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By Tim Nolan
The fall sports season was historic for some Granby athletes. Boys soccer won the NCCC regular season title outright for the first time since 2001. This included beating soccer power Suffield High School for the first time in multiple years. Baylor University commit Marieke Van Der Mark was named a third team All-American for her fall success leading the volleyball team to an NCCC title of its own. Under the guidance of Coach Dennis Lobo, who celebrated his 50th year as a cross-country coach, boys and girls’ cross-country had solid seasons as well. The track around the football field will fittingly be renamed in his honor. The field hockey program dominated again, falling just a game short of another Class M state final. Senior captains Jack Hauser and Gage Fiorentino finished their fourth varsity football season with all-conference honors, a bright spot of an otherwise dismal season.

All these are long gone, however, as the winter sports are in full swing. Girl’s basketball is 9-10 on the year, but this is a major improvement from a 4-16 record the prior year. When asked what has led to the improvement, junior guard Mackenzie Stahl replied, “All players (those who start, come in as subs, or don’t play significant minutes) impact our team positively.” Stahl also mentions that her teammates on the bench are even louder than the crowd at times. Despite a losing record, the Lady Bears have begun to play more efficiently and resiliently as a team, which will be very important in the state tournament.
Boy’s basketball is 8-9 to start the year. Although senior captain Tyler Disabella would’ve liked a much better record, he believes that this is essential to the experience of younger players, like his sophomore brother Logan. “Every single player has made an impact on this team for the better, and in a year or two I think they’ll have a very solid team,” he explained. Every single player had to step up. The Bears lost seven seniors, its best player transferred, and senior Romelle Hardy had to sit out the first half of the season for disciplinary reasons. Junior Jonathon Bystrowski and sophomore James Shelansky have taken their increased roles in stride. Bystrowski now starts for the Bears, and Shelansky has worked his way to sixth man.
The Suffield/Granby/Windsor Locks boys’ hockey co-op is 12-4. Granby’s own, goalie Dan Degagne, credits the Wildcats’ success to team chemistry and strong upperclassmen leadership. Unlike most high school teams, the ‘Cats rely on all four of its lines to win games, not just the first or top two. For example, fourth-liners Cole Battiston and Derek Megliola have goals against Simsbury and Xavier respectively, two of the top teams in Division 1. Degagne believes this strong confidence in the entire team will lead to good things during the Division 1 tournament. “As long as we continue to play with grit and effort every single game, no matter the skill of the opposing team, we will be very successful,” Degagne stated.
This is also the first season that the co-op offers a girl’s team. Although it cannot be recognized as a full varsity program yet, the club team is 11-2. Two of those wins have come against Simsbury, which had been the top team in the state before the first meeting. Junior Meaghan Leonardi is unsure that the co-op will maintain the numbers long enough to be recognized as a varsity program, but she is relishing the present. “The Wildcats’ girls program gives any girl in Connecticut the opportunity to play just like the boys,” she concluded.
Boys and Girls’ indoor track season is almost over. The boys placed 5th as a team at the NCCC meet in New Haven, while the girls team placed 7th out of 12 teams. Fifteen runners qualified for states, including three freshmen (Austin Wickham, Maria Nolan, and Sarah Cramer). Junior Joey Wix, who also qualified for States, attributes their success to an increase in depth. For example, this year’s team features two male hurdlers, whereas last year’s team didn’t have one.
Wrestling captured back-to-back NCCC titles for the first time ever. Ben Kibby, Cooper Fleming, and Steven Muller took first in their respective weight classes. Fleming, a junior, is no stranger to the top of the podium. He is 107-9 in high school wrestling matches. When asked what has made him and his team so dominant in recent years, he responded, “About half of our team participates in offseason wrestling all over the northeast US, so we’re all used to high-level competition.”
Finally, although the cheer squad does not keep an official record, they have done well in their competitions. Captains Tori Rafoss and Emily Munsell have guided the girls to overcome injuries and plenty of underestimation. Junior Kat Ericksen credits their resilience to hard work and determination at every practice, allowing them to tune everything else out and compete as a cohesive unit.
Reminder: April 28, 2017
Come to GMHS on April 28 for soup, bread, and live music at Empty Bowls, an annual fundraiser hosted by the GMHS chapter of the National Honor Society. Proceeds from the event go to the Granby and Hartland food banks. In addition, a silent auction will be held to raise money for Visual Arts and NHS scholarships. Contact patonj@granbyschools.org or heathl@granbyschools.org for further details.