The 2014 calendar year featured a variety of shining moments in the local athletics scene. As has been the case in past years, there were record-setting efforts and championships. The past 12 months also featured more memorable regular-season games, including Newtown High School’s football team preventing an opponent from breaking a state record. A cheerleading squad claimed the spotlight — at the national level. There were also some changes made, including tweaking of the football schedule and approval for new varsity sports programs at the high school. Here’s a look at some of the most notable moments from the past year.
Newtown High School’s boys’ basketball team defeated Kolbe Cathedral of Bridgeport, 76-65, in the consolation game of the Wilton Holiday Tournament on December 29. Will Dalton led Newtown with 32 points and came up with eight steals; he was named to the All Tournament Team. Harry Depuy registered a double-double with 18 points and 13 rebounds, Jeremy Doski added seven assists, and Charlie Huegi had five assists. Newtown improved to 2-2 heading into a Saturday, January 3, visit from Torrington — tipoff is set for 6 pm. On the ice, the Newtown High hockey team played in its second straight overtime contest, this time prevailing for its first win in four games to begin the campaign. Newtown edged the Eastern Connecticut Eagles 5-4 at Dayton Arena on the campus of Connecticut College in New London on December 29. Scott McLean scored the game-winner as part of a four-point night.
Coming off a campaign in which it was narrowly edged out by New Milford for the South-West Conference championship, scoring 130.65 points to New Milford’s 130.9, and only two winters removed from winning the conference crown, Newtown High School gymnastics team is looking to again be in contention to be among the best in the SWC. It will take quick emergence among the team’s sophomores and freshmen, who comprise six of the nine team members, and some turnaround in the health department for Newtown to get into postseason shape.
It may be early in the season, but the Danbury Holiday Wrestling Tournament had a postseason feel as some of the state’s best teams tangled on the mats on December 27. Newtown High, defending Class LL state champion, came out on top in the event which included last year’s Class L champion New Milford, as well as the State Open winners, the tournament hosts from Danbury High. Luca Crudo (113 pound division), Anthony Falbo (170), Joe Accousti (152), and Andy Hubina (195) all won weight division championships to help the Nighthawks capture the team title.
Newtown High School had strong representation for fall season recognition. The following athletes earned All State honors: Cross country: Sarah Mawdsley; Soccer: Clay Gattey (All New England) and Jessica Keller; Football: Julian Dunn, Tim Krapf, and Ben Mason; Volleyball: Kyle Dandrea; Swimming and diving: Kari Djonne, Mary Hufziger, Eliza Eggleston, Amanda Mele, and Amy Martinelli.
Newtown High School's hockey team fell 6-5 to Stamford in overtime at Danbury Ice Arena, on December 23. Scott McLean had two goals and assisted another, Dom Cartelli and Sean Ferris both had a goal and an assist, and Matt Pelisson had a pair of assists for the Nighthawks. Also on December 23, the girls' basketball team came out on top behind Mali Klorczyk's 26 points, the wrestling team earned victory, and the boys' cagers fell in overtime.
Newtown High School's wrestling team won the Fairfield Ludlowe Invitational on December 20, and 138-pound grappler James Leuci earned his 100th career win in the process. Anthony Falbo earned the tournament’s Outstanding Wrestler Award. The Nighthawks scored 317 points to easily outscore runner-up Ludlowe, which had 180. Newtown had 11 finalists and nine champions. Wrestlers from 14 schools participated in the tourney.
Newtown High School’s girls’ and boys’ indoor track teams began the season at the New Haven Invitational at Hillhouse High this past weekend. The meet was highlighted by high jumper Cole Terry’s school record-setting in the high jump event as Terry cleared 5-foot-10.
For the first 31-plus minutes, Newtown High School’s girls’ basketball team was playing from behind. But it’s the final score that counts, and Haley Ryan’s go-ahead 3-pointer with just 26 seconds left stood up as the host Nighthawks shocked the Hillhouse Academics 48-45 in the consolation game of the Threes For Charity Tournament on December 20. Ryan drained a shot from downtown for Newtown’s first lead, 46-45, and the Hawks hung on to improve to 3-1 this winter. The Academics, who led 22-6 after one quarter of play but saw a scrappy Nighthawk squad climb back, fell to 2-2. Newtown lost to Cromwell and Hillhouse fell to Pomperaug of Southbury in tourney openers the night before. After a tough start, the Nighthawks fought to within 30-19 at halftime, hung around in the third quarter, showed grit and determination, and also capitalized on Hillhouse’s foul shooting woes to complete the comeback.