Experience proved to be beneficial for Newtown High School’s softball team when a strong roster of returnees improved on its previous season’s record with three more victories. Coming off a 13-7 regular season (11-4 in conference play) in 2013, this year’s version of the Nighthawks — also a familiar looking squad — hopes to again build off its previous season’s success. The Nighthawks, who fell in the quarterfinal round of the South-West Conference Tournament and in the second round of the Class LL state bracket, lost only two players to graduation. That’s the good news. The bad news is that they were key contributors: Courtney Escoda and standout Jess Gibbons, the latter of whom joined current Manhattan College senior Kate Bowen on the school’s short list of 100-hit club members.
With every year comes change. Rosters, lineups, which opponents are toughest, etc. For the past 13 years, however, the coach of Newtown High School boys’ tennis team was the same. Now, the boys’ tennis team is led by a new head coach as Brett Teolis succeeds longtime leader Marty Margulies. Teolis inherits a squad that went to the South-West Conference championship, ultimately falling to Weston in the pinnacle match, but that also faces plenty of change on the courts. A handful of players graduated, leaving a mix of up-and-coming and returning players to make up the lineup.
Coming off consecutive seasons in which they captured South-West Conference championships, the Newtown High School girls’ tennis team will rely on a somewhat new group of players to stay at the top. The Nighthawks, who went 15-1 in the regular season before successfully defending its SWC crown, then reaching the state tournament’s semifinals, lost eight players from a year ago. Four graduated and two each were claimed through moves out of town and opting not to play.
Newtown High School’s golf team returns all of its top golfers from last year’s squad, and the Nighthawks are hoping their experience on the courses pays dividends this spring. The Nighthawks are led by captains Bubba LeBlanc and Vivek Tedla. Other top golfers back in the fold are Graham Hubbert, Josh Houle, and Colin Patrick.
Every spring and fall, youth soccer players of a variety of ages — and abilities — run around the local fields to have fun and develop their skills. This is made possible through the efforts of many paid and unpaid people and, for the past decade plus, Torrie Laros has been one of those dedicated volunteers. Laros, who served as president of the Newtown Soccer Club for the past half dozen of her 11 years helping out, stepped down this past fall. John Premus has taken over as president of the club. For her efforts, Laros has earned the Newtown Bee’s Harmon Award For Sportsman of the Year, named in honor of former Bee Sports Editor Kim Harmon.
Children, adults, and teams are invited to participate in the Third Annual Mad Dash Adventure Race, a challenging, physical, running, and skilled event course, that will take place on the Fairfield Hills campus on Saturday, June 7.
Master Michael Porco, Sr and Master Michael Porco, Jr, from Porco’s Karate Academy in Sandy Hook, recently attended the 25th Masters’ Clinic held by the World Tang Soo Do Association (WTSDA). It was held at the University of Northern Alabama in Florence, Ala, under the leadership of Dr. Robert Beaudoin, its current Grandmaster.
Running a race can be a rewarding and/or challenging experience for those who lace up their sneakers, but for participants of the Sandy Hook 5K — held in honor of those whose lives were lost on 12/14 — this event has unique significance, especially for those from Newtown. “Being from this town, it’s heartbreaking to have happen what happened,” said Sandy Hook’s Rachel Gottmeier, moments after crossing the finish line as the top female finisher at the March 29 race, which started and finished at Fairfield Hills. Gottmeier, 35, came in 14th overall, crossing the finish line in a time of 21:13.
Every athlete of organized team sports in Newtown can stay here in town to practice and compete — every one except for hockey players. The youth skaters hit the ice in surrounding towns, including Danbury, and Newtown High School’s hockey team’s “home” ice is at Danbury Ice Arena.
Newtown High School’s wrestling team, winner of the Class LL state championship, earned recognition from the Connecticut High School Coaches Association at its All-State Wrestling Banquet, held recently at the Aqua Turf in Plantsville. The Nighthawks were selected as the team of the year among competition from all four class sizes. Chris Bray earned Head Coach of the Year accolades, and Mike McKeever took home Assistant Coach of the Year honors in the Class LL division.