather than just a head coach.
Distance and sprint training will stay similar, but with some minor adjustments because the track is now available for workouts instead of the parking lot.
Compared to previous outdoor track seasons, WHS has significantly less people on the team. “Our numbers are down, we got the rosters this morning and we have 30-40 kids on each side fewer than what we expected to see,” says Coach Sanborn. This puts pressure on certain athletes because WHS does not have the depth that they are used to having when put in competition.
Although the team has no invitational meets this year, the state and state open meets will still be held normally, but there will not be a New England meet. This changes up how the coaches will set up meets because rather than having one athlete focus on qualifying for New Englands, they will focus on helping the team win a state championship. For example, instead of that athlete focusing on only the mile, they will run the 4x8, mile, and 3200m events.
For this outdoor season, Coach Sanborn plans on focusing more on training in the first three weeks because, unlike previous years, there is a week and a half break between indoor and outdoor rather than 6-9 weeks. With this change, he expects athletes to perform a lot better early on in the season than usual. Also, with the young team that WHS has, he expects a lot of improvement from his athletes throughout the season.
This outdoor season is an interesting one, but every athlete is looking forward to it. You can click here to find the team schedule and results as the season progresses. Nothing has been said about spectators yet, but since 6/7 of the meets are home, show up and support if allowed!
By: Chase Millen
Wethersfield High School offers several spring sports including baseball, lacrosse, volleyball, tennis, track and field, softball, and a few other extracurricular activities. A lot of the restrictions have changed in the past few months, and they will continue to change, so we must adapt.
In order to play any sport this spring, a waiver must be read and signed by the student as well as their parent or legal guardian to ensure that they are aware of the possible risks involving the virus and extracurricular activities.
It is always uncertain what might happen during the season. A team could get completely shut down for two weeks, or a team might get lucky and have nothing holding them back for the entire season. All sports will still be required to wear masks when they aren’t actively competing.
However, volleyball players are required to wear a mask even during competition because it is indoors, while every other sport is played outdoors and they don’t require a mask during active competition. Most sports will have a 16-20 game season along with a state tournament.
Each sport has a specific set of guidelines that must be followed. For example, in baseball, each team will use their own balls while on defense as well as disinfecting them regularly. Masks will also be required during close contact, so in the dugout or at a pitcher's mound visit. There will be no pre or post-game handshakes between teams, no sharing water bottles, a few obvious rules during the pandemic.
According to the Athletic Director at Wethersfield High School, Mr. Maltese, none of the spring sports should be impacted by the virus any more or less than any other sport. As long as all athletes follow the correct protocol, it should be a successful season.
Practices and games will be affected the same as the winter sports. If any player or coach tests positive, contact tracing will be done to determine whether the athlete or the entire team will be temporarily shut down to quarantine.
Maltese believes that if all sports follow guidelines, then they should be just fine, however, golf has the lowest chance due to the fact that it is easier to stay six feet away from teammates and opponents. Also, due to the fact that ten out of the eleven sports teams will play outside, spring sports will hopefully not be impacted too much. After the basketball teams and wrestling were ended prematurely this winter, we all are hoping that no other team has to go through what those teams had to go through.
By: Aaron Cholewa and Aaron Guay
With spring sports right around the corner, many people are wondering how the Wethersfield High School baseball team will do or if they will even get to play. Given the success they’ve had in recent years, many are expecting another successful season, if. Seniors Eamon Coggins and Brendan Zaleski, as well as Head Coach Bagdasarian were able to provide their insight on the year.
Both ball players were in agreement that they just want to play baseball in the spring. “We’ve been robbed of that [varsity baseball experience]. I just want to play baseball, any sort of baseball,” said Zaleski. Coggins was very vocal that he too wanted the senior experience to play any form of baseball.
Coggins made it clear that he wanted to play a normal schedule with no travel restrictions. Brendan was able to provide some hope to Eamon, saying that the CIAC is predicting no geographical restrictions. He also added that this year’s schedule might be identical to last year's unused schedule.
The Zaleski and Coggins duo stated that pitchers and catchers can begin throwing on March 20-22. Then, the official tryouts will begin on March 29. With the season approaching quickly, some could be concerned about the team’s success. Coggins and Zaleski however, were not.
by: Andrew Labbe
Over the past year, there is no doubt that COVID changed our world, and especially the lives of high schoolers. With classes interrupted and activities often cancelled, so many still have the question, “Will there be a tennis season this spring?”
It may just be a hobby for some, but for others, it’s a possible career. There are some teenagers who spend countless hours every week practicing for tennis, hoping to improve themselves for the high school season. Due to the cancelation of last year’s season, Seniors this year are worried about missing their last tennis season.
According to WHS Tennis Coach Jeffery Roets, there will be a season, it will just look different, he said, “We will have a season (as of now)... The tournament will be the most different - no open class tournament like we've had in the past; boys will follow the girls' tournament model of head to head playoffs.”
While maintaining safety by limiting contact via removing the previous state tournament style, it will make it harder for individual team members to progress through the bracket to possibly become seeded.
When he was asked how the safety of the team members could be ensured, he said,“Ensure is probably a stretch - but tennis is one of the lowest risk sports and has been so defined since April of last year.”
His statement is proven to be true, since tennis is a low contact sport. Whether playing singles or doubles, there is a great deal of distance between the players.
The CIAC is positive that there will be a tennis season. In fact, they have already confirmed the first practice to be March 20 and the first contest to be April 3. If things go according to plan, the highschool might yet see another successful tennis season.
Although, if this year has taught us anything it is to expect the unexpected. Though the tennis season has already been scheduled to start, covid still has a chance to interfere. If cases start to spike in the US again, possibly due to the ever popular upcoming superbowl, the tennis season might possibly be canceled another year.
by: Tyler Burgos
The year of 2020 was wild, especially for the class of 2021. During the start of the school year, most seniors were looking forward to an outstanding sports season. For WHS, two standout student-athletes, Marcus Nieves and Nick Thompson, were both highly impacted for multiple seasons worth of sports, most notably the cancelled 2020 football season.
Before the cancellation of football, students held on to hope as the Department of Public Health went back and forth between decisions for months. By Dec. 25, the DPH said they would push football to spring and have practices and games then. When spring finally came around, they cancelled the season altogether.
When talking with Nick Thompson and Marcus Nieves about how he felt, Thompson said,“I was angry, sad and mad on why they would push it back.”
Nieves then said, “It was pretty upsetting to see that it’s senior year and just knowing it's my last year. I know this year I could have projected more of my skills and talent so I can get more offers for college.”
Throughout the tough time, both athletes handled their emotions with help from Coach Matthew McKinnon, friends, and, most importantly, family. With all this help they stayed positive going into another season with the same problem of it being cancelled.
Even with the cancellation of wrestling, they both push not only themselves, but their teammates at practices to become better athletes. With them being outstanding teammates and athletes, they both felt and said, “ I wish I could’ve pushed a little bit harder at every practice, meet, and game. Just to show I'm more than what I showed previously.”
With the year coming to an end I asked whether they would pursue sports in college and where. Thompson said, “ I won't be continuing sports at a higher level but, I will be going to trade school and become an electrician.”
Nieves said,“ I will be continuing my sports career but, I am still undecided as of where I want to go.”
by: Michael Schneider and Gustavo Reyes
The CIAC has announced that the winter season is back on. We are now two weeks into this winter season and teams have been practicing and even having scrimmages.
Due to the pandemic, teams have shortened their seasons and there will be no state tournament. The teams started tryouts and practices on January 19, with games as early as February 1.
The CIAC assessed each sport’s risk level for COVID-19 transmission. The only sport categorized as low-risk is swimming, all the sports considered as moderate-risk are basketball, ice hockey, gymnastics, and indoor track, and the ones considered as high-risk are wrestling, competitive cheer, and competitive dance.
Even if indoor track is considered as a moderate-risk sport CIAC recommends not holding large, multi school meets throughout the season. Even if it's not clear for an alternative option for the meets, at WHS there will be intrasquad competitions and time trials instead.
Senior captain of the hockey team Kevin Avery says, “We are all pretty excited about this upcoming season even though it’s not a normal one, at least we get one last season to remember.”
How sports have changed
This season is definitely one to remember for everyone. Practices have everyone wearing a mask and there are no scrimmages during practice till after the 1st of February.
The Central Connecticut Conference is going to be different as well. Teams will only play other teams that are close to each other geographically.
The high-risk considered sports have to be limited to have small group conditioning and non-contact skill building activities for the entire season.
After last season's abrupt end to the post season tournament, the CIAC have announced that there will not be a postseason tournament this year due to pandemic.
However, there will be some postseason experience with an inter-conference tournament. It will be a 2 game playoff between the 4 best teams so that their season still goes on.
Although this isn’t your traditional season, it at least gives students a chance to have some sort of a season.
By: Cristin Blake
Cheerleading is a fall and winter sport at Wethersfield High School, offered to any freshman, sophomore, junior or senior, and is coached by Ali Cormier.
During the seasons, athletes train their body and enhance their skills in stunting, tumbling, jumps, and remembering sideline chants and routines for halftimes at games and competitions. However, this cheer season was unlike any other due to the long lasting effects of COVID-19.
As a member of the Wethersfield High School cheer team, I have seen the challenges this fall and incoming winter season have brought due to the limitations the virus has brought to the team.
Coach Ali Cormier and senior captains Dynasty Ellis, Madeleine Day, and Julia Ward have all been working together to try and make these seasons as normal as possible. With all the new restrictions and limitations put in place throughout the season, many of things that were allowed before the virus came, are labeled as high risk now. The commitment to cheerleading has affected the girls, too.
“The pandemic did affect the girls trying out because we really truly only had two days to tryout,” says senior captain Dynasty Ellis.
Dynasty and her other fellow captains Madeleine and Julia have been trying to find easier ways to teach everything, like sideline chants, proper jump and motion technique, and the function of games for the upcoming basketball season.
by: Annie Klementon
The Covid-19 situation is ever changing, which means the guidelines for a safe and enjoyable high school soccer season are flexible. The WHS girls soccer program is complying with the strict precautions at every practice and game to ensure that their sport season will not be interrupted by preventable obstacles.
Masks are a necessity for all members of the WHS community, but the girls soccer program is rarely seen without them. These masks are worn upon arrival to practice or games and kept on until the event actually begins, on the bench, sideline, or bus, and as soon as the event ends.
A single player at any level is allowed two fans to home games, but no opposing fans are permitted. Low attendance at the games is not something that has impacted the level of play, but some players feel less motivated when all of their desired guests are not watching.
The beginning weeks of the season were difficult because nothing was the same as the players remembered, but over time, they learned to focus solely on the important things, like being able to have a season at all.
In regards to the sometimes annoying protocols, junior player Cindy Biraci said, “I don’t mind the extreme measures because I know that everything is just to keep us safe and playing, which is something we all want”.
The competition is not as steep as it has been in the past for this WHS team because a small league has been composed of local towns, meaning that skill level has not been taken into account. There are three games (Middletown, Maloney, and Rocky Hill) that are pretty much guaranteed wins for Wethersfield, but two other games (Berlin and Newington) are not predetermined.
Junior Varsity coach Amanda Pace said, “All of these games are opportunities for every player to get better. They are also distracting these girls from the crazy life they are currently living and allowing them to focus on something they are good at. No game is truly easy, but the less competitive games are another way to prepare for the tougher ones coming”.
At this point in the season, the girls varsity team has completed more than half of their season, with a record of seven wins and one tie. The players and staff will continue to follow the rules for the remaining four games and any tournament that is composed for the final weeks.
By: Matthew Fletcher and Bobby Schiavone
With the Wethersfield basketball season right around the corner, starting shooting guard and senior captain Luke Latina gets ready for an exciting yet different season, he prepares to get locked into a game…with a catch.
He won’t see anyone’s full face and will enter the game with no fans in the building due to Covid-19 protocols. We asked him some questions to get his feel for what this season has to bring.
When asked about the new potential safety protocols in place, Latina said, “The CIAC is doing a great job in what they have prepared for us and making sure our season goes on as scheduled.”
He also believes that they will play every scheduled game on time with these protocols put in place.
Latina is concerned but hopeful for the culture of the locker room without fans and with masks, saying, “It will be different, I think everyone will be thankful that everyone will be able to play since they know they have a better opportunity to play.”
When he asked about not having fans, Latina said, “I think it will be a bummer to not see fans in the stands but I feel confident the other captains and I are good enough leaders to get our team where we want them, mentally and physically, the whole game and in big moments.”
Latina believes these protocols will give his team an advantage, saying, “With no outside noise and background antics, kids can have a less stressful experience on the court.”
He thinks that kids will ease into the offense and defense easier with just his team and nobody else around them.
At the end of the day, no one knows how the season will end up, but this senior captain believes in everything the CIAC has to offer for their senior season and can't wait to start playing.
By: Erica Christie
The entire world has been turned upside down, so it is no surprise that things at Wethersfield High School have changed. One of the things that has specifically changed is the new COVID-19 guidelines for the girls volleyball team.
This is my fourth and final year as a member of the program and it is definitely a season that I , and everyone else have never experienced before. And although I am sure that other participants in high school fall sports feel the same, the major thing that separates volleyball from the crowd is that coaches and players are required to wear face masks during all games and practices.
According to the CIAC (Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference), “ Masks must be worn by coaches at all times…When practicing indoors masks should be worn by students if they feel they can play without distraction and are able to continue adequate respiration.”
Why does only volleyball have to wear masks but field hockey and soccer players get tonplay face covering free?
As claimed by CIAC, “Although there is infrequent close contact between opposing players involved with this sport, the fact that activities for this sport are occurring indoors and involve significant physical exertion and forceful communication with teammates, the risk for person‐to‐person spread of infectious droplets is elevated for this specific sport.”
Even though these conditions are less than ideal, when compared to not having a season at all, most of the girls on the team will happily pull the straps around their ears and get on the court.
When asked if she would rather wear a mask than not have a season, senior captain Kathleen Sullivan answered, “I would definitely rather play with a mask on then not have a season at all. I still like playing and it’s really not that much different with the mask on.”
Other players also share the same mindset towards the masks. Senior captain Gabriella Amoddio said, ”It took some time to adjust and I definitely still struggle during long rallies but overall it’s really not that bad.”
With the mask guidelines and overall risk of contracting COVID- 19, participating in this 2020 season was a tough decision for some, but the temptation to be back on the court was too strong to pass up.
Varsity head coach Katie Stanley said, “ After talking with my family and the athletic department about the safety measures set in place, I felt comfortable and safe to coach. I was approached with a unique opportunity to coach the varsity team this year and have had a great experience so far!”
All in all, WHS girls volleyball isn’t letting the masks stop them and the girls and I are excited to play the rest of this season.
Written, edited, and produced by Wethersfield High School students, covering all news and events.