Greenwich athletes produced a wealth of game-winning goals, clutch baskets, first-place finishes and impressive performances during the winter season and their accomplishments were indeed, recognized.
Numerous members of the Cardinals’ girls hockey and basketball teams, boys hockey, boys swimming, wrestling, gymnastics and girls and boys track squads received All-FCIAC honors.
On the boys hockey scene, senior defenseman/captain Ryan Columbo received All-FCIAC First Team accolades.
“He has been great each year he was on the team,” Cardinals coach Chris Rurak said of Columbo. “His skating ability is off the charts, his hockey IQ is great and he was tough as a defenseman in 1-on-1 situations.”
Columbo registered six goals and eight assists as a defenseman for the Cardinals, who advanced to the FCIAC Tournament finals and was about to play its opening-round game in the CIAC Division I Tournament, when the tournament was canceled due to the health threat regarding the coronavirus.
Sophomore forward Ivan Kovalev was an All-FCIAC Second Team selection. Kovalev recorded 11 goals and 12 assists for the season.
“Ivan was a great addition to the team,” Rurak said. “He has a great set of hands, a good hockey IQ and a good skill set.”
Senior goalie Ben Nash and sophomore forward Wesley Zolin were All-FCIAC Honorable Mention selections.
Zolin scored 12 goals and tallied 12 assists for the Cardinals, while Nash was stellar in goal.
Greenwich’s girls ice hockey team was represented by seniors Katie Piotrzkowski, Sydney Orszulak and Jessica Ware.
Piotrzkowski was a defender/captain for GHS, which advanced to the semifinal-round of both the FCIAC and state tournaments.
“Katie has always been a player who has led by example,” GHS coach Alex Lerchen said. “She is prepared every day to work her hardest and she provided shut down defense and was able to chip in offensively. She’s been a great leader for us.”
Orszulak also sparked the Cardinals defensively and served as a captain.
“Sydney is a player that every opposing coach asks about and says who is that?,” Lerchen said. “She’s got the ability to take over a game at times and she had a great season in our defensive end.”
Ware, a goalie, turned in a productive senior season, after playing at Canterbury School as a junior.
“We knew she was going to be a dominant player for us,” Lerchen said. “She was eager to come back and play at Greenwich High. She earned that No. 1 spot, had a .950 save percentage and gave up less than a goal a game. When we were having trouble scoring goals in certain games, she had a few shutouts.”
Cardinals senior forward/captain Emma Wingrove received Second Team All-FCIAC honors.
“Emma scored some big goals for us this year and improved each season,” Lerchen said. “She also scored clutch goals for us the past few years.”
Junior Delaney Roth, sophomore Tess Marciano, Lexi Danielson (junior) and Hannah Goldenberg (junior) each received FCIAC Honorable Mention accolades.
Roth and Marciano played on defense, Goldenberg was a goalie and Danielson skated on one of the top lines.
“Those four players will be relied upon next year,” Lerchen said. “Delaney hit the ground running at a new position and really stepped up her game. Tess had a great year, Hannah played well in goal and Lexi helped us with her great shot and skills around the net.”
The All-FCIAC boys swimming list features 11 Cardinals that earned First Team honors. Senior Thomas Lewis, one of the captains, was chosen as a member of the All-FCIAC First Team.
Lewis swam on the Cards’ winning 200-yard medley relay team at the FCIAC Championships, then placed third in the 200-yard individual medley (1:54.87) and won the 100 backstroke title (52.03).
“Thomas Lewis had a great season for us, was a leader of the team and gave us key performances at key times,” Cardinals coach Terry Lowe said. “It was great to see him perform so well at the FCIAC Championships in the 200 IM, followed by his excellent win in the 100 backstroke. He was very much a key to us winning our opening relay.”
Also receiving All-FCIAC First Team recognition were: Charlie Clark, Justin Jacob, James Pascale, Nicholas Malchow, Alexander Plavoukos, Alex Hanna, Whitaker Grover, Jack Jee, Mark Merson and Ryan Jee.
Clark, who served as a senior captain, placed second in both the 200 freestyle (1:43.75) and 100 freestyle (46.95) at the conference championship meet. He also was part of the team’s winning 200 freestyle relay squad (1:27.07) and the 400 freestyle relay team, which placed second in 3:09.08.
“Charlie is a fierce competitor,” Lowe said. “You marvel at his ability to dig in and compete at the key moments.”
Senior captain Jack Jee placed third in the 100-yard butterfly (52.00) and was seventh in the 200 individual medley at the FCIAC finals.
“The improvement in his swimming career since coming to Greenwich was incredible,” Lowe said of Jee. “To see him work so hard over the course of four years and see him become an outstanding swimmer, was great.”
Jacob, a sophomore, led off Greenwich’s FCIAC champion 200 medley relay squad and finished eighth in the 100 butterfly. Pascale, a junior, also competed in the 200 medley relay race, then placed second in the 100 butterfly and finished fifth in the 500 freestyle. A senior, Merson took sixth in the 50 freestyle at the county meet and was on the winning 200 freestyle team.
Malchow captured the FCIAC title in the 50 freestyle (21.13) and helped spark the 200 medley and 200 freestyle relay teams to victory.
“Justin Jacob keeps working to get better and better, James Pascale had one of the toughest combinations, swimming the 100 butterfly and 500 freestyle and Malchow swims the freestyle in picture-perfect form,” Lowe said.
Plavoukos (second 500 freestyle, third 200 freestyle), Hanna (third 50 freestyle, sixth 100 freestyle), Whitaker Grover (won FCIAC diving title as a freshman) and Ryan Jee (fifth 200 IM) also helped lead the Cards to their 49th FCIAC team title in 50 seasons.
Nick Todorovic, Joel Satir, Jayden Satir, Thomas Cass, Marko Todorovic and Aidan Bucaria each earned Second Team All-FCIAC honors.
Like the Cardinals’ boys swimming team, the school’s girls basketball team had its season cut short, while it was competing in the state tournament. The Cardinals advanced to the Class LL semifinals, where it was slated to play Staples, when the remainder of the season was canceled, due to the coronavirus.
Freshman forward Mackenzie Nelson emerged as Greenwich’s leading scorer and was named to the All-FCIAC First Team.
Nelson possesses an impressive outside shot and was especially effective at driving to the basket.
“Mackenzie had a big impact on our team as a freshman,” GHS coach Chrys Hernandez said. “Not only does she have great skills, she is an outstanding teammate.”
Senior forward/captain Julia Conforti and freshman guard Ava Sollenne were All-FCIAC Honorable Mention selections.
“Julia showed a lot of consistency her senior season,” Hernandez said. “She missed her entire sophomore year, after tearing her ACL and I was really proud to see her come back last season. Ava is a strong, confident player as a freshman, who flew under the radar. She found her niche as the season went on.”
Greenwich’s girls indoor track and field team is well represented on the All-FCIAC Team. Junior Mari Noble (1,600-meter run), sophomore Biana Granitto (4×400 relay), senior Zoe Harris (4×800 relay), senior Demi Janis (4×800 relay), junior Grace Collier (4×800 relay), junior Alexa Brust (4×400 relay) and sophomore Kayla Egan (4×400 relay) each earned First Team All-FCIAC accolades in their respective events.
Hannah Rikfin, a senior (sprint medley relay) and Calista Hedbabny (senior, high jump) were Second Team All-FCIAC selections for the Cardinals.
Noble won the title in the 1,600-meter run at the FCIAC meet in 5:07.99. She went on to win the 3,200-meter race at the Class LL and place second at the State Open (10:57.26)championships.
The Cardinals won the 4 x 800 relay title at the FCIAC finals. At the State Open Championships, and the Class LL finals, Greenwich captured the first-place medal in the 4 x 800 relay race.
Junior wrestler Carlos DeWinter made the All-FCIAC squad as a First Team member. DeWinter won the 120-pound weight class title at the FCIAC Championships.
Teammates Emanuel Lai, Louis Ceci, Garrett O’Dell and Glen Rivas were FCIAC Honorable Mention selections.
In boys indoor track and field, sophomore Zachary Jelinek made Second Team honors in the 1,000-meter event.
Also making Second Team All-FCIAC honors in their respective events were: Alexander Bien (3,200), Isaac Dacres (4×200), David Faugno (4×200), Michael Phillips (4×200), Zane Nye (4×200) and Zachary Carifa (high jump).
In gymnastics, Greenwich was represented by senior Celine Perrin on the All-Conference Second Team. Nika Sibley was an Honorable Mention selection.