By John Torsiello
School: Granby Memorial High School.
For the past four years I have attended Granby Memorial High School. I have been incredibly lucky to have some of the best teachers in the state provide me with the education I needed to succeed. Throughout my time here I have taken all honors or AP classes. Ever since I was a kid my parents emphasized that hard work would pay off in the end, and without a doubt it has. I have achieved honors or high honors every semester and that is something I take great pride in.
The sports at GMHS cannot be beat. The school is very passionate about its sports and all the kids come out to every game. I play football, basketball, and baseball. I also give TONS of credit to my coaches; Rich Gadoury (football), Walter Hansen (basketball) and Todd Shufelt (baseball). They have made huge impacts on my life. They teach me more than just sport but also about being a good person and doing what is right. Sports Played And Position: Football (quarterback); basketball (forward/center); baseball (outfield/pitcher).
Athletic Accomplishments: Four year varsity football starter; started every basketball game for varsity since sophomore year; won offensive MVP for football in 2012; won Most Improved Basketball Player sophomore year; won the CIAC sportsmanship and integrity award as a junior; football 2nd Team All-Central Connecticut Conference as quarterback 2012; only junior captain of the football team in 2012; captain of the football team in 2013; member of state champion basketball team in 2013.
How You Prepare Before A Game: For football I always watch as much film as I can on the opponent and try to figure out some of their tendencies on defense. Also, I listen to some of my favorite sports speeches. Most of the time I like listening to a Friday Night Lights speech, a Remember the Titans speech, and Herb Brooks’ “miracle” speech. After that I stay very quiet and try to get myself focused, I’m really not the kind to get up and scream and yell. For basketball I make sure to watch the JV game and try to pick up what the opponent JV team does on offense and defense because most of the time that is what their varsity squad will run. For baseball I kind of take a different approach I like to stay pretty loose. We all like to have fun but are all business once the game starts. I think it’s important to stay loose and not think too much before a game because you can psych yourself out if you think too much.
Most Memorable Moment In Your High School Career: Two that stand out to me are Granby football’s first ever varsity victory at Windsor Locks/Suffield/East Granby under the lights in Suffield. We won the game, 13-12, with a heroic goal line stand by our defense with just seconds remaining on the clock. The celebration on the field after the game was unreal. It was so special to be the starting quarterback that game and throw a touchdown to Zach Balboni in a low scoring contest. The memory that might outshine that one was when the Granby boys basketball team won the Class S state championship this past winter. We were down 19 points at the half against Weaver, and down 15 going into the fourth quarter. We shot the lights out in the second half and a last second three-pointer by one of our all-conference guards sent us into overtime. The game ended up going into double overtime and we completed a 21-point comeback to win the championship. It was amazing how the school and the entire town embraced us after that.
What Are You Most Excited About This Season: The chance to be on the winningest team in Granby football history. I want to be on the first team over .500 for Granby football and I believe being at least 6-5 is a very realistic goal. To be over .500 just four years after launching a varsity football team would be awesome. I love everything about this team, and even though we are extremely young we have a great core of seniors led by Jake Largay, Ian Downey, John Brucker, Matt Selander, myself, and so many others. I have my personal goals but those don’t matter to me that much. All that matters to me is getting as many W’s as possible. We realize that our schedule is top heavy and we are excited to make a run as the season moves along.
Favorite Pro Or College Athlete: My favorite athlete is actually a collegiate athlete, the quarterback for the Alabama Crimson Tide. A.J. McCarron. He is a great role model and someone I pattern myself after based on what he does on and off the field. He is a class act and an amazing football player. College Plans: Without a doubt I want to stay in the New England or Mid-Atlantic area. I would say my top choices for schools in no order are the University of Connecticut, The College of New Jersey, Marist, and Endicott. I have visited a lot of schools and these are the ones that stand out to me. I have not made up my mind if I want to play football in college yet.