Winter athletes prepare for new sports season

Stroke+to+the+finish--+Junior+Joe+Harb+practices+his+freestyle+stroke+upon+the+approach%0Aof+the+upcoming+season.+Harb+looks+to+set+new+record+for+swim+along+with+his+teammates%0Athis+season
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Winter athletes prepare for new sports season

Stroke to the finish-- Junior Joe Harb practices his freestyle stroke upon the approach
of the upcoming season. Harb looks to set new record for swim along with his teammates
this season

Stroke to the finish-- Junior Joe Harb practices his freestyle stroke upon the approach of the upcoming season. Harb looks to set new record for swim along with his teammates this season

Joan Winner of Joan Winner Photography LLC

Stroke to the finish-- Junior Joe Harb practices his freestyle stroke upon the approach of the upcoming season. Harb looks to set new record for swim along with his teammates this season

Joan Winner of Joan Winner Photography LLC

Joan Winner of Joan Winner Photography LLC

Stroke to the finish-- Junior Joe Harb practices his freestyle stroke upon the approach of the upcoming season. Harb looks to set new record for swim along with his teammates this season

Hanny Wolkoff, Editor-in-chief

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As the weather gets colder and holiday cheer sets in, winter athletes begin to rise. Here’s a look at all of the winter teams that will be competing in this new season.

Boys ice hockey

With 12 of 16 players returning this year for the boys ice hockey co-op team with Avon and Lewis Mills, the hockey team will look to make another run in the postseason and capture another state championship. Senior captains Matt Arena and TJ Erickson will lead.

“Obviously we want to win the championship and get a ring but to get there we need to work together and have good team chemistry. Since kids are from different towns some people haven’t played together so team bonding and getting to know each other is key,” Erickson said.

The team’s first game will be Wednesday, December 18 against Simsbury, and their first home game will be Monday, December 23, against Conard at the Avon Old Farms rink.

Boys basketball

Coming off a championship win last year, head coach Duane Witter is approaching with a tougher mindset. The team will be facing a different schedule, competing in a harder division, and will be introducing three new starters to the lineup.

“We are talented and experienced enough to live up to our own high expectations for this season. We know because
of what we achieved last year, we will be challenged each and every night by the teams on our schedule. We look forward to that opportunity. That will be our legacy,” Witter said.

While winning another championship is the goal, maintaining the culture that makes boys basketball unique is important to senior Tyler Cortland; something he says will be easy as the team has grown to love each other and the sport.

Indoor track

An increased enrollment will start the indoor track teams off on the right foot. Going into his first indoor track season, head coach Patrick Skerker has placed a high emphasis on creating a welcoming environment.

“We’ve made progress. More students are coming out for the team. But even with increased numbers, it still has to feel like a family. Everyone is important. Everyone has something to contribute. That may take a little more time to establish this winter with potentially double or triple our numbers, but we’re still approaching this year with that same family vision. It’s just that family has gotten a little bigger this time around,” Skerker said.

Junior Charlie Driscoll participated in fall cross country and is looking forward to continuing. He hopes to set a few school records and transfer his hard work from the cross country season.

Girls basketball

The girls basketball team will be led by senior captains Carolyn Ives, Nicole Sabio, Amanda Rodrigues, and Rylee Fountain. Coach Keith Garbart will be going into his third season as head varsity coach, and after competing in the state championship just two years ago, is excited for the team’s potential.

“The team certainly has the ability to go very far if they are willing to put in the work needed. As always, our goals are to compete for a CCC West Division title and to qualify and compete for a Class L State Championship. I am very excited about the solid core of players returning which will help with our overall depth of talent and some new additions to the team,” Garbart said.

Gymnastics

After a second place conference finish and a 5-1 record, the gymnastics team is looking to improve upon last year and capture the conference title. The team lost one key senior to graduation last year, but senior captain Anna Mihalek is confident in the team’s ability to step up and perform this coming season.

“The team is going to need to work really hard this year to replace our seniors, and we are going to have to work really hard to have a 6-0 season. The overall goal is to make states, of course, but with the returning gymnasts I am confident in our ability to qualify,” Mihalek said.

Key returning gymnasts, in addition to Mihalek, are seniors Lizzie Kot and Gabby Butler, juniors Lily Roy and Sophia Bottalico, and sophomore Noelle Ciravolo.

Wrestling

The wrestling team welcomes both the new season and new head coach Kia Gholampour as the winter season gets underway. Seniors Frank Miano, Lucas Salles, and Gio Andino will be the team captains this winter. While a new head coach would make other teams nervous, Andino is not worried at all.

“Coming into this year for wrestling, I noticed that we never really had a solid foundation. So the main goal is to get more people to wrestle. Our new coach is actually a FHS alumni. I’m confident that [he] is up to the task of being the head coach of the team,” Andino said.

Boys swim and dive

Coming off of a successful season last year, the boys swim and dive team will be looking to progress as a team. Coach Scott Ferrigno will be looking to senior captains Jadyin Calin, Evan Adams, Timothy Stephenson, Luke Varghese and Paul Zambrzycki to lead.

“I hope to bring a lot of support to all members of the team and build good relations between everyone to form a more cohesive unit. My mindset for the season is very optimistic, I am excited to see what the tam will look like this year,” Calin said.

Ferrigno will also be counting on juniors Joe Harb and Parker Munro and sophomore Isaac Varghese. He is looking forward to seeing the new freshmens’ contributive skills.