For all but a few the spring season was a season of what might have been. From the baseball diamonds to the lacrosse field, everywhere but the track, teams head into summer wondering if they might have been champs if a the ball had bounced differently.
Such is the sporting life. All that is left to do is celebrate those for whom the fates smiled and the effort of those on the opposite end.
There were some good ones, but the East Catholic golf team won the Division IV championship by 13 strokes while placing three golfers among the top 10.
Eric Johnson (72), Erik Vivenzio (76) and Drew Brennan (77) negotiated Tallwood Country Club well enough that the Eagles could have used any of their remaining scores and won the tournament.
This was the second consecutive championship for East Catholic, which won in Division III last season and also won in 2008.
Manchester won the Class LL track championship and Windsor won the Class L championship.
Manchester won by a single point over Danbury (75-74), which means any athlete to have scored a point in the meet can rightly claim to be the reason the Indians are champs. Algernon Johnson won the 100 meters to score 10 points for Manchester, but Shamar Smith finished eighth to score a single point, the difference between champs and co-champs. Then there is Patrick Dibble and his two points in the 1,600 meters or Kodjo Erasmus, who was seeded third in the 110 hurdles (good for six points) but finished second (good for eight). His improvement was enough to put Manchester over the top.
Windsor’s margin of victory was not so thin. The Warriors won by 5.5 points. Senior Zachary Langs can hurdle off to college with victories in the 110- and 300-meter hurdles that were a big part of the Windsor victory. Senior Greg Andrade also leaves as a champ (high jump), which means Windsor has some points to replace if it hopes to repeat.
Tolland senior Bryan Fowler won the 1,600 meters and 3,200 meters at the Class MM meet and then won the 3,200 meters at the State Open. Essentially, if you are chasing Fowler for some reason – he owes you a nickel or something – you better catch him quickly.
A UNIQUE DOUBLE:
A no-hitter is a rare occurrence but occasionally a high school pitcher is dominant and can toss more than one in a season. What Somers did is much more difficult.
The Spartans got no-hitters from two different pitchers during the regular season. Jake Scheuer pitched a no-hitter on April 27, defeating Coventry 5-0.
Then Jake Alvaro no-hit Suffield on May 19. Somers finished the season 13-9 so 15 percent of its victories came on no-hitters.
In tennis, the Tolland doubles team of Dylan Roman and Eric Venezia reached the Class M finals and beat the Avon duo of Saagar Sinha and Jason Sittambalam, 7-5, 6-4, capturing the Class M state title.
East Catholic reached the Class S baseball final but lost to East Hampton 6-2. A one-game baseball final is not an ideal way to determine the better team but this is what we have and on June 11 East Hampton was better.
Seniors Sean Coughlin, John Brownell, Jack Molleur, Tucker Panciera, Mike McMahon, Kelvin Sims, Chris Brodeur, Jason Smith, Nick Fleming and Dan DiFiore would do well to remember the two seven-game winning streaks they put together as much as the final loss.
Windsor Locks’ season ended one-game short of the Class S finals but it was a fine season for the Raiders and seniors Charles Vogt, Michael Spath, Brian Oddo, Zachary Sherman, Patrick Roy, Joshua Poissant and Ben Bolin, who put together an 18-5 record despite injuries to the pitching staff.
And the Somers lacrosse team put together an undefeated regular season and reached the Class S semifinal before losing to eventual champion St. Joseph-Trumbull, 15-6. Seniors Daniel Bell, Matthew Garcia, Neil Cardwell, Jon Pellegrino, Nicholas Marrocchini, Matthew Lynch, Michael Hanna, Zachary Thresher, Quinn Aslin, Daniel McDonald and Garrett Ficara can head off to college secure in the knowledge that they beat every team they were supposed to. The Spartans loss in the semifinals, after 17 victories, was to a superior team. This happens sometimes.
Another fine team that simply ran into a superior opponent was Fermi volleyball, which lost in the Class M semifinals to Darien, the eventual champion. Fermi seniors Brian Carey, Joseph Fragomeni and Nick Robert went 15-5.
Suffield senior Andy Mai was third in the Division III golf tournament as a freshman. He was second as a sophomore and third again as a junior. Needless to say, he was hoping a first-place finish in states would complete his career.
He didn’t get it. Mai shot 74 at Fairview Farms in the Division III tournament and finished in a tie for third with teammate Dan Banks. Nevertheless, it would be wrong to allow Mai to slip off to Boston College without acknowledging his fabulous high school career.
FATHERS AND SONS:
Much was made, and rightly so, of Jim Penders, the father, leading East Catholic to the Class S baseball finals while Jim Penders, the son, coached UConn to the NCAA Superregionals but at least they got to root for each other.
A more difficult situation faces Rockville coach Art Wheelock each season when he coaches against his son, E.O. Smith coach Nick Wheelock. This season Rockville won both games (6-4 and 4-3 in nine innings).
“It is always tough to play in these types of games,” Art Wheelock told Patch in May. “It’s difficult for my son and myself because we know that at the end of the day someone is going to have to lose.”
At least, the elder Wheelock was spared the fate of having knocked his son out of the state tournament. E.O. Smith lost some close games and finished 5-15, three games out of the tournament.
Editor's Note: The Tolland boys tennis duo of Dylan Roman and Eric Venezia were victorious in the Class M doubles state championship. This information was incorrect in the original story and was changed on June 22.