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Hamden Hall Country Day School
Educating students in PreSchool through Grade 12

Spring Fever Part II - The Youth Movement

Bud Kohler
     Happily, the team still has plenty of talent and should be a contender in every match. Seniors Sophia Sarrazin, one of the best female golfers in the state, and Johnathan Harlukowicz are the captains who provide invaluable experience and leadership. Harlukowicz was a NH Register All-Area and All-FAA Honorable Mention last year and has committed to play golf at Wesleyan University next year. They are joined by sophomores North Chery and Philip Kim. Chery has already earned a spot on the All Area team and awarded all league honors twice before, and head coach Keith Kaliszewski expects him to be one of the best in the Fairchester league. Kaliszewski offered, “Philip has been steadily improving over the last three years and is in a position to enjoy a breakout season.”
     The deciding factor for the team’s success, however, will likely be the rate of progress of the younger players, which includes freshman Liam Earle and three middle schoolers with solid potential: eighth grader Teresa Esposito, and seventh graders Stephen Sokol and Deshawna Aurora. Coach Kaliszewski also cites the addition of Mr. Joe Fontana to the coaching staff as instrumental in helping lead the team to the first ever FAA Championship in his first year. “Hamden Hall has had the medalist at the FAA tournament every year it has been played since 2017. Last year was the first time winning it as a team. We are hoping to repeat and also to win the New England KIT, where we finished second last year by one stroke.”
     The team currently holds a 3-1 record, and is 3-0 in the FAA, having recently defeated Rye Country Day 200-230.

     Varsity Softball is also making their swings count and have jumped out to a 6-2 record. New coach, Laura Montone, brings a lot of positivity, support and love to the team and program. She and assistant coach Paula Economopoulos are working to build solid team players and prepare those who wish to play at the next level, the skills necessary to do so, and have already established an excellent rapport with the girls. 
     Daniela McGovern, Ellie Ratta and Melanie Carling captain a team who are returning most of last year’s squad, and are expected to lead with “positive vibes” and enthusiasm. Coach Montone has high hopes of improving on last year’s performance and believes pitching, catching, and hitting should be the team’s strengths. Beyond Ratta, McGovern, and fellow senior, Anna Soliwoda, they will rely heavily on a core of sophomores, including the dominant pitching of Payton Collins and adroit fielding of Summer Kracjir. Montone commented, “We are relatively young but quite talented with the ability to take the program to a higher level. A big shout out to Coach Economopoulos who has done such a great job with these players, as well as with the JV basketball team. We hope to take this team to the playoffs, but most importantly to establish a strong bond amongst the players that will continue to grow.”
     The team mottos reflect that spirit - “Play Hard; Win Hard” and “Support Each Other’s Best!” Their best recently included impressive wins of 20-11 over St. Luke’s and 10-0 against Holy Child.

     The 2023 Boys Varsity Tennis is also competing with a relatively young and dynamic line-up. Singles play is dominated by sophomores, with Matt Maniatty leading the way as the 1 seed, followed by Hunter Lewis at the 2 position, and Jacob Schonberger at #3. Junior Eric He rounds out the singles in the #4 spot. Veteran coach Kevin Breuler remarked, “Our team is unique in that we have no seniors this year, meaning that our captains, Matthew and Eric, will be taking on critical leadership roles. They are determined to lead the team to success and have been working hard to motivate and inspire their fellow players. Our focus for the upcoming season is consistency and achieving a high level of tennis from the entire squad. Every player on our team has the potential to make significant contributions, and we are working to cultivate a strong team spirit and work ethic.” The roster also includes junior Josh Huy, sophomores Neer Patel and Parker Jones, and freshman Kaelen Annes. And the team also has a pair of siblings in junior Will Christman and his 9th grade brother Cole.
     While the team may be young, they have displayed determination as well as skill while battling in the formidable Fairchester Athletic Assn., which annually boasts some of the best tennis in the New England area. Breuler added, “With hard work, dedication, and a strong team spirit, we are confident that we can achieve great things this year.” Recently, the Hornets tamed the Bulldogs of the Harvey School with a convincing 7-0 victory.

     Arguably no team relies more on the contributions of underclassmen than Girls Varsity Tennis. According to new head coach Bob Scarella, “We have strength in captains Vanessa Gold and Annabel Beattie, as well as some experience in our returning players. However, it’s a very young squad.” That includes sophomore Daniella Li and freshmen Addie Lewis, Grace Yang, and Linda Chen. In addition, some of the best efforts come from a number of middle schoolers including 8th grader Zhanna Milani. The Girls roster also boasts several pairs of talented siblings: sophomore Theodora Aslan and her 7th grade sister, Anna, plus junior Rachel Danishevsky and 8th grader Becca. “The goal this year," says Scarella, "is to improve on last year's results, and despite our relative youth, we have the ability to achieve some notable success.” The team recently staged a dramatic upset of Founder’s League power Miss Porter’s of Farmington 6-1.   

     So far, April has seen excellent efforts from all of the Hornet teams, and things will certainly heat up this May. Be sure to come out to support the young Green & White as they begin to blossom.

Hamden Hall Country Day School

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