This time of year is especially exciting for high school athletes who are planning to continue their sports careers at the collegiate level.
The school year is rapidly progressing and soon, the seniors will take their athletic skills to college. But before doing so, it’s good to spend a few minutes to reflect on the past and celebrate what’s been accomplished — which is what a group of 10 Greenwich High School athletes did Wednesday morning.
The Media Center at Greenwich High School was full of athletes for almost every season, as a ceremony was held to honor 10 college-bound athletes.
Football players Tysen Comizio and Tobias Turnbull, golfer Jackson Fretty, lacrosse player Sloane Loveless, swimmer Bridget Semenuk and five rowers — Eleanor Dabney, Michael Steinthal, Lucy Koven, Isabel Wilkowski and Natasha Neitzell — will all compete in their respective sports at the collegiate level.
Comizio, was a standout running back on the Cardinals’ football team which finished 13-0 this past fall and won the CIAC Class LL championship.
After rushing for 2,285 yards during his impressive Greenwich career, Comizio will join the University of Pennsylvania’s running back corps in the fall.
“I’m so excited, my family is excited and it feels good to have the hard work pay off,” Comizio said.
Like his Greenwich teammates, Comizio still relishes the team’s victory over New Canaan in the Class LL final.
“I’ll never forget it, I think about it every day,” said Comizio, who totaled 787 yards rushing with 14 touchdowns in 2018. “Before the season, ended, I was just focused on the goal of going to the state championship and winning. To have that happen means the world to me.”
Comizio will soon be a part of the storied Ivy League football rivalries.
“I’m looking forward to the competition and the high level of play,” Comizio said. “I am excited about competing against athletes who are highly skilled and the competition that I will face.”
He credits Cardinals football coach John Marinelli for helping his dream playing college football come true.
“Coach Marinelli is the best, without him, I don’t know if any of this is possible,” Comizio said. “He pointed us to the right coaches, he pointed us to the right camps and he always encouraged us in practice and made sure we didn’t slack in school. I can’t thank him enough.”
Fretty, who will begin his senior season for Greenwich in the spring, will take his golf clubs to Princeton University’s strong program.
Last season saw Fretty lead Greenwich to the CIAC Division I title. His round of 3-under-par 68 at Stanley Golf Club in New Britain earned him the state individual title and sparked the Cardinals to the team championship.
At the 2018 FCIAC Championships, Fretty carded a tournament-record 6-under-65 at Fairchild Wheeler Golf Course, leading Greenwich to its ninth title. Coached by Will Green, Princeton has long been a contender in the Ivy League.
“It’s been a dream of mine for a very long time,” Fretty said of having the chance to play at Princeton. “It really couldn’t have worked out better, coach Green is awesome, he’s been one of the best people I’ve met in this entire process.”
“I can’t wait to compete with the guys on the team, that’s going to be amazing and obviously, the school is a fantastic place.”
An All-FCIAC, All-State Team selection, Fretty was chosen as the FCIAC Golfer of the Year in 2018.
“The experiences I’ve had playing for Greenwich High are the main reasons why I am where I am,” Fretty said. “I can’t thank coach (Jeff) Santilli and the Greenwich golf program enough. I cannot ask for a better golf foundation.”
Loveless, one of the state’s best lacrosse goalies, is headed to Cornell University. She’s excelled in goal for several seasons for the Cardinals, who make a habit of contending for postseason titles.
“I am incredibly excited to learn a whole new game of lacrosse,” Loveless said. “Going from high school to college is an incredible jump and I’m excited to learn everything that comes with that.”
Indeed, Loveless has learned plenty from being a member of Greenwich High’s lacrosse squad.
“We’ve grown throughout the season every single year and we’ve come back and fought every season with so much energy and so much excitement,” Loveless said. “I’m excited about what the upcoming season will bring.”
Turnbull was a kicker for the Greenwich football team last year, but was recruited as a receiver for Stonehill College — a role he’s looking forward to filling.
“I think it’s going to be awesome, I’m going to miss playing high school football, because we were so close, but I’ve already reached out to some Stonehill commits and everyone is ready to get going,” Turnbull said.
As a placekicker for GHS, Turnbull converted 21 of his 23 point-after attempts and was 2 for 2 on his field-goal tries.
“Winning the state title here at Greenwich was an awesome experience,” Turnbull said. “We worked so hard since we lost the championship the previous year. The week after that we went straight to the weight room.”
Semenuk, a premier swimmer for Chelsea Piers Athletic Club in Stamford, will take her outstanding swim skills to the University of Texas.
Semenuk has flourished at regional, sectional and national meets during her days at Chelsea Piers. During last year’s Ithaca Sectionals, she finished first in the 200 freestyle in a pool-record time and also won the 200 individual medley.
She’s known for being a versatile freestyle competitor, registering impressive times in events from the 50 to 1,000 freestyle.
Based in town, Greenwich Crew is sending five Greenwich High students to Division I rowing programs.
Steinthal will compete on the crew team at Yale University.
“I’m going to be really excited about seeing the competition at the next level and the level of dedication, where everyone on the team has been putting in years and years of time to the sport,” Steinthal said. “Everyone has put in years of effort to get there and you know everyone is 100 percent dedicated.”
Isabel Wilkowski, also a Greenwich Crew athlete, is headed to Brown University.
“At Greenwich Crew, I’ve learned what it takes to be a part of a team,” Wilkowski said. “It’s not just one individual that makes a team good, but it’s the team itself and it’s so important that we work together to reach each goal. The next four years, I will be pushing my limits even more at the next level.”
Dabney will keep her crew career going in the fall at the United States Naval Academy.
The GHS senior also honed her skills at Greenwich Crew.
“It’s a really strong program and we have amazing coaches who taught us what it means to work hard and challenge us mentally and physically,” Dabney said. “Every day we are pushed to do better things, which has made us excel. We had strong showings at local regattas and really showed the depth of our team.”
Koven and Neitzell will be crew teammates at Princeton.
“Princeton is obviously, an incredible academic school and the crew coach is amazing, so I’m excited about his opportunity,” said Koven, who will be starting her fourth year with Greenwich Crew in the spring. “We have some big goals for the spring season and we’re definitely looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish.”
Said Neitzell: “I’ve learned a lot from rowing. It’s taught me how to stay calm when everything else is crazy around you and the pressure is on. It taught me how to work hard with other people around me to attain a common goal.”