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.
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.
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.
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.
The Hartford Marathon Foundation’s Sandy Hook Run for the Families was awarded “Best Amateur Single-Sport Event” by SportsTravel Magazine at the Travel, Events And Management in Sports (TEAMS) ’13 Conference & Expo in Salt Lake City, Utah, last week.
Members of Newtown High School’s girls’ swim team participated in the Class LL state championships this past week and came out with strong performances. The diving competition was held at Bulkeley High School in Hartford on November 6 and Newtown recorded three top-ten finishes among 28 finalists. The swimming events were held at Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven on November 12 and Newtown had a half-dozen top-ten individual and relay race placements.