Newtown High School’s divers competed in the Class LL state championships at Bulkeley High in Hartford on November 6. The Nighthawks’ top diver, Kari Djonne finished in second place, with a finals tally of 439.05, good for 27 points. Newtown’s Gillian Eckwall was eighth with a score of 349.55 for 21 points, and teammate Emma Wolfman came in 15th with a score of 293.15 for 12 points.
After reeling off three straight wins — two at the end of the regular season to qualify for Class L state playoffs, and a state bracket qualifying round contest — Newtown High School’s field hockey team’s season came to an end in a 3-0 loss at New Milford in the first round on November 5. New Milford, the third seed in the bracket, scored on a penalty stroke with 14:12 left in the first half and established a 2-0 lead by halftime. Newtown didn’t muster a shot on goal until Emily Campbell made a nice effort to put one on the cage with just under 13 minutes remaining in regulation. Newtown was outshot 14-3 and goaltender Casey Demers made 11 saves.
In a tough end to the season, the Newtown High School boys’ soccer team lost 2-0 at the hands of the Glastonbury Tomahawks, the defending state co-champions, in the first round of the Class LL state tournament on November 3.
Threatening to knock off the South-West Conference champion New Milford Green Wave, Newtown High School’s girls’ soccer team made things interesting before falling 2-1 in a penalty-kick heartbreaker in the first round of the Class LL state tournament on November 4. Seeded 22nd in the bracket, Newtown was the underdog, but the No. 11 Green Wave knew to expect a close battle after the familiar SWC foes played to a 1-1 tie during the regular campaign. They played to another 1-1 deadlock through 80 minutes of regulation and another 20 minutes of OT before the host Wave won 3-1 in a best-of-five round of PKs. Brenna Kelly scored Newtown’s lone goal during the kicks.
If at first you don’t succeed — try again. The adage certainly applied for Newtown High School’s field hockey team in a 2-0 win at Southington in the qualifying round of the Class L state tournament on November 3. Newtown, stymied in the first half despite an advantage in scoring opportunities, and thwarted on a golden chance less than two minutes into the second half, eventually broke the scoreless deadlock and, in doing so, moved on to the first round. Newtown, the No. 19 team in the bracket, will visit third-seeded New Milford at 2 pm on Wednesday, November 5.
Strong serving and passing lifted Newtown High School’s girls’ volleyball team to a 3-0 (25-15, 25-22, 25-14) win over visiting Hamden in the Class LL state tournament’s first round on November 3. The Nighthawks, seeded ninth in the bracket, shook off some mistakes and strong play by the No. 24 Green Dragons to advance into the second round. Newtown will visit No. 8 Southington, a winner over No. 25 Bristol Central, at 6 pm on Thursday, November 6. Newtown servers compiled 15 aces, including three each from Jamie Calandro, Tonya Tucker, and Julia Wiberg. Kyle Dandrea had 11 kills and ten digs, Clara Whaley had nine kills, Calandro had six kills and six digs, Tucker added four digs, and Alexa Reilly, who also brought her usual strong serving game to the court, contributed a trio of digs. Solid serves by the Nighthawks put the Dragons on their heels and let to several errant returns.
Basketball is an intense game with quick ball movement, lots of scoring, moving screens, plenty of contact, and fouls. Add wheelchairs to the mix and you’ve got a similarly fast-paced game with a twist. On October 25 and 26, athletes from six basketball teams competed in the McKane & Kennedy Memorial Tournament hosted by NYA Sports & Fitness Center. The Connecticut Spokebenders took on other National Wheelchair Basketball Association (NWBA) teams from New York and Massachusetts in a fun-filled yet competitive tourney. These athletes not only passed, dribbled, shot, and scored, but also followed wheelchair game-specific rules to avoid traveling violations — showing off their coordination and strength as they moved feverishly up and down the court.
Sparked by a record-setting performance by its 200 yard freestyle relay team, Newtown High School’s girls’ swimming and diving team placed second in the South-West Conference championships, which wrapped up with swimming events at Masuk High in Monroe on November 1. Perennial powerhouse Pomperaug of Southbury won the competition with 581 points. Newtown scored 415 to beat out Weston (third place with 391 points) for the runner-up team finish. Brookfield was fourth and host Masuk was fifth in the 11-team championship. Newtown’s 200 relay team of Mary Hufziger, Eliza Eggleston, Amanda Mele, and Amy Martinelli combined for a time of 1:40.30, which set not only a team record, but also a conference championship meet mark.
Newtown High School’s girls’ volleyball, field hockey, and girls’ and boys’ soccer teams all qualified for state tournament action, which gets going on Monday, November 3, and Tuesday, November 4. Only the volleyball squad earned a first-round home match; the others will have to prove their mettle on the road to advance into second-round play. The volleyball team (14-4 during the regular season) earned the Class LL bracket’s ninth seed and will host No. 24 Hamden at 6 pm on November 3. Newtown’s field hockey team (7-9) earned the Class L’s 19th seed and will have a qualifying-round clash with No. 14 Southington (10-6) at 2 pm on November 3. Both soccer teams had winning records but will have to win away from their familiar home digs.