Indoor Track And Field Teams Begin The Season
Newtown High School's girls' indoor track and field team has youth but plenty of talent on its side.
"This year we have a large number of athletes with 70, most of those being sophomores and freshmen. All of this year's athletes are hungry to learn and very athletic with abilities to compete in all different events. We have a larger than ever distance group that will hopefully help us to win SWC this year," said Becky Knapp, coach of the Newtown High girls' squad.
All of the teams in the South-West Conference will be challenging, especially with Bethel High's new indoor track standing to benefit not only Bethel but other teams in the conference, Knapp believes. The new track creates more opportunities for conference teams to compete locally in qualifying meets.
Newtown will have to overcome some significant losses to graduation from a year ago, including Carly Sweirbut, Brianna Lovely, Olivia Hage, and Audrey Benson. "All these girls were real leaders and point scorers for us in post season," Knapp said.
Captains this winter are thrower Anna Burns, jumper Sarah Tressler, sprinters Laura Wong and Vicki Moran, and distance runners Mary Sortino and Hallie Filan, the latter two coming off a fall season in which they were captains on the SWC champion cross country team.
Other key returnees are sprinters Sarah Holcomb and Elise Barricelli and distance runners Emily Tressler, Courtney Henchcliffe, Ally McCarthy, and Sophia Guevara.
Sarah Nowacki has switched over from basketball to indoor track and it is anticipated she will be a huge asset to throwing, Knapp said. Rylee Harrell was convinced after her strong cross country season to join indoor track as well, the coach added.
Freshmen to watch are distance runner Riley Powers, sprinter Eva Barricelli, jumper Grace Miller, mid-distance runners Skyler Howard and Hannah Snayd, and specialties contributor Ashley Hubner, Knapp anticipates.
"Our goal is to build depth in all of our events and qualify as many athletes as possible for postseason participation," Knapp said. "I am personally super-excited for this season. We retained a lot of athletes from last season who spread the word about me and the track program. We have grown and the expectations are high for my girls. They all know I am an adult to lean on and turn to for support but I am also a coach who wants to win."
The boys' squad expects tough competition from the likes of Bethel, New Milford, Masuk of Monroe, and Weston, but is going for one of the top spots in the conference.
"I'd love top-three in the SWC. I think we really have a chance," Coach Becky Osborne said.
Newtown's success hinges very much on the efforts the athletes put into their events in practice and meets alike, Osborne said.
"It's going to be the season they want it to be," she added.
Newtown has strong competitors throughout the events. "Depth is a strength," Osborne said.
Boys' captains are distance runners Will Tainter-Gilbert and Nick Jacobs, sprinter/decathlete Tristan Andrew, jumper/pole vaulter Milan Chand, sprinter/hurdler Toby Ferris, and thrower Grant Baker.
Other key returnees are distance runners Neil Coppola, Drew Poseno, Matt Sortino, and Aiden Budge, sprinters Zack Majeski and Will Hornby.
"I am very excited to see what this season holds. Indoor is always so different from outdoor and I look forward to seeing what the team can do this season," Osborne said.