The thrill of putting on a uniform, being part of a team, and playing a game, or cheering during halftime, in front of fans is something many athletes get to experience and, perhaps, take for granted. Now, thanks to the efforts of Newtown High School students and faculty alike, some girls and boys — those with special needs who hadn’t previously been afforded this opportunity — are in the game. Newtown High School, this past winter season, offered Unified Sports teams, comprising students with special needs coached by peers and teachers.
Newtown High School’s boys’ swimming and diving team came in sixth in the Class LL state championships. After the diving finals took place March 12 in Hamden, the swimming events concluded March 19 at Wesleyan University in Middletown. The Nighthawks scored 252 points and were only four in back of fifth-place Manchester. Greenwich, with 913, was first among 21 schools to score in the championships.
Newtown High School’s hockey program waited more than a dozen years – and then an extra hour or so when the team bus broke down – to reach a state tournament semifinal round game. Then it took all of 25 game seconds for the Nighthawks to score, and the team never looked back after that quick strike en route to a 6-1 triumph over Tri-Town in the Division III state tournament semifinals at Yale University’s Ingalls Rink on March 18. Second-seeded Newtown will face No. 4 EO Smith-Tolland in the Saturday, March 22 championship game. The pinnacle battle, which will also be held at Ingalls Rink, will begin at 10 am.
The Connecticut Soccer League’s Newtown Pride, a premier adult amateur league team, will play a preseason exhibition game against the New England Force, an independent professional team, at Treadwell Park’s back field at 3 pm on Saturday, March 22.
Newtown High School’s hockey team will face Enfield-based Tri-Town in the Division III state tournament semifinals. The game is scheduled to be played at Yale University’s Ingalls Rink in New Haven on Tuesday, March 18, at 7:30 pm.
Newtown High School’s hockey team skated to a 4-1 victory over Hall-Southington in the Division III state tournament quarterfinals at Northford Ice Pavilion on March 13. The second-seeded Nighthawks advance to the semifinals, scheduled to be played at Yale University’s Ingalls Rink on Tuesday, March 18.
Newtown High School’s gymnastics team members, Elisha Wilson, Kaitlyn Tumney, and Anna Jannott, competed among the best in Connecticut at the State Open at New Milford High School on March 8. Wilson scored an 8.8 on the balance beam for a tenth-place finish, and also had an 8.0 on the uneven bars, and an 8.75 for her floor routine. “She was solid throughout her beam routine and showed off her smile on floor,” Newtown Head Coach Keirsten Raccio said.
Last year, it went to Waterbury and upset one of the city’s Naugatuck Valley League representatives, Crosby High School, in the first round of the Class LL state tournament. This year, Newtown High School’s boys’ basketball team couldn’t duplicate the David defeats Goliath performance. The Nighthawks, seeded 22nd in the LL bracket, fell 65-40 to No. 11 Kennedy in the March 11 tourney opener. Kennedy, which went 16-4 in the regular season, moved on to play No. 6 Ledyard in the second round. Newtown, coming off a 12-8 regular slate, is done for the season – one that was highlighted by a strong stretch to pull the team out of an 0-4 start and into the ranks to the teams with winning marks.
The mantra heading into the Division III state tournament opener, at Danbury Ice Arena on March 10, was that the Nighthawks needed to come out strongly and avoid being flat to bounce back from a tough overtime loss in the conference championship only a few nights earlier. “The message was ‘we need to have energy. The first 15 minutes is the most important,” Newtown Coach Paul Esposito said.
Newtown High School’s hockey team, coming off a runner-up finish in the conference championship tilt, will go after the Division III state title, beginning with a first-round game on Monday, March 10. The Nighthawks, seeded second in the bracket, will face a familiar foe, No. 15 Joel Barlow of Redding, at Danbury Ice Arena. The puck is scheduled to drop at 5:30 pm. Newtown defeated conference rival Barlow twice during the regular season.