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Spring Athletics In Review
Jacqueline Keller

The 2019 Varsity Tennis Team had a successful season. After starting with a sound defeat at the hands of the Brunswick Bruins, the Winged Beavers were able to pull off a series of victories. The team finished the regular season with a 14-4 record.

With wins over perennial tennis powers The Taft School, The Loomis Chaffee School, and Kingswood Oxford School, the team earned a spot in the New England Prep School Tennis Team Championship tournament. The Winged Beavers lost in the first round to runner up and host school, Groton School. After that difficult loss, the boys ended the season with a victory over Choate. Avon had never beaten Choate Rosemary Hall in a head to head tennis match.

The players have a great deal to be proud of this year. Our losses were at the hands of three Class A semifinalists and one Class B semifinalist—the very best teams in New England Prep tennis.

 

The 2019 Track & Field Team had 50 members, with over half new additions to the team. The team started with a victory at our first home meet against Choate Rosemary Hall, The Taft School, and Hopkins School. After the victory, our 4x100m relay seemed untouchable. However, the colder season led to several injuries – knocking out three of the four members in the original 4x100m relay team.

A few highlights from our season:

This year 8 out of 9 javelin throwers were new to the sport. Coach Campbell took them under his wing, making our javelin squad very competitive with our top thrower changing every day. The furthest throw goes to Tyler Gordon ’21 with a throw of 132-09, and Xander Sanborn ’21 was not far behind at 131-01.

At New Englands, PG Ciaran Sandy placed second in the high jump with a height of 6-02 after jumping 5-10 all season. Jun Kwon ’19 set a new personal record in pole vaulting at an impressive height of 12-00. Dylan Kasperzyk ’21 pole vaulted 11-00 after vaulting 9-00 all season and Tyler Phommachanh ’21 dropping 4 seconds in the 110m hurdles.

With great leadership by Coach Nichols, Isaiah Jackson ’20 and Jordan Bernard ’20 ended the season triple jumping 10 feet further. Jemar Mack '21 bravely tried a new event, the discus throw, and ended the season throwing it an extra 25 feet.

The biggest highlights from JV Founders were Chenhao Shen ’22 clearing his first height in the high jump, Zain Burki ’21 clearing his first height in the pole vault at an impressive eight feet, and Brian Nguyen ’22 leading his first 800m race.

Lastly, the biggest surprise came from our 4x100m relay team. With new athletes rotating in, our handoffs disqualified us every race until New Englands. Coach Nichols figured out the perfect order, switching Josh Tracey ’21 to lead and moving Miles Wotorson ’19 to the third leg. Michael Anderson ’21 surprised us with his pure speed, and Kevin Zhang ’19 was able to come back after being injured for most of the season to anchor the relay and defend their championship title with a gap lead, winning New Englands.

Track’s Most Improved Award went to someone who hit their personal record in almost every race: Caesar Dai ’19. For four years, Coach McCubbin trained Dai, making a bet that he couldn’t break her 800m time of 2:09.54. Finally, at his last race in New Englands, he ran 2:09.15. From the beginning of the season, he dropped 12 seconds in the 800m and 1500m races, and 37 seconds in the 3000.

“Caesar is one of the hardest working athlete I have coached,” commented McCubbin. “We will greatly miss our team captain.”

Top 6 All-Founders:

  • 100m race - Miles Wotorson '19
  • 200m race - Josh Tracey '21
  • 400m race - Paul Chavey '20
  • 4x400m race - Paul Chavey '20, Jordan Bernard '20, Collin Anderson '20, Jared Hunter '19
  • Discus throw - Jaedon Roberts '20
  • Shot put - Jaedon Roberts '20
  • Triple jump - Isaiah Jackson '20
  • Javevlin throw - Nick Cyprian '20
  • Pole Vault - Jun Kwon '19

Top 6 All-New Englands:

  • Defending Champion: 4x100m - Josh Tracey '21, Michael Anderson '21, Miles Wotorson '19, Kevin Zhang '19
  • High Jump - Ciaran Sandy '19
  • Shot - Jaedon Roberts '20
  • Long Jump - Xavier Copening '21
  • 200 - Miles Wotorson '19
  • Pole Vault - Jun Kwon '19

 

The 2019 Varsity Lacrosse season kicked off its season in Florida with a spring training trip. The boys were tested mentally and physically by the warm Florida weather and Coach Stern’s fun workouts. It is also where we began to come together as a team. Coaches stressed a culture of teamwork and putting the team above anything else. The Winged Beavers scrimmaged two teams while in Florida before returning to school well-prepared to start the season.

The first game of note was also our first loss of the season: Belmont Hill School came hungry to beat Avon, and we lost 9-8. The team learned a valuable lesson that day: we must come to play for every game. The message from Belmont was received and they boys went on a tear after that.

We won the next eight games. Some big games included Founders League foes including a 16-15 win over Choate Rosemary Hall, 17-6 win over The Westminster School, and a 10-9 OT win against Trinity-Pawling School. After starting the season 10 and 1, we began to play against some of the top teams in the country and lost to Deerfield Academy and Salisbury School. The team finished off the season by beating Loomis to win the Founders League Championship.

The team was overall young and had a lot of grit. This showed in one of Coach Lee’s favorite games of the season against Brunswick: Avon was losing 8-1 at the half, but scratched and clawed their way back into it to but ultimately come up short losing 9-8.

“I could not have been more proud of the boys in that game,” said Coach Lee. “This team is young, they are talented, but the best part about them is they are resilient. It is going to be an exciting next few years.”

 

The 2019 Varsity Golf Team was comprised of the following players: first our graduating senior - Spencer Crowe. Our underclassmen included: Captain Burton Fricke ’20, Connor Benton ’20, Ben Boyd ’21, Tommy Dallahan ’20, Luke MacKay ’20 and Tommy Rogalski ’20.

The Varsity Golf Team completed our regular season of “head to head” matches with an undefeated 16-0 record. Many of these matches were extremely close, with AOF winning by only one or two strokes. We were able to win because of consistent play throughout the team ladder. The team’s strength was the depth of players, who were focused on improving their game every day in practice.

In tournament play, Avon got off to a solid start, finishing first in the Suffield Invitational. A few weeks later, we continued our success by winning Avon’s hosted tournament the Coppola Cup. The team continued their consistent play which helped them secure a second place finish at both the 16 school WNEPSA Invitational and winning the nine-school Founder’s League Championship. Avon finished their season on a positive note, winning the Kingswood Invitational Tournament (golf's New England) besting 22 schools in one outing.

2019 Varsity Golf Awards:

The 2019 Coach's Award went to a junior that found himself a frequent addition within the top six on the varsity squad: Connor Benton ’20. Benton truly loves the game of golf and he is always out on the course working diligently to improve his game. It is this formula that kept him focused right up to the end of the season, where he impressively finished in our final match, vs. The Gunnery School, as the medalist of the day.

The Frank Nocerino Leadership Award

Every successful team has a strong group of leaders on it and this year’s golf team was no different. The Nocerino Award is for that player that quietly, sets the tone in matches and is a leader by example. This year's recipient Spencer Crowe ’19 demonstrated a strong degree of maturity and sportsmanship both on and off the golf course. His level-headed playing style always gave him the upper-hand in head-to-head matches and allowed him to play an instrumental role in the successes of the AOF golf team this season.

2019 Arthur Sica Most Valuable Player Award

Two golfers were the backbone of the 2019 varsity golf team: One led the team to success during the month of April. He was the match medalist six times, and he placed fourth in the Western New England Championship. The other player came on strong over the last few weeks. He too was match medalist six times and won individual medalist honors at our Founders’ League Championship. Finally, this second player, posted an even-par round of 70 to clinch our victory at the KIT’s.

“So, how was I to pick between these two?,” said Coach Peter Deckers. “Well, my tiebreaker is always their 9-hole season stroke average… and yes, as you might have guessed, at the end of an entire season they both fired 679 shots this season and tied with a 9-hole 37.72 stroke average. So, for the first time (in at least the last 20 years) the Varsity Golf MVP Award was given to two players.”

Both Ben Boyd ’21 and Tommy Dallahan ’20 earned the 2019 Arthur Sica Most Valuable Player Award.

SEASON “Head to Head” RECORD: (16-0)

TOTAL RECORD (Tournaments Included) : 50-2

TOURNAMENT RESULTS:

  • Suffield Invitational - 1st
  • Coppola Cup - 1st
  • WNEPSA Invitational - 2nd
  • Founders League Championship - 2nd
  • Kingswood Invitational - 1st

 

The 2019 season of Avon’s Varsity Baseball Team entered the year full of promise. The team boasted 14 senior players, welcomed in some very gifted new players to the program, and was excited about some of the guys moving up from junior varsity ranks. When the team assembled in Florida, the talent level was impressive, and so was the team’s personality. The group benefited from excellent senior leadership, got along well with each other, and shared a deep commitment to the game. In short, all of the ingredients were there for this to be a special season.  Despite the presence of all of those essentials for a great year, it took a while for this group to play consistently well.

The team learned some lessons in Florida and after nine games the team was 6-3. As the calendar shifted from April to May though, the team turned it on and played very well in the final stretch of the season. Over this period the team was 8-1, and had decisive wins against Loomis Chaffee, The Hotchkiss School, Kingswood Oxford School, two against Trinity-Pawling, and earned an important victory against a previously undefeated The Taft School team. The season finished too soon, as the team finished with an impressive 14-4 overall record. The coaches are proud of the journey that this team took; the development of the players as people was evident in their team play and consistent improvement throughout the season.

This group was capably led by its three captains: seniors Nolan Morr, Will Gersky, and Ben Dellacono. Morr was a leader on the mound for the team, finished with a 4-0 record, and led the team in innings pitched, wins, and strikeouts. Morr was effective all season both on the field and off, and provided stability and consistency on the mound. Gersky was Player of the Year in the league the previous season, and delivered another outstanding performance as a senior. He hit .500 and tied the school record for home runs in a single season—he hit 11 in just 18 games, which is an amazing statistic. He led the team in hits, doubles, RBI, and batting average. He received some attention from professional scouts and is poised to have a promising baseball career after Avon Old Farms. Dellacono also enjoyed a good year, hitting .375 and playing both infield and some outfield. He was second on the team in doubles, and delivered several clutch hits including the game-winner against Taft. All three enjoyed incredible careers at Avon and are positioned to make an impact at the college level – Morr at Lafayette, Gersky at Georgetown, and Dellacono at Holy Cross.

Supporting the production of the captains were a collection of players that also enjoyed outstanding seasons. Aeden Finateri ’21 was the most talented pitcher in our league and was tasked with pitching in many of our most challenging games. He gave the team a chance to win them all and was elected captain for next year. Jake DeLeo ’21 also enjoyed a special year – particularly in the second half – as he led the team in at-bats, stolen bases, runs scored, and was among the offensive leaders in most other categories. He committed to baseball powerhouse Georgia Tech during the pre-season, which is another indication of his special talent. He was voted as captain for the 2020 season, which was a fitting acknowledgment of his leadership abilities. Mark Smith ’19 produced as well, hitting .380 with several critical home runs during the season, as did Ben Levin ’19, who hit two grand slams in critical moments, while collecting a .300 batting average. Lucas LaTrenta ’19 hit .333, hit four home runs, was second on the team in RBIs, and led the team in walks. His ability to get on base and deliver key hits was important to the team. Jelani Hamer ’19 and Kai Grocki ’20 (.375 batting average) contributed much to the team’s defense and offensive attack. Brad Ellis ’19 enjoyed a productive second half of the season as well, playing both third and second base. On the mound, Emmett Tolis ’20 earned three wins for the team as a relief pitcher, and Jack Wells '21 led the team in ERA while leading the team in saves. Brendan Dyer ’19 collected two wins on the season and delivered competitive performances each time out.

This was a very good Avon Old Farms baseball team. They improved more than any other team in recent history and learned valuable lessons throughout the season. It was tough when it was over, as we were just hitting our stride as a team. The coaches are certain that those lessons will be meaningful as the players plan for next year and their future baseball careers. It was a pleasure coaching this group, and the seniors will be enormously missed. Their fine play and winning personalities have left a meaningful impression on the tradition of excellence associated with Avon Old Farms varsity baseball.

Awards:

  • Most Valuable Player – Will Gersky '19
  • Juan Nieves Pitching Award – Nolan Morr '19
  • Most Outstanding Player – Jake DeLeo '21
  • Peter Evans Coach’s Awards – Jelani Hamer '19 and Alex Apostolos '19
  • Most Improved Players – Lucas LaTrenta '19 and Ben Levin '19
  • Juan Comella Award for “Inspired Play and Dedication to Baseball” – Aeden Finateri '21