In an effort to improve the experiences youth athletes have playing games they’re learning, coaches and board members from Newtown Youth Football & Cheer and Newtown Youth Basketball Association participated recently in Positive Coaching Alliance workshops, in which presenters came to town to offer tips and resources for coaches. “We’re getting coaches to think about the impact they can have on young kids’ lives,” said David Mahery, partnership manager for PCA New England. He added that coaches need to keep things in perspective and recognize that their approach and personality is often reflected in the attitudes and behavior of their team members.
Newtown High School’s divers made quite a splash this fall. Led by senior standout Kari Djonne and her talented peers, the Nighthawks excelled throughout the regular season and deep into the postseason, culminating with this past week’s State Open. Djonne, regularly the team’s top diver, finished second in both the Class LL state championships and State Open, the latter of which brings together the best of the best from teams among all four of Connecticut’s class sizes. Newtown teammate Gillian Eckwall, a senior, also qualified for the open and placed ninth. Senior Emma Wolfman, junior Sarah MacMullan, and freshman Kiera Sughrue also performed well in the postseason.
Newtown High School’s football team will host Glastonbury in the Class LL state playoff quarterfinals on Tuesday, December 1. Kickoff, at Blue & Gold Stadium, is set for 6:30 pm. The Nighthawks (9-1) are seeded fourth in the bracket, and Glastonbury (8-1) is ranked fifth. The winner will play in the semifinals on Monday, December 7; the highest-seeded teams to advance in the quarters will host semifinal contests.
Newtown athletes, including some who have taken their skills to the collegiate level, have been recognized for accomplishments on the playing fields, courses, and courts. Former Newtown High School standout football player Max Nacewicz, a senior at Springfield College, has been selected as the Liberty League Defensive Player of the Year. Will Arndt set records for Western Connecticut State University; Grandon Smith earned All Conference accolades; Emma Herring earned All-Tournament honors; and Jamie Calandro competed in an All-Star game.
Runners and walkers got Thanksgiving off to an early start as they participated in the 6th Annual Newtown Turkey Trot 5K road race and fun walk to support the Cyrenius H Booth Library, on November 26. Newtown’s Zach Schwartz was the first to complete the course, which started at Hawley Elementary School – at 7:45 am and in high 30-degree temperatures – and ended at Newtown Middle School. Schwartz, who was third last year and won the race in 2013, finished in a time of 15:47.
Newtown High School’s football team – Ben Mason specifically – feasted on host Masuk of Monroe for a 40-8 triumph in the annual Thanksgiving Eve battle, on November 25. Mason scored five of the visiting team’s six touchdowns. With the win, the Nighthawks improved to 9-1 and it appears have earned a Class LL state playoff quarterfinal round home game (seedings will be announced on Friday, November 27). Masuk finishes the season with a mark of 6-4.
Newtown’s Unified Sports soccer players practiced and competed in games throughout the fall season. The special needs athletes will bring their skills and enjoyment indoors for basketball season next. “It’s such an opportunity for these children to have a team, be on a team — and be cheered on,” said Jane McGrath, a volunteer with Newtown’s Unified Sports program, while at the Bunnell Unified Sports Soccer Tournament in Stratford, this fall.
A trio of Newtown High School athletes recently signed their National Letters of Intent to play sports at the collegiate level, and one committed to bringing her game to the next level as well, this past week.
Newtown Underwater Search And Rescue’s (NUSAR) annual comedy basketball fundraiser with the Harlem Superstars took place at Newtown High School on November 21. The Harlem team entertained the crowd with dazzling dunks and trick shots, led by 7-foot center Kevin “Tiny” Briggs and a group of talented athletes.
A pair of Newtown Thanksgiving traditions continue with the annual Newtown-Masuk high school football game on Turkey Day Eve, and the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving. This year, the football game will be played at Masuk High, 1014 Monroe Turnpike, Monroe. Kickoff on Wednesday, November 25, is set for 7 pm. Start your Thanksgiving morning early with the 6th Annual Newtown Turkey Trot 5K road race and fun walk to support the Cyrenius H Booth Library. The race will be held on Thursday, November 26, beginning at 7:45 am.