Tension and pressure in sports tends to get magnified when playoff time rolls around. While the stakes aren’t as high in the regular campaign — when there is always another game to bounce back — down-to-the-wire nail-biters at any juncture of the campaign provide a little taste what potentially will come in the postseason. Newtown High School’s girls’ basketball team had a pair of close-to-the-finish contests this past week: A 41-39 overtime win over visiting Notre Dame-Fairfield on January 17 and a 43-38 setback to visiting Pomperaug of Southbury in a game played at Western Connecticut State University’s O’Neill Center the next night. Whether or not being involved in such tight games will pay dividends for the players remains to be seen, but it certainly can’t hurt.
(AP) A children’s triathlon program inspired by the life a 7-year-old boy who was killed on 12/14 is expanding in Connecticut. The CMAK Sandy Hook Memorial Foundation has reached an agreement with the Greater Waterbury YMCA, Regional YMCA of Western Connecticut in Danbury, and the Central Connecticut Coastal YMCA in Trumbull to host the Race4Chase Kid's Tri program. The program honors Chase Michael Anthony Kowalski, who competed in his first triathlon the summer before he was killed.
Sandy Hook-based Leaps of Faith Adaptive Skiers Club invites individuals with any and all disabilities to hit the slopes this winter for adaptive skiing at Mount Southington in Plantsville. Leaps of Faith will offer both beginner and advanced snow ski classes with certified instructors. There is no charge for the classes, but they usually fill quickly and registration is required.
The way Newtown High School’s hockey team’s defensive and goaltending play have been, there hasn’t been an overwhelming need for explosiveness on offense. But that doesn’t mean the Nighthawks aren’t thrilled to pile up the goals as they did in a 10-3 win over the Shepaug-Litchfield-Nonnewaug team at Linen Rink in Washington, on January 10. The Nighthawks had blanked visiting Tri-Town 3-0 at Danbury Ice Arena on January 8 for their second straight shutout, then got that double-digit effort two days later. Senior Jon Lovorn, who joined the school program after playing club hockey, netted four goals to lead the charge in the ten-goal romp. Hayden Savoia scored twice and assisted a tally, and Matt Sabia registered four assists.
That 0-4 start is in the dust. Newtown High School’s boys’ basketball team, having won four straight games, has a clean slate now. The Nighthawks defeated Abbott Tech of Danbury 74-54 on January 10, then fought back to top Brookfield 57-46 on January 14 — in a pair of home contests to get back to .500. “We’re getting contributions from everybody. The kids are playing very well,” Newtown Coach Tim Tallcouch said. Newtown trailed Brookfield by three points after three quarters and used a 23-9 fourth quarter to put the game away, dropping the visiting Bobcats to 2-4 overall. Brian LeBlanc had 22 points — all in the second half — to go along with Mike Davis’s 19. The Hawks sank ten 3-pointers. LeBlanc and Mike Davis combined for nine of them. Troy Frangione had nine rebounds and seven assists.
Newtown High School’s girls’ basketball team won two of its last three games to get into a little groove after a tough start to the season. The Nighthawks beat Bethel 50-34 on the road on January 9 in a game that had been postponed twice because of inclement weather. Then, after falling to a tough Lauralton Hall of Milford team 56-42 the next night, the Hawks earned a 45-28 win at Brookfield on January 14. “I think it’s good for the team morale,” Newtown’s Cassie Ekstrom said of the recent winning ways that followed a 1-4 start. “We’re playing really well together. We’re really intense and aggressive.” Ekstrom is one of the players leading that charge. She’s been Newtown’s jack of all trades contributor on the court — scoring from all over, rebounding, and coming up with steals.
Members of the Newtown Torpedoes swim team, on January 11, joined forces and hit the water at the Newtown High School pool for an event that had no first, second, or third place finishes affecting league standings, no opposing team, no heated races — but plenty of serious swimming and lots of heartfelt meaning. They swam lap after lap in the first Annual Newtown Torpedoes Swim-A-Thon, to raise money for the Daniel Barden Newtown Torpedoes Memorial Scholarship, in honor of the team member they lost in the Sandy Hook tragedy a little more than a year ago.
So far, so good for the Newtown High School wrestling team. The grapplers have won three early-season tournaments in Fairfield, Trumbull and, most recently Natick, Mass., and have had their way with four opponents in dual meets. Newtown placed fifth in the 14-team Danbury Holiday Tournament, won by the host Hatters. “We’ve been drilling a lot harder this year — practices are a lot harder,” 220-pound grappler Ryan Wagner said. “It’s definitely paying off a lot.” The Nighthawks captain and 132-pound wrestler James Leuci believes, can be top-five team in the state and finish among the best in the South-West Conference.
The Sandy Hook Run for Families is a 5K run/fitness walk that debuted last year to honor the memories of the victims of 12/14 and to support those affected by the events of that day. Approximately 15,000 runners and walkers took to the streets of Hartford and virtually in their own areas to show support for Newtown on March 23, 2013, raising more than $438,000 for The Sandy Hook School Support Fund. This year's event will be at Fairfield Hills on March 29, with a max cap set at 1,000 runners. Those spots will be awarded on a lottery basis, and registration for that lottery opens Sunday morning. A kids fun run will also be offered in March, with space for up to 250 young participants.