For their efforts, skill, and scoring prowess — along with their ability to play two sports — Bridget Power and Dan Hebert are this year’s Newtown Bee’s Athletes of the Year. Both athletes won championships during their careers, were captains, and played significant roles in the success of their squads during their respective senior seasons and throughout their NHS playing days.
Power capped off a soccer and basketball career that included state championships in both sports. Hebert, meanwhile, finished his football and lacrosse run, which was highlighted by South-West Conference titles in both sports.
There is no shortage of athletes who go all-out and put forth tremendous efforts, often overcoming injuries and playing through pain at Newtown High. Power and Hebert epitomize that driven, hard-working, seemingly fearless athletic style of play that has led to individual and team success.
“Bridget has been a leader on the field for us for three years. Her desire to win is among the best I have ever seen,” her soccer coach, Marc Kenney, comments.
Power took one for the team by dropping back from her midfield position to play the sweeper position in the state soccer playoffs during her junior year.
“As I said throughout last year’s state championship run, we moved her to the back where she really helped us win balls in the air and kept opposing front players at bay. Without question, we do not win a title without her buying into this change and performing every time she stepped on the field. I am a better coach for having the opportunity to work with her. Nobody deserves this award more,” said Kenney.
On the soccer field, Power was an All SWC first team selection and won the state tourney title game Most Valuable Player Award.
On the basketball court, the guard helped the Nighthawks make a run to the championship in her junior year and also earned All SWC recognition.
Power, who was recruited to play basketball at Catholic University in Washington, D.C., recognizes that she is fortunate to have been on a pair of state title winning squads. “I know how lucky I am to be able to have accomplished that and I owe that to both teams. They were both amazing in their own way,” she said.
Power says competition is what drives her in sports. “I’m a really competitive person,” she said, adding that team camaraderie is one of her favorite aspects of being on a team. “Everyone’s really close and it’s like a family,” she said.
Hebert, a receiver/defensive back who also returned kicks and occasionally was called upon to throw passes, suffered a broken arm during the football team’s title run this past fall, but supported his teammates from the sideline of every game.
“I believed in them and they really went out and they played hard, and they played for me and they won that game — and I’ve never been more proud of a team,” Hebert said.
“Dan was the rare combination of a great leader and a great athlete. Dan was an inspiration to the coaches and players during all four years he was on the field,” said Steve George, coach of the football team.
On the football field, Hebert was an All State honoree for two years and earned All SWC first team mention three times. Hebert helped the football team to the conference championship game three years in a row and to a pair of state playoffs. A captain on the gridiron, he earned the SWC Leader Award this past fall.
“Dan has a tremendous work ethic, which is much of the reason he is so accomplished,” George said.
Hebert was also a lacrosse team captain this past season. The attackman/midfielder was a two-time All SWC honoree and was named All State this year. He was among the team’s top point-getters, regularly assisting teammates.
Hebert, who was recruited to play football at Central Connecticut State University, says there are many things that he enjoys about playing sports. “The feeling you get from winning a game or just playing under the lights” are among them, Hebert said. “And all of my friends are on my sports teams — seeing the improvement that we made and the accomplishments that we have achieved this year. You put work in and you see what you get out of it.”
Playing a sports takes a lot of commitment and practice, and that’s the most challenging aspect of playing sports for Hebert. “You have to consistently be getting better,” Hebert said. “All season with football and lacrosse it’s constantly lifting, running, working on your speed, working on your plays, and everything like that.”
“For me, it’s the physical toll on your body,” Power said of what she finds to be most demanding about playing sports.
Power and Hebert are excited to see where their athletic lives take them, but both will also fondly recall their Newtown High experiences.
“If I could go back and change it, I wouldn’t,” Power said. “Because I’ve just had an amazing four years.”
“I have memories and relationships with every single player that I’ve played with and I’m going to cherish those for ever,” Hebert said.