Faced with finding replacements for four of his top seven runners from a year ago, David Foss, coach of the Newtown High School boys’ cross country team, isn’t sure exactly what to expect from his team this year, but views potential for the lineup to make some noise if enough runners emerge at the top of the team’s pack. Newtown went 10-4 last fall and placed fifth in the South-West Conference championship meet, but lost some key contributors to graduation.
Zach Gauvin, head coach of Newtown High School’s girls’ swimming and diving team, doesn’t shy away from pushing his teams to raise the bar higher than each previous season’s mark, with more practice laps in the pool, with the hope that the effort will lead to more success in the postseason. Gauvin says, given the good shape his swimmers were in when they came to the first preseason practices, he expects to squad to put in more yardage than ever before. “On paper, it looks like we have a really good team, but we won’t know until we put the work in and put in some miles in the pool,” Gauvin said. “I’m really excited to see what we can do.”
A strong returning group is back in place as the Newtown High School field hockey team strives to build off of last year’s results and perhaps make a run at a South-West Conference championship. The team lost four players to graduation, but retains plenty of talent — including ten seniors — whom Coach Stephanie Paproski hopes can bring the Nighthawks to a title this fall. “I think we’ll go far this year and I think with all the experience we have on the team, especially with the coaching staff, we have so much room to grow,” Paproski said.
Growing up around horses and receiving riding and jumping training from a teacher who couldn’t possibly care any more about her success than any other (the instructor happens to be her mom), Newtown’s Ellie Ferrigno has quickly become an advanced rider for her age. Now 12, Ferrigno is competing against horse lovers who are two, three, four, five — sometimes as many as six — years older than her. And she’s still winning.
Porsche race car drivers Dana Parker and Mike Peira, both of Newtown, put the pedal to the metal and hugged the turns at Lime Rock Park’s race track during the Historic Festival this past weekend. It was a tremendous weekend for both drivers, particularly Peira, who won all four of the 20-minute weekend races in his group of 26 competitors, including Parker, who finished with an also-impressive result, coming in fourth.
The Winterset Ski Club will host its annual picnic and, new this year, Ski/Snowboard Tag Sale on Sunday, September 14, from 1 to 5 pm at Dickinson Memorial Park, 50 Elm Drive. Burgers, dogs, and drinks will be provided by the Winterset Ski Club.
He’s been to the Polo Grounds, the old Yankee Stadium, San Francisco’s AT&T Park — and every still-standing (and some no longer in existence) Major League Baseball stadium between New York and California. He’s met former star players and collects memorabilia and memories from his visits to ballparks and talks with National Baseball Hall Of Fame inductees. He claims to have run the first baseball card show in Connecticut, right here in town (back in the late 1970s) and has been passionate about the game of balls and strikes throughout almost all of his 73-plus years. On Monday, September 15, this baseball fanatic, Newtown’s Chris Spiro, will share his America’s Pastime experiences with the community at a talk, “Interesting Moments in Baseball History,” at the C.H. Booth Library, beginning at 7:30 pm. The event is hosted by the Newtown Historical Society. Bring your baseball knowledge — there will be trivia questions — and wear your favorite team’s hats or shirts … if you dare.
Kevin Hoyt, Newtown’s race dominator, almost didn’t successfully defend his Newtown Road Race title, but that’s only because he came close to not running the event. The 24-year-old Newtown resident’s late decision to not attend his Keene State College alumni race on Saturday, August 30, enabled him to instead lead a pack of approximately 600 runners across the finish line at the ninth annual event at Dickinson Park on a cool, cloudy morning. He finished the 5K run in a time of 16:17. “It feels nice. It was kind of a last-minute decision to run this one this year,” said Hoyt, who also won the Mad Dash and Rooster Run, only a week apart, in June. Coming in second was a race newcomer. Kevin Boughan, 38, who moved to Sandy Hook this past January, was runner-up in an also impressive time of 16:54.
Since moving out of town after graduating from Newtown High School in 1985, Kelley Johnson has returned for the Labor Day Parade numerous times. Each visit has been special — Johnson had marched in the parade as a clown in fifth grade, and later as a member of the school band — but this year’s will have a different sort of significant meaning for Johnson. She’ll be back in the parade, marching alongside current and future Newtown High soccer players, who — thanks to the efforts of Johnson and her mom her mom, Ruby, a political figure in town for many years, among others, three decades ago — have the opportunity to score goals and dream of state titles.