Weston High School fall sports preview
Updated 11:58 pm, Monday, September 12, 2011
Weston's fall sports season is underway and is ready to go.
Below is a list of Weston's teams and their expectations.
The Weston volleyball team will look to jump, set and spike its way to another impressive season after going 16-7 last year and reaching the semifinals of both the SWC and Class S tournaments.
A big void has been created following the departure of former co-captain Christina Walsh, who received First Team All-SWC and Second Team All-State honors last year. The Lady Trojans will also miss Hannah Ashmore, who was supposed to be a major impact player as a junior this year. Ashmore's family moved back to Georgia.
Juniors Taylor Swanson and Anna Hengelbrook will step into the starting lineup and make a big impact.
Despite losing Welsh and Ashmore, the Lady Trojans are loaded and primed for another run in SWCs and Class M. Weston is led by senior co-captain setter Jessy Gersh and junior hitter Savannah Carpenter, who along with senior co-captain Lili Clemet and junior Fran Holmes form a solid core that should help the team. Together, the group has a lot of experience playing together at the varsity level, which should pay dividends once the end-of-season tournaments come around.
This year's Weston girls swimming and diving team has big shoes to fill if it will repeat as Class S champs.
The Lady Trojans won their first state title since 2006 in dramatic fashion, edging their nearest competitor by just seven points. They were 7-4-2 in dual meets.
Weston coach Tom Grace is now in his fifth season at the helm and looks to defend the title. Three freshmen join the team to add a blend of youth to the experienced group.
Karen Bottger was last year's Team MVP and is now plying her trade at UMass-Amherst.
Junior Olivia Clark has the ability to take over as one of the leaders of the squad in all events and should become the leader of the unit in Bottger's absence.
On the diving side of the team, Jeanine Oburchay begins her seventh season as coach of the Lady Trojans. All the divers are back and they should be a strong unit this fall. The group is led by senior Julia DiMarco, who will be the captain in 2011 after a strong campaign last year. Junior Hannah Schroeder is also a major contributor who has a vast amount of experience and should be one of the teams standouts. The strongest newcomer appears to be Maren Panzier, who has worked with Oburchay over the past few years to get her prepared for the high school level.
Boys cross country
Although last year was a down year for the Weston boys cross country team, the group still managed to win the Patriot League and qualify for the postseason with a 9-5 record.
The Trojans only managed an eighth place showing at the Class SS meet, marking the first time in five years they failed to finish in the top two. They placed sixth in the SWC's.
Despite the disappointing season in 2010, Coach Marty Ogden received Connecticut High School Coaches Association Coach of the Year honors, as well as being nominated for the prestigious National High School Boys Cross Country Coach of the Year. More important than the accolades, Ogden expects his squad to bounce back and compete for a state championship
"We are hoping to get back to the level of excellent we have grown accustomed to," Ogden said.
Weston football coach Joe Lato has high hopes for his team in 2011 after sharing the Patriot Division title with Bethel a year ago with a 6-4 record, which was the team's best log in eight seasons and almost qualified the Trojans for the Class S tournament.
However, a rebuilding season may be on the cards for Lato after losing a host of starters to graduation, including top rusher and defensive standout Eddie Hutchins. Also gone are fellow All-State stars Jack Crowell and Jacob Spencer. Sophomore Danny Rogers and senior Austin Delaney will get the majority of the carries this season at running back after contributing on offense and defense a year ago.
Weston will be quarterbacked by junior Tyler Hasset, who also was pressed into starting action a year ago as a result of injuries. Senior Matt Keeney could emerge as one of the team's leaders after making Second Team All-SWC last year.
Although the group is young on both sides of the ball in comparison to a year ago, the team has the potential to develop and keep the momentum from last season's positive record.The Trojans begin their season Friday (Sept. 16) at Stratford.
After going 8-10-1 a year ago and reaching the state quarterfinals, the WHS boys soccer team is certainly a group on the rise. Head Coach Kevin Fitzsimmons hopes his 4-3-3 formation that focuses on passing carries his team to a winning record. This is only his third season in charge, but the progress that this program has made since arriving from England has been outstanding. In recognition for his accomplishments in 2010, he was named SWC Coach of the Year.
The Trojans will miss their anchor, central defender Jack Steinharter, who graduated in June. He formed a formidable partnership with this seasons captain, Michael Certoma. Certoma is regarded as one of the best defenders in the conference, earning first-team all-league honors in 2010. Sophomores Ian Finn and Sam Ruben will look to force their way into the starting lineup after contributing a year ago.
Fitzsimmons is very confident his team will make a big leap in 2011: "It's definitely the strongest squad I've had in the three years I've had the job. We can definitely make the postseason."
It was a tough season for the Weston girls soccer team last year, posting a 3-9-3 record.
The Lady Trojans didn't qualify for States and miss last year's Team MVP goalie Hannah Hutchins, who made many big saves in net. They will also miss Callie Bowie, who is playing for Clemson University.
This year, the team will be led by senior captains Rachel Lugossy, Erika Wollman and Maggie Maretz. Lugossy and Wollman play in the midfield, while Maretz will hope to stop as many shots as possible from the goalie position. Aside from the captains, the team is littered with sophomores and juniors who had significant playing time a year ago, in part because of a rash of injuries that hit the team's best players.
Someone who got the chance to prove herself as a result of the injuries and took full advantage was sophomore Whitney Farber. Farber was named Rookie of the Year and also made the Second Team All-SWC. Junior Grace Mattison is also hoping for a big season after losing most of of 2010 with an injury after storming onto the scene as a freshman the year before.
Weston will have a new leader off the field as well. Brazilian Gustavo Reaes steps in after the departure of Joanna Hallac, who left the area to pursue graduate interests. Reaes has spent the majority of the last 10 years in the Weston soccer academy in some capacity and will inherit a team that is more than capable of making the postseason.
After failing to make the playoffs with a disappointing 4-8-2 mark last year, the Weston field hockey team is eager to prove that it's capable of winning games. The record may be a bit deceiving however, because a majority of those defeats were decided by one goal. Offensive struggles were the main reason behind the team's poor mark, something Lady Trojans coach Chirstina Donigian will try to correct this fall.
"We weren't aggressive enough in the offensive circle to actually put the ball past the goalie, which is why we lost a lot of games by just one goal. We couldn't get on the scoreboard and it haunted us all season," Donigian said.
Weston will miss First Team All-SWC player Cathy Fredrickson, goalie Katie Maretz, Sara O'Brien and Becky O'Brien.
The Lady Trojans will be led by midfielders Tess Fagan and Maggie McCusker and forwards Julia Armijo and Hannah Goodman. The trio is fast and should be able to create problems for opposing defenses throughout the season. Finding the net will be the team's top priority in 2011.
Girls cross country
The Weston girls cross-country team has no margin for error this fall.
Weston has only 10 girls on the squad, which will be captained by senior Rachel Fraade. Fraade, classmate Tess Maggio and junior Augusta Alwang are among the top runners on the Lady Trojans and the other seven runners will vie for position. Because the squad is small, they can't afford injuries or illness.
Last year. Weston was 6-9 in dual meets and placed 13th at Class M. The Lady Trojans will especially miss Kara Bucaro, who qualified for the New England championships. They will also miss Casey Weiss.