Runners braved the cold — temperatures were in the 20s but it felt like the teens with the wind chill factor — to participate in the Fourth Annual Turkey Trot Road Race on Thanksgiving morning. Newtown’s Zach Schwartz earned first place by completing the hilly course in a time of 15:50.70. The course started at Hawley Elementary School, and included a downhill stretch on Main Street past the flagpole, and the finish at Newtown Middle School. A steep hill on Schoolhouse Road at the start of the course and another long hill on Grand Place at the end of the course made the competitors earn their stuffing — along with everything else on the table for their traditional feasts — by running the 3.1-mile course. The top finishers — including age category winners — took home trophies and large pumpkin pies during an awards ceremony. Proceeds from the 5K run through town benefit the Cyrenius H Booth Library. Results may be found at thelastmileracing.com.
There haven’t been any defenses that have managed to stop the running game of Cooper Gold this fall. Add the Masuk Panthers, even with the assistance of Mother Nature providing difficult footing on Masuk’s natural surface during a steady light rainfall, to that list. Gold rushed for more than 250 yards — most of which came in the first half alone — and scored five touchdowns to lift the visiting Newtown High School football team to a 42-7 triumph over the Panthers on November 26.
For some, the idea of playing a game or being in a competition involves clicking a controller and moving virtual athletes around a screen. For Grandon Smith, once exclusively a video gamer, his competition of choice now is running — and he’s quickly emerged as a standout on the course and track. Having picked up running only a little more than a year ago, Smith has made some big strides, becoming the No. 2 runner on Newtown High School’s cross country team this past fall.
The celebration, all things considered, was somewhat subdued — no player pile-on after the final whistle, or water jug bath for the coach. Members of Newtown High School’s football team, nonetheless, left Brookfield High’s turf as the proud owners of the conference trophy yet again. The Nighthawks pulled away for 28-7 triumph over the Bobcats in the South-West Conference title game on November 21, claiming their second SWC crown in a row, in their fourth straight appearance in the pinnacle game.
As what’s left of the fallen leaves crunch under feet, mornings are welcomed (or unwelcomed) by frost, and light snow begins to flurry into the forecasts, baseball is far from being on the forefront of people’s minds. But this time of year remains extremely busy for those behind the scenes of the summertime game of balls and strikes — just ask Newtown’s Frank Rocca. He has been involved in administrative aspects of the game, locally, for the better part of two decades, and was recently named Babe Ruth Baseball state commissioner. “We are more busy now than ever,” said Rocca, who is in the process of scheduling summer tournaments for Connecticut’s many rising baseball stars. Rocca, during his two-year term, plans to continue to lead in the efforts to make the game a positive experience for up-and-coming ball players, something he’s done — sometimes at the angst of select parents but always for the betterment of the growth and development of the children, he believes — since he started coaching his own children back in 1985.
Residents from all towns are invited to the Newtown Youth Academy Sports & Fitness Center for a number of special events taking place in the days following Thanksgiving. Non-NYA members will be asked to pay fees to participate, but there are special workouts, kids' time, a Wiffle Ball tournament, a soccer tournament and drop-in dodgeball, street hockey and kickball on the calendar. College students can also take advantage of a special discount fitness pass for the week of November 24-December 1.
The Fourth Annual Turkey Trot 5K Road Race supporting Newtown’s Booth Library is selling out quickly. Well over half of the 1,000 spots for the running course are filled; last year the race sold out. Those who are interested in running are strongly encouraged to register soon by visiting www.newtownturkeytrot.com.
Chase Kowalski loved to run, bike and swim. Most of all he loved to race. The summer before he was killed inside Sandy Hook Elementary School with 19 other students and six staff members, the 7-year-old competed in his first triathlon. Wearing swim shoes and riding his red Lightning McQueen bicycle inspired by the speedy character from the movie Cars, Chase competed in a 20-yard swim, a half-mile ride and a third-of-a-mile run. He finished first in his age group. Now Chase’s family has started a foundation in his memory that will help other children experience the thrill of the race. The Chase Kowalski Memorial Fund is teaming with the Greater Waterbury YMCA to support that organization’s existing triathlon program for kids, and work to spread the program across the country.
Newtown High School’s football team is scheduled to play Brookfield in the South-West Conference championship game at 7 pm on Thursday, November 21. The Nighthawks, unbeaten at 10-0, are slated to face a Brookfield team that is 9-1, and 8-1 in SWC play. The Bobcats suffered their only loss at the hands of Newtown in a 35-7 outcome back on September 27.