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|Field Hockey Still a Passion for Alum Diana Nunez|
While George Washington University does not presently field an intercollegiate field hockey team, that has not stopped Hornet 2015 alum, Diana Nunez, from continuing her passion for the sport. Playing with an incredibly active field hockey club squad, Nunez and her teammates won games against club teams from the likes of Georgetown, University of Virginia, and William and Mary. The squad was invited to compete in the Club Field Hockey Nationals, one of twenty four university level teams invited to the event. They defeated both the University of Tampa and East Carolina University; however the GW women did not advance due to total goals. But looking back on her year, Nunez noted: "I have loved being able to continue playing after high school. While the dynamic is very different from my experience at Hamden Hall, I'm lucky that I can choose to be as involved as I want, both in the sport and the social aspect. With this flexibility, I don't have to compromise my schoolwork in order to attend the daily practices. It's a really great group of girls who love to play field hockey as much as we love spending time together off the field."
Congratulations to Diana and her club, and we hope to hear of further success next year.
|Bennett and Millhouse Key Contributors to Cardinal Programs|
Sara Bennett and Dylan Millhouse, HH CLass of 2015 may have changed their wings from HH Hornets to Wesleyan University Cardinals, but they are both still flying high. Bennett has established herself as a starter on the women's lacrosse squad. The feisty midfielder has won 23 ground balls and 11 draw controls, and she has scored a goal and an assist thus far this season. Millhouse has made frequent appearances on the mound for Wesleyan this spring. Last weekend, he pitched three strong innings in relief in a 13-6 win over Williams.
|DiMartino Qualifies for Track Championships|
Earlier in the year, Austin DiMartino, HH Class of 2016, was featured on this page for his newly developed interest in track as a freshman at Connecticut College, and had been cited as having plenty of potential. Last week at the Silfen Invitational, hosted by the Camels, Austin finished 3rd in the decathalon with 4841 points, which qualified him for the upcoming ECAC (Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference) Championships. He also qualified for the NESCAC (New England Small College Athletic Conference) Championships in the 100 yard dash, with a qualifying time was 11.80.
Click here to view the Conn College track site.
|LoRicco Tosses One Hitter to Blank Rye|
Senior standout Ronnie LoRicco threw a monster game on Friday at home, as the Hornets topped FAA foe Rye Country Day 2-0. LoRicco kept the Wildcats off balance and off the bases for 6 innings, throwing a one hitter!. Ian Fagan finished out the game in the seventh. Fagan also hit a clutch double. Anthony Capasso was solid behind the plate and added an RBI with his bat. Mike Gulia also knocked in a run in a game that was short of offense but had plenty of drama. In fact the game was knotted at 0-0 going into the bottom of the fifth when the Hornets finally plated a run and then doubled their lead in the sixth. LoRicco is now 2-0 on the season and the Hornets are 5-1 overall.
|Play Ball! Baseball Seeks a New England Fourpeat|
The baseball team returned from a successful trip to sunny Florida over spring break to begin their 2016 season and the quest to capture a fourth straight New England championship. They spent spring training at Disney's ESPN Wide World of Sports and practiced at the Atlanta Braves' spring training facility. They also played 6 games against teams from Chicago, Niagara, NY, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey.
However, long before spring training, Coach Fontana and the squad knew it would face quite a battle, as they are denied the services of two outstanding senior players. Both pitching ace Zack Balabon and all round standout Andy Natale suffered injuries during football season that will keep them out of the lineup this spring. Both are rehabilitating and hope to be ready for their collegiate careers, but their impact in the field and at the plate will be sorely missed.
The program did, however, add a very valuable component in the form of Vin Texiera, a standout player from the class of 2011, who has joined the Hornet coaching staff. As a Hornet, Vinny holds the record for career home runs - 14 - and was captain of the team for two years. He and his teammates won the FAA regular season and tournament in 2010 and the New Englands in 2009. Additionally, the team Vinny played on holds the record for the most team wins in a season - 23. Vinny went on to Manhattan College after Hamden Hall and played all four years with the Jaspers as the team's designated hitter and first baseman.
It's early in the season, but the Hornets are looking like contenders again. They have started 4-0, but fell to Fairchester League favorite Brunswick School of Greenwich 6-2 earlier in the week. There is plenty of experience on the team, including Ronnie LoRicco, Will Rhone, Marco Fontana, Austin DeFilippo, Ian Fagan, and Anthony Capasso, as well as younger talent like Safi Wazaz, CJ Kuselias, and Ryan Doherty.
Expect the Hornets to remain in contention throughout the spring season.
|Swimming Finishes Strong at New Englands|
Congratulations to Coaches Ken Pierson and Ann Kohler and the entire swim program for another outstanding season in the pool. Last Saturday, the teams traveled to Canterbury School in New Milford in search of another shot at the New England title. The girls had finished second several times, and hoped to take home the gold. Though they swam well, the competition was intense, and they finished 4th out of 16 schools. The boys also had a good showing and placed 6th out of 12. The meet marked the end of a number of outstanding careers. These include Sona Pinela was New England champion in the 100 butterfly; Anne-Sophie Neumeister, Jannick Eggerman, Matt Lettiero, and Tyler Bunton.
The following swimmers earned post-season recognition.
All CISAC: Sona Pinela, Ann-Sophie Neumeister, Olivia Caldarella,
Jing Shi, Maddy Malin, Mariah Brantley, Julia Pandolfi, Shaw Mettler.
All FAA: Sona Pinela; Honorable Mention FAA: Ann-Sophie Neumeister
New England Champion: Sona Pinela 100 Butterfly
All CISAC: Tyler Bunton, Jannik Eggerman, Matt Lettiero, Tim Bradley
All FAA: Matt Lettiero; Honorable Mention FAA: Tyler Bunton
|Basketball Teams Fall in FAA Tournaments but Gear Up for New Englands|
Without the home court advantage, the Hornet basketball teams fought to the end, but came up short on the road on Friday evening. The#3 seed boys faced off one more time with #2 seed Hopkins up on the hill. The Hilltoppers took a 10 point 58-48 lead in the second half and looked like they were going to cruise to a comfortable win. However, the Hornets fought back with an 11-2 run that brought them within a point with a minute and a half to go. Unfortunately, the Hilltoppers hit the necesary free throws to emerge with a 64-61 win.
The loss dropped the Hornets to 16-9; nevertheless, their dramatic turnaround and revival this season was rewarded with an invitation to the New England Tournament. Under Coach Beckerman's previous tenure, the Hornets established themselves as one of the most dominant basketball powers in New England and a perennial tournament favorite. They won eight New England championships under Coach B's guidance from 1996-2004. The Hornets will face a very stiff test, right from the start. They have been seeded #8 and pitted against fellow league foe, St. Luke's, who just won the FAA tournament and come in favorites with the #1 seed. Nevertheless, the Hornets have played the Storm tough, and March Madness is always full of upsets. The quarterfinal contest is Wednesday at 6:00 in New Canaan.
The girls hoops team just returned from a tough battle in New Canaan, where they fell to St. Luke's in the FAA tournament championship final 59-55. It was a rematch of last year's final when the Hornets took the title and then went on to capture the NEPSAC crown as well. Senior forward Rachel Menze was a force, scoring a game high 32 points while grabbing 19 rebounds. Sophomore guard Kai Clemons did everything she could to calm the Storm, scoring 8 points, making 3 steals, and dishing out 11 assists, but it just was not enough.
The girls still earned a return trip to the New England tournament where they will try to defend their title. The Hornets are seeded #5 and play none other than Proctor Academy of New Hampshire. The game is scheduled to be played at Groton School in Mass. on Wednesday at a time to be determined. This will be the third consecutive year where the teams have met in the NEPSAC quarterfinals; moreover, the two teams share the same school colors and mascot! In 2014, HH prevailed 62-53, and won again last year 53-50. In both years, HH advanced to the finals and faced off against another Lakes Region foe, Kimball Union Academy, which was ranked #1 both years. This year, should HH advance, they will likely be playing...? You guessed it - KUA, again seeded #1.
So let the March Madness begin, and Go Hornets!!! (The HH Hornets that is)
|Basketball Teams Advance in FAA Tournaments|
The Parents' Association is currently putting together a Hamden Hall Cookbook, and surely would be saying that there is nothing like a bit of home cooking. On Wednesday evening at the Beckerman Athletic Center, both basketball teams served up a tasty dish and cooked up a winning plate to advance in the annual Fairchester Athletic Association Tournament.
In the opening game, the #2 seeded girls squared off against #3 seed Greenwich Academy. The visiting Gators had defeated the Hornets earlier in the season down in Greenwich, but found it difficult to build any momentum against the swarming Hornets. The first half became a grinding defensive battle with HH emerging with a slim 24-22 lead at the break. The Gators fought back to briefly lead in the second frame, led by their freshman phenom, Kaitlyn Davis, who was a force at both ends of the court. The Hornets managed to regain the slimmest of leads and slowly expanded it; however a fierce trapping defense by GA continuously kept the game within their reach. But the Hornets would not be denied and withstood Davis and the Gators down the stretch to earn the 45-38 victory. Rachel Menze led the Hornets with 18 points and 21 rebounds, while Naomi Van Nes threw in 12 more. As always, Kai Clemons was a whirlwind, and snatched 6 steals and scored 6 points. The Hornets also got clutch play from Lexi Palmer, Alyssa Vine, Jenna Berens, Shannon Rhone, and Cassi Smith.
With the win, the Hornets improved to 15-7 and will travel to New Canaan on Friday to play #1 seed St. Luke's in the championship game at 6:15.
In the nightcap, the boys had to fight off a sluggish start and another hot shooter as they finally pulled away with a powerful second half en route to a 70-45 win over the King School of Stamford. The #3 seeded Hornets looked reasonably sharp; however, the #6 seed Vikings enjoyed an early lead thanks to plenty of hustle and some NBA range three point shooting from junior guard Trey Canevari. Coach Beckerman continued to shuffle players in and out, looking for a hot combination, but HH failed to rattle the visitors. Two quick baskets by Andrew Rice and TJ Rountree with seconds left finally gave the Hornets a 32-27 lead at half.
The second half was a completely different story, as the relenteless defense began to force errors by the Vikings, leading to a number of fast break points, including a few thunderous dunks by Andrew Rice and Dan Draffan. The junior center took control of the boards and finished with 24 rebounds, tying Mike Massey's 12 year record for rebounds in a game. The Hornets also shut down the sharpshooting Canevari and held the visitors to 18 total points in the second half. TJ Rountree led all scorers with 27 points, including 5 three pointers. Rice finished with 15, Draffan 14; other Hornets scorers included Pasquale Villano with 6, Michael DiMartino 5 (to go along with 3 steals), Kyle Smith 2, and Miles Cogdell 1.
With the victory, the boys advance to a semifinal showdown with crosstown rival Hopkins on Friday at 6:00. The teams split the regular season, so this game should be indeed intense. Go Hornets!!!
|Wrestling Finishes Strong at States and New Englands: Nu Kwan Fair Advances to Nationals!|
Though Wrestling has toiled in the shadows of higher profile sports, the program has continued to prosper and achieve impressive results, despite the relatively small 'band of brothers' who participate each year. This season the Hornets were led by new head coach, Adam Arterbery, who got his wrestling experience in Oklahoma, one of the national hotbeds of the sport. Coach Arterbery is an instructor at the Connecticut Speed School, where he overseas the Wrestling Academy. He is also a doctor at Yale University in the Department of Pediatrics. Coach Arterbery was hard working and inspirational, and he was able to build a dynamic 14 man squad.
Faced with giving up forfeits at 106, 113, 220, and 285 lbs. all year, the relatively young squad still finished with a 7-15 record, including going 1-3 at the Fairchester League tournament. The team record, however, does not reflect the excellent efforts and results of the individual wrestlers.
The story of the season has to be freshman Nu Kwan Fair. Wrestling at 132 lbs., Nu Kwan finished the season at an incredible 14-1. He took 1st Place at the Western New Englands (WNEISWA), the first freshman Hornet to be crowned state champion since the legendary Benji Kerzner in the late 1990s. Nu Kwan went on to finish 3rd at New Englands (NEISWA), and has qualified for the upcoming Prep Nationals held at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania.
The following wrestlers also distinguished themselves throughout the season:
Laszlo Gendler (126 Sr, 10-2) took 3rd at WNEISWA and placed 8th at NEISWA.
Eric Emmendorfer (145 Fr, 9-4) qualified for the NEISWA tournament with a 69% winning percentage during the regular season.
Wyn Viega (138 Fr, 5-2) qualified for the NEISWA tournament with a 71% winning percentage during the regular season.
Dylan Macnamara (120 Fr, 7-3) placed 6th at the state tournament and qualified for the NNEISWA tournament with a 70% winning percentage during the regular season.
Ishmael Williams (182 Fr, 11-5) placed 4th at WNEISWA and qualified for the NEISWA.
Sungyup Ryu (195 So, 6-3) placed 6th at the state tournament (WNEISWA) and qualified for the NEISWA tournament with a 67% winning percentage during the regular season.
Congratulations to Coach Arterbery and the entire team for all their efforts on the mat, and good luck to Nu Kwan at Nationals!
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