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Nighthawk Fall Athletes, Including Five Football Players, Consider Division II, III Collegiate Opportunities



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While many Newtown High School seniors competed for the final time this past fall season this is the start of a new beginning for some as they look to begin their journeys as collegiate student-athletes.

The traditionally successful NHS sports programs are not new to producing an abundance of college players every year, and the class of 2021 is no exception. A half dozen fall athletes signed to play at the Division I level (see related story) and there are eight commitments of Division II and Division III athletes with potential for more signees as the school year unfolds.

The football program has five athletes who have either committed to playing in college or are currently in the recruiting process. Running back Luke Hannan will be competing at Middlebury College, while other seniors Connor Breslin, Zack Smith, and Partick Boyle are still talking to college coaches.

“Meeting and getting to know an entirely new group of people that I’m confident I will keep in touch with is a big part of my eagerness to play football in college. I believe that the transition to college is another step that is aided by playing a sport, as you are introduced to individuals with a shared interest,” Boyle said.

Hannan committed to Middlebury in the fall and is very grateful to the NHS football team and staff for helping him get to where he is today as he looks ahead to the four years to come.

“The program has affected me by molding me into a better person. Sports, especially football, trains you to be mentally tough and teaches you a lot about life,” Hannan said.

Additionally, quarterback Jack Street will take a postgraduate year at Milford Academy next fall. Street has received multiple offers from schools including a Division I offer from Marist College as well as a Division II offer from Stonehill College. He is hoping that this next year will assist in furthering his recruiting process.

“My recruiting process has been obviously difficult because of COVID, but these are the cards that athletes around the nation have been dealt and so I make sure to not focus as much on that aspect and just keep doing me and getting ready for what’s to come. My hope is the recruiting process will be easier and more normal next year,” Street said.

Bobby Pattison, coach of the football team, is also hopeful for Street’s success in the next season and is confident that the recruiting process will play out to put him at a high level of college football.

“Jack is a tremendous football player. The pandemic has limited opportunities and options for many players like Jack. I am hoping a year at Milford Academy will give him more exposure and more opportunities to play at the Division 1 level where he belongs,” Pattison said.

From the boys' soccer program, forward Ryan Ruddy is the only senior looking to commit in the near future and has a lot of anticipation for what the next four years could bring.

“I am looking forward to the high level of play and excitement that comes with it,” said Ruddy, who is undecided about where he will go for his next chapter.

On the girls' side, Kate Petersen recently committed to play Division III volleyball at Susquehanna University in Pennsylvania.

“I’m really looking forward to being able to continue my volleyball career into college. The school is small, just like I wanted, and I already feel like I’m going to be really happy and comfortable there,” Petersen said.

The girls' cross country program also has two runners who will look o walk-on at whatever school they end up attending. Seniors Courtney Henchcliffe and Maddie Fetchik are both contacting coaches at schools that they have been accepted to and are very interested in running at a higher level.

For all college recruits, their senior year of high school is an exciting time for athletic careers and college decisions. With two more seasons to come, pending the impact of the coronavirus, NHS is expected to continue to have more college athletic announcements as anticipation for the fall season mounts.

Jack Street threw for five touchdowns in Newtown's 50-17 win over visiting Brookfield on October 9. —Bee Photos, Hutchison
Kate Petersen sends the ball back over the net.
Ryan Ruddy is looking to continue playing soccer in college.
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