MIDDLETOWN — Middletown High’s 32-year swim winning streak might be at risk, Xavier has has a new swim coach, Xavier’s and Middletown’s co-op hockey teams look like they both might be pretty good, Xavier’s wrestling team looks outstanding while Middletown is building, and everybody’s indoor track teams are brimming with confidence.
Middletown’s boys turned in yet another winning dual-meet season last year going 12-3 and while coach Trevor Charles has 30 members out for his team, it is loaded with inexperience.
“We have lots of places for this year’s team members to step up and I am confident they will do so,” said Charles, who is entering his 10th season as head coach. “We will have our work cut out for us to defend our CCC South championship, but Middletown has never shied away from work.”
Charles said that his key performers will be swimmers Dylan Drescher, Andrew Ivans and Cameron Moskey, plus diver Tyler Wenzel. He said that powerhouse Glastonbury is the toughest team on his overall schedule and that Berlin will present the biggest challenge in the division.
Middletown opens at home with East Lyme on Dec. 19 at 4 p.m.
Xavier has a new coach with a Middletown High pedigree. Ronald Vaughn was a top-level swimmer at MHS and finds himself as the head coach across town. Xavier, normally a Class LL team, has dropped down to Class L.
“We will be highly competitive in Division I of the Southern Connecticut Conference,” Vaughn said. “Our strongest events will be our 200 medley relay, the 200 individual medley, the distance events, the 100 yard breaststroke and the 400 yard freestyle relay.”
Xavier, 4-8 last season and 14th in LL, return seniors Andrew Reagan (individual medley), Jack Argiro (distance) and Chet Vogt (sprints). He also said he has “three stud freshmen” in Andrew Mitchell (breaststroke), Donald Frost (butterfly) and Adam Anziano (distance)
“We aim to flip-flop our record and give some of the top Class L teams a run for their money,” said Vaughn.
Xavier opens at Branford at the Francis Walsh Middle School on Dec. 19 at 4 p.m.
Xavier lost a lot of scoring, plus their three-year goaltender, but coach Dan DeConti, in his fifth year, is upbeat.
“While we will be on the young side, I would expect us to be a tough opponent,” he said.
Xavier, 14-7-1 last season, returns seniors Alex Stasiuk, Joel Hotchkiss, and Tony DePreta, junior Jake Woznyk and sophomore Aden Hotchkiss, who has verbally committed to Sacred Heart.
DeConti said the toughest teams on the schedule are the usual suspects — Fairfield Prep, Notre Dame of West Haven and Notre Dame of Fairfield.
Xavier opens on the road at East Catholic on Dec. 16 at Champions Rink in Cromwell at 2 p.m.
Middletown is in a co-operative program with Rocky Hill, Wethersfield and Plainville. The club had a breakthrough season last year, compiling a 19-5-0 record.
Among the key returning players from MHS are captain Ben Mroczka and Luke Reynolds. Other key players are Trevor Piecewicz, Jake Pekrul, Riorden and Braydon Mertens, and Cameron Partridge.
“We will be an exciting team to watch with good speed and a huge determination to succeed,” said coach Dennis Tulimieri Sr., who is in his fourth year running this program and who has 32 years coaching experience overall.
The first game will be at UConn against E.O. Smith at 12:30 p.m. on Dec. 16.
Mercy is in a co-operative program with Northwest Catholic and last year was 7-13.
“We look to build on an improved season as we return eight players from the top two lines,” said third-year coach John Alissi.
The coach pointed to senior forward Kendall Castro, junior Annie Alissi, senior Katherine Sadak and junior Meghan McClellan as veterans expected to contribute. He especially singled out Alissi and McClellan to build on strong sophomore seasons, and his returning sophomore goalkeeper, Brianna McDermott.
Xavier had a terrific season last time around, compiling a 15-4 record and winning the SCC crown, finishing second in Class LL, eighth in the Open and 20th in New England. Coach Mike Cunningham, now in his 16th season, said his team is young. It’s also very good.
The Falcons return senior Ryan DeVivo, (SCC, LL, Open champion, New England runner-up), sophomore Ronan Marino (SCC champion, third in LL), sophomore James Lunt (SCC runner-up. third in LL), senior Collin Malloy, senior Vito Santasiero, junior Dylan Sousa and junior Grant Barber.
Cunningham, also said he has 11 promising newcomers, five of whom are sophomores.
“We have quite a number of first-year starters,” Cunningham said. “With the strength of our schedule, this team will be much tougher as we head into February and March.”
It’s a rebuilding year at MHS.
“We have several first-year wrestlers in the starting lineup and will struggle to finish above .500,” said coach Mark Fong, now in his 23rd season. Middletown was 14-6 last season and finished sixth in the Class L tournament.
The key returning wrestlers are Tino Pusz, Kalil Shabazz and Ryan Conklin.
Fong said that Bristol Eastern, Xavier and Ledyard will be the toughest teams on his schedule.
“One of our real bright spots is we have 12 freshmen out,” Fong said. “That’s the most we’ve ever had.”
Middletown opens with Simsbury at the Keigwin School on Dec. 13 at 6 p.m.
After Xavier’s fabulous cross-country season, the sky’s the limit for the indoor track team.
“We have a strong team comprised of experienced upperclassman and talented underclassmen,” coach Chris Stonier said. “With a national caliber distance squad and the ability to score points in the shot put, pole vault, hurdles and relays, we have a team that can contend for the SCC conference title and beyond.”
Stonier, in his sixth year, said his key team members are Owen Curran, Robbie Cozean, Owen Lally, Dillon Selfors, Peter Schulten, William Curran, Trevor Christie, Pierre Sylvain, David Moeller, Jake Tristine, Alex Bates and Griffin Saks.
The teams to look out for in the SCC are, according to Stonier, Shelton, Hamden and Hand.
The first meet is the AT&T Coaches’ Invitational on Dec. 16 at The Armory in New York City.
Mercy’s second-year coach Charles Kuhn is, as they say, cautiously optimistic.
“We have a small, but rather experienced team with several seniors in key events such as middle distance, sprints, relays, distance, pole vault and hurdles,” he said. “Our goal is to win the SCC Sectional Meet at the end of January for the fifth year in a row. Our freshmen class is small, but holds promise.”
Kuhn listed the following as his key returning athletes: seniors Autumn Anderson, Adrian Kandro, Catie LoBianco, Riley Moynihan, Jocelyn Stearns, Marianna Terenzio and Mauve Williams, plus juniors Mae Grochowski and Madison Webster.
Guilford, Hamden, Hillhouse and Shelton look to be the toughest competition.
The seasons starts on Dec. 18 at the SCC developmental meet at the Floyd Little Center at Hillhouse High in New Haven.
Middletown girls track coach Rob Weston, in his fourth year, said this will be a good winter for his team.
“We have a lot of talented runners returning this year,” he said. “Senior Kyla Goodwine will look to lead a group of young sprinters back to states where the 4×200 qualified last year. On the distance side, all-state runner sophomore Ariana Monarca will lead and be supported by senior Alexa Gonzalez and sophomore Nicole Nenninger.”
In addition, Weston said he will look to junior sprinter Natalie Sosnovich and freshman Kaylee Allegretti to make an impact.
Middletown’s first meet will be Dec. 15 at the New Haven Invitational.
Middletown’s boys have a new coach, but the same positive outlook. MHS finished a close second in the state Class L championship meet — it went on to win the outdoor title — and another good season is expected.
“This could be a very good season for us if we stay injury free,” first-year coach Jerry Wiggins said. “We would love to improve on our runner-up finish at states last year.”
DeShaun Bradshaw and Garrett Dandridge — both seniors — will look to be the top sprinters as well as lead the 4×200 relay team. Wiggins also said that junior Matt Lecky and senior Ben Carlson will be top contenders in the 3200 meter run.
Others expected to have an impact are senior sprinter Nico Cavalieri, junior hurdler Jaymin Torres and freshman distance runner Justin Karpel.
The first competition will also be at the New Haven Invitational on Dec. 15.
H-K girls basketball
H-K coach Scott Madeiros hopes his club will improve from its 4-16 record of last season.
“I am very excited for this season,” he said. “We return four experienced players and we added a lot of talented young underclassmen.”
He named his key returning players as seniors Tara Murphy and Daijah Rich. plus sophomores Belle Carini and Anna Biondi.
Madeiros, in his fourth season at H-K, said Cromwell and Coginchaug will be the toughest teams on his Shoreline schedule,
H-K opened on Dec. 13 at North Branford.