Time out for real life.
Readers should be familiar with the Charles family. Trevor is the head coach of the Middletown High girls swim team, the boys swim team and of the Ultimate Frisbee team. He also is the adviser of the Gay Straight Student Alliance and is a first-rate social studies teacher who, from time to time, enlivens his classes by dressing up in period costumes.
His wife Nicole is also a social studies teacher at MHS, and last year her students won statewide awards in academic History Day competition. She is the adviser to the successful MHS Key Club which each year sponsors the girls Powder Puff football game, which contributes thousands of dollars to local charities. Both are wonderful people.
I have known Superintendent Patricia Charles and her husband Keith for many years, going back to when their son Trevor and my son Chris were good friends and were members of the MHS swim team. Pat and Keith are as good as it gets.
All of that is prologue to the tragedy suffered by Trevor and Nicole, and by extension Nicole’s family, the Naclerios, and Pat and Keith, when one of their newborn infant twin sons, 11-day old Preston, died last Sunday.
Losing a child of any age is the worst thing that can happen to a parent. I know. The joy of anticipating twins, the things that are bought and given in anticipation of two little ones, is overwhelming. Then to have this happen is something for which there are no words.
For the grandparents, it is double grief as they mourn not only for their grandchild, but for the suffering of their own children.
The joy in the midst of such sadness is that the other twin, Greyson, is doing well. For that, all of us who are privileged to count the Charles family among our friends, are profoundly grateful.
Condolences to all and I say that knowing I speak for many, many people who have been touched by the Charles family, not only in Middletown, but in other places around the state where Trevor’s teams played and where Pat brought her expertise and love of children as an administrator.
My words are inadequate. Trevor and Nicole are strong people. Let’s pray for them and for little Greyson.
No matter where you look, Middletown High, Xavier or Mercy, this is a banner season for high school soccer.
At Middletown, the girls soccer team is 10-2 and Mikaela Coady now has 18 goals, a school record. The Blue Dragons crushed Maloney 5-0 Friday at home. Coady had two goals, and Marissa Aldieri, Alex DeFrance and Ashley Polson each had one. The girls finish their regular season with four road games, the first Tuesday at Bristol Central.
The boys soccer team at MHS has ripped off four wins in a row, the latest a 2-1 win over Maloney Friday. The Blue Dragons are now 6-4-2. Logan Pingree and Joey Pizzuto scored for MHS and Chris Rodo had nine saves in goal. The boys finish with four straight home games, the first Tuesday with Bristol Central at 7 p.m. at The Stadium at MHS.
Xavier’s soccer team is having a spectacular season at 9-0-3. The Falcons won again on Friday, beating North Haven 2-0 on goals by Brendan Cutili and Brandon Charton. Xavier plays at West Haven Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.
Mercy improved to 9-2-1 Friday with a 2-1 win over East Haven. Danielle Richardson and Blakeslee Palmer had goals for the Tigers. Mercy plays the New Haven cooperative team at home Thursday afternoon.
Heckuva year for city soccer, heckuva year.
PHIL CACCIOLA, A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS
Phil Cacciola is one of those guys who does all kinds of things for the city and for kids, yet prefers to operate under the radar. No more.
On Oct. 5, Cacciola was inducted into the Norwich University Athletic Hall of Fame on his college class’s 50th reunion. Here in Middletown, he is the Commander of the Post 75 American Legion and is the mover and shaker behind the Middletown American Legion baseball team.
When he became Commander he was determined to do everything he could to bring the Post 75ers back to the glory days it once experienced. The Legion team has been in the postseason for several years running and this past summer was a very tough out in the Northeast Regional, going 2-2.
It was Cacciola who spearheaded the effort to get the Regional here, and it will be here next summer, too.
He is also one of the prime forces in the Middletown Sports Hall of Fame and is a longtime and enthusiastic backer of Middletown High School.
He doesn’t like publicity. Tough, Phil, you have it coming. One of the city’s best.
Harry Bellucci has been around the block a few times. He’s the coach of Hartford Public’s football team, a pretty good team that got clocked by Middletown Friday night.
“Middletown is very good,” said Bellucci. “I knew that when Sal [Morello, head coach] got there, they would be tough. They are. We have a little bit of a rivalry with them and for the first couple of years, we had really good games. But not so much lately. We’d like to build our program to be like Middletown’s.”
He also was pretty funny when he said, “I have been hearing about Highsmiths since the 1970s and now I have to play against one of them.”
Middletown, No. 2 in the CIAC Class L playoff rankings, will be heavily favored at Bristol Central Friday at 7 p.m.
GIVE ANDREW THE BALL
That’s what Xavier coach Sean Marinan does: give Andrew Meoli the ball.
The kid carried 32 times against Hillhouse a week ago and he was relentless, piling up 189 yards. That worked, so Marinan had quarterback Joe Carbone hand off to Meoli again Friday against Amity. Again and again and again.
Meoli carried the ball 32 times — apparently that’s his quota — and he ran for 129 yards for three touchdowns as Xavier won its third in a row. Carbone carried the ball for 102 yards on 17 carries. The score was 42-28, but it was 29-7 at the half and Xavier was never in trouble.
Friday’s game at West Haven (4-1) is huge. The Westies lost their first game of the season, but have won four in a row and are ranked No. 6 in the Class LL playoff ratings. Xavier is No. 5. Key game for both teams.
AND IN COLLEGE…
Tim Boyle made his debut for UConn Saturday and it wasn’t what he and a lot of his fans around here had hoped … the reality is that the Xavier alum is a freshman and he plays for a terrible team.
No point in sugar-coating things. When a team is 0-5 it’s a bad team and bad teams don’t have enough good players. It’s a rule. The hope is that for the rest of the year Boyle will learn and that UConn will surround him with better players starting next year. That means recruiting players from around the country.
It won’t happen overnight, but I think Boyle is the real deal. Now let’s see if UConn can build a team. Right now, this team is a disaster and there are no quick fixes.
MHS alum Devon Carrillo faced a bit of adversity for the first time Saturday at Wesleyan. He found himself watching some of the game after a mistake or two he made on defense.
His coach, Mike Whalen, was very kind, saying that the Bates offense was a tough one. But he also said in referring to Carrillo seeing less action in the second half: “Welcome to college football.”
Wesleyan is a very good D-III team and Carrillo is a good one. But like Boyle at UConn, he’s a freshman.
HIGH SCHOOL FROSH EXCEL
It doesn’t look like local football is about to go in the tank any time soon. The MHS freshman football team is 5-0, its latest win a 28-6 win over Hartford Public last Thursday. Xavier’s frosh are 4-1, losing only a 34-14 game to North Haven.
HERE AND THERE
Local cross-country teams, like their football and soccer comrades, are having very good seasons … Mercy is 8-0, Xavier is 7-2, the MHS boys are 6-1 and the girls are 5-2 …the CCC championship meet is Wednesday at Wickham Park in Manchester and the SCC championship meet is Thursday at Hammonassett State Park.
At the Wickham Invitatio
nal Saturday, Xavier was 10th in the boys championship division … Middletown’s boys were second in the unseeded division and the Portland girls were fourth and Cromwell was seventh in the unseeded division … Christian Alberico was second in the unseeded boys race and Matt Alvarez of Middletown was 10th … Zachary Williams of Xavier was sixth in the championship division.
Terrific football win for Vinal Tech/East Hampton Saturday, 13-6, in overtime over Platt Tech … the Bellhawks are now 3-2 and play O’Brien Tech in Ansonia Saturday at 11 a.m. … Coginchaug got to .500 with a 40-7 win over Lewis Mills and hosts Old Saybrook/Westbrook Saturday at 2:30 p.m. … undefeated Valley Regional, ranked No. 2 in the Class M playoff ratings, travels to North Branford, which was stunned by two late touchdowns and lost to Avon 41-38. Game time is Friday at 6:30 p.m. … big game for both.
Cromwell is home Saturday with Windsor Locks (4-1) at 1:35 … because Windsor Locks is a cooperative program with Suffield and East Granby, its combined enrollment make the team a Class L program, which means a Cromwell win would give it a big boost from its current No. 11 spot in the Class S playoff ratings.
Haddam-Killingworth lost again, this team to streaking Hyde 23-0 … H-K is home with undefeated Morgan Friday at 6:30 … undefeated Wesleyan meets undefeated Amherst in Massachusetts Saturday … maybe this will be the year the Cardinals break through against the three teams — Amherst, Williams and Trinity — that have dominated them for years.