The Sandy Ground Project was established by the New Jersey Fireman’s Benevolent Association last year. Its mission is to build 26 playgrounds along the coast of New Jersey, New York and Connecticut in towns hit by Hurricane Sandy. Each playground honors and and provides a lasting memory of the 26 children and teachers who lost their lives on December 14, 2012. Milford will be the location of one of those playgrounds, to be built in memory of James Mattioli. James was a 6-year old who was among the children killed on 12/14. His playground is scheduled to be built on March 15, with a ribbon cutting planned for March 22. That same morning, a 5K run/walk and kids fun run/obstacle course will be help to help cover the costs of the Milford playground.
After losing a 52-49 double-overtime thriller at Joel Barlow of Redding on January 31, the Newtown High School girls’ basketball team got back on track, beating the visiting New Milford Green Wave, 43-36, in a very important late-season game, on February 4. Newtown was led by Sarah Lynch who had 19 points and also led the team with three steals. Cassie Ekstrom contributed to the win by bringing down 11 rebounds. Mali Klorczyk gave the team a spark after hitting back to back 3-pointers and tacking on a couple more clutch buckets.
Another game, another close outcome – a fifth straight hard-fought win for the Newtown High School boys' basketball team. The Nighthawks used a wild fourth-quarter outburst to go on a 27-15 run to overcome host New Milford for a 71-62 win on February 4. Newtown earned its fifth straight victory to improve to 9-5 overall and 7-1 in South-West Conference play. New Milford fell to 4-10 overall (1-8 in SWC action). Ten of Newtown's 14 games have been decided by nine or fewer points, including a 58-56 nail-biter win over Joel Barlow of Redding in its previous tilt, another game in which a late rally made the difference. Newtown finished that contest with a 20-8 scoring run to eek out the victory. All things considered, the New Milford game was a lopsided affair for a Newtown team that has been involved in five games decided by four points or less.
Newtown High School’s gymnastics team scored 127.6 points to tie host New Milford and defeat Weston (113.4) on February 4. The Nighthawks were led by strong performances across the board. Elisha Wilson scored an 8.0 on the vault, an 8.9 on the uneven bars, and an 8.65 on the balance beam. Anna Jannott scored an 8.15 on the vault and an 8.45 on the beam.
Newtown High School’s dance and cheerleading squads took home South-West Conference championships on February 1. The girls put their best foot forward – collectively –to work together and stand out among the best in the conference in their home gymnasium. Both championships took place at Newtown High School. The dance squad showed tremendous versatility and skill by winning not only its second consecutive SWC hip hop championship, but also the jazz routine title.
Newtown High School’s indoor track and field teams had strong showings at the South-West Conference championships at the Floyd Little Athletic Center on February 1. The girls’ squad placed fifth among 14 school squads with 40 points, and the boys were sixth among 13 teams with 32 points. Weston’s girls’ squad was first with 105 points, and New Fairfield led the boys with 86. Amy Anyoha took home the title in the shot put event, and Jenna Calandro was first in the pole vault competition to lead the Newtown girls. Among the boys’ team highlights were runner-up finishes by the 4x200 meter relay team and long jumper Kevin Gorman.
They’ve found ways to pull out close games – winning a few nail-biters - and have fended off opposing teams’ comeback efforts during the first two-thirds of the season. Now, members of Newtown High School’s boys’ basketball team can add overcoming a late double-digit deficit to their list of accomplishments. The Nighthawks erased a 48-38 early fourth-quarter Joel Barlow of Redding lead en route to shocking the visiting Falcons 58-56 on January 31. Newtown, with the win, qualified for state tournament play with victory number eight this campaign. The Nighthawks, who have won eight of their last nine contests, improved to 8-5 overall and a stellar 6-1 in South-West Conference play. The rival Falcons fell to 6-8 (4-4).
Newtown High School’s boys’ swimming and diving team won its fourth meet in a row with a 91-82 victory over visiting New Milford on January 24. The Nighthawks established a commanding 91-32 lead after winning the 500 yard freestyle event, then exhibitioned the final four events on their way to improving to 4-1 overall. Newtown, in a 100-82 win over Masuk in Monroe on January 14, saw a team record set by Richard Huffman. He set the school’s new standard in the 500 freestyle by making his final touch in a time of 4:55.30, nearly three seconds faster than the previous record.
Newtown High School’s gymnastics team scored 129.7 points to defeat host Pomperaug of Southbury (126.7), Nonnewaug (126.3), and Oxford (86.3) on January 28. Elisha Wilson was first in the all around with a cumulative score of 34.5. Wilson had an 8.3 on the vault, an 8.7 on the uneven bars, an 8.5 on the balance beam, and a 9.0 in her floor routine. Kaitlyn Tumney scored an 8.4 on bars and an 8.7 on the floor.
The second annual Sandy Hook Run For Families will be held at Fairfield Hills on Saturday, March 29. The event will feature a 5K run/fitness walk, as well as a half-mile fun run for children ages 2-11. Newtown children ages 2-10 have been invited to draw a logo for the T-shirts that will be given to youth runners in March. Children are asked to draw a logo that is inspired by the race or conveys what their town means to them. Originally scheduled to close this week, the deadline for entries has been extended to Tuesday, February 4. Contest forms are available at the office of The Newtown Bee, at 5 Church Hill Road; and can be downloaded the race website.