2020 Madison Sports Year in Review
The Hand cheerleading team claimed its first state title in program history with a first-place performance at the Class L State Championship this winter. (Photo courtesy of Licia Ciotti )
The Hand boys’ fencing team took the state crown for the first time by finishing in first place at the Team State Championship. (File photo by Meglin Bodner/The Source | Buy This Photo)
The Hand boys’ indoor track team finished first at the SCC West Sectional Championship and the SCC Championship during the winter season. (File photo by Kelley Fryer/The Source | Buy This Photo)
The Tigers’ boys’ soccer squad went undefeated on its way to winning the SCC Division B title this fall. (File photo by Kelley Fryer/The Source | Buy This Photo)
There were championships to go around in Madison as the teams at Daniel Hand High School enjoyed a plethora of success in this year. The winter season featured state titles from the cheerleading and boys’ fencing teams, while the boys’ soccer squad carried on its legacy during the fall. The boys’ indoor track team also had a fantastic winter campaign. Let’s take a look back at the highlights of the year in Madison sports.
While several Hand teams completed their seasons before the COVID-19 pandemic ended the winter campaign, the girls’ basketball and boys’ ice hockey squads never got a chance to advance deeper into their respective State tournaments, and the cheerleading team was unable to compete at New Englands. Still, all three teams enjoyed prosperous seasons, as did some other Tigers’ clubs this winter.
The Hand cheerleading squad claimed its first state crown in team history by finishing in first place at the Class L State Championship. The Tigers scored 177.70 points to edge out runner-up North Haven (176.40) for the state title. Hand was slated to compete at the New England Championship, but the meet was canceled.
Prior to the state meet, Hand finished in sixth place at the SCC Championship. Senior captain Izzy Carusone, senior captain Gina Ciotti, and junior Emily VanKirk earned All-SCC honors for Head Coach Licia Ciotti’s squad.
The Hand boys’ fencing team won its first state title in program history with an overall first-place finish the Team State Championship. Head Coach Michael Ginsburg’s club took the state title by one point over defending champion Guilford.
The Tigers’ foil team of Michael Hilmer, Finnegan Byrne, Matthew Esposito, and junior Luke Newton finished first in its tournament by earning wins versus Fitch, Fairfield Ludlowe, and Amity. The saber team finished in fifth place, while the épée team came in sixth place to help Hand prevail. Junior Daniel Ginsburg went 9-0 for the saber team on the day. Hilmer also finished fifth in the foil tournament at the Individual State Championships.
The Hand girls’ fencing squad turned in its best all-time performance at the Team State Championship by finishing in second place.
The épée team of senior Ally Lesnik, juniors Sophie Glassman and Rebecca Cancelliere, and sophomore Natasha McCarthy finished in third place at states. The saber team of seniors Natalie McCarthy and Maggie Lesnik, junior Hope Blundon, and sophomore Brigid O’Keefe also put forth a third-place performance.
Prior to team states, junior Cameryn Brown took first place in the foil division at the Individual State Championships, becoming the first fencer in team history to claim state gold. Glassman finished fourth in the épée division.
The Hand boys’ indoor track team had a historic season that saw the Tigers take first place at the SCC West Sectional Championship and the SCC Championship for the first time. Hand went on to finish third at the Class L State Championship.
The Tigers’ 4x400 relay of senior Besufekad Opstrup, senior captain Corey Duncanson, junior Connor Parthasarthy, and junior Carson Hines finished first at the West Sectional meet. Later in the postseason, Hand’s 4x400 quartet of Parks, Opstrup, Parthasarthy, and Hines came in second place at the New England Championship with a school-record time of 3:25.65 to qualify for the New Balance Nationals, which were later canceled.
Junior Bryce Myers won the pole vault at sectionals and SCCs and then took second in Class L. Also at sectionals, Parthasarthy won the 1,000, junior Dante Zucconi took first in the 1,600, and Hand’s 1,600 sprint medley relay of junior Daven Pelaez, junior Braeden Kosiewicz, Hines, and Parthasarthy finished first. Zucconi went on to win the 1,600 at the Class L State Championship, where the Tigers’ 4x200 relay of junior Josh Stewart, senior captain Ameen Parks, Kosiewicz, and Hines took first place.
The Hand girls’ indoor track squad finished third at the SCC East Sectional Championship, fourth in the SCC Championship, and ninth at the Class L State Championship.
Junior Anna Steffen claimed first place in both the 1,600 and the 3,200 at West Sectionals and then went on to take first place in the 3,200 at SCCs. Steffen also finished second in the 3,200 at the Class L State Championship. Senior Chloe Thompson finished first for the Tigers in the 1,000 at the sectional meet.
The Hand girls’ basketball team posted an overall record of 20-4 while advancing to the semifinals of the SCC Tournament and the quarterfinals of the Class L State Tournament.
Hand finished with a regular-season record of 17-3 that included a mark of 8-0 in the SCC Quinnipiac Division to take the title. In the SCC Tournament, Hand claimed a 58-42 victory against North Haven in the quarterfinals before taking a 49-35 defeat to East Haven in the semis.
In the Class L State Tournament, Hand defeated South Windsor (57-34) and Wilton (47-29) in the first two rounds of the bracket and was scheduled to face East Lyme in the quarterfinals, but the rest of the tournament was canceled.
Senior captain Sara Wohlgemuth made the All-SCC First Team and also received the SCC’s Player of the Year Award. Wohlgemuth finished third all-time in scoring for the Tigers with 1,517 career points. Summer Adams was the other senior on the squad. Sophomore Brooke Salutari also garnered All-SCC First Team accolades for Head Coach Tim Tredwell’s team.
The Tigers’ boys’ basketball squad finished with a mark of 6-14. Ken Nuzzi and Jesse Lutz were the senior captains for the Tigers.
The Hand boys’ ice hockey squad finished with a record of 18-3-1 on its way to making the SCC/SWC Division II Tournament and the Division II State Tournament.
After losing to North Haven on a shootout in the SCC/SWC semifinals, Hand posted a 7-0 shutout over Guilford in the first round of the Division II State Tournament, which was then canceled.
Junior captain Tatum Fitzmaurice and fellow junior Joey DeAngelis were the Tigers’ top scorers. Fitzmaurice garnered All-Conference and All-State First Team honors on behalf of Head Coach Brian Gonsalves’s squad.
The Hand-Coginchaug-Valley Regional-Old Lyme girls’ ice hockey squad finished with a record of 5-16. The team competed in the SCC Tournament and took a loss to West Haven-Sacred Heart Academy in the first round.
The Hand gymnastics team finished with a record of 10-5 in a season that saw the squad take third place at the SCC Championship and sixth in the Class S State Championship. Senior Carly-Anna Barba, junior Kayla Cataldo, and freshman Morgan McMahon earned All-SCC honors for Head Coach Kelly Smith’s club.
The Hand boys’ swimming and diving team finished in sixth place at the SCC Championship. Senior Daniel Chen took third place in the 100 backstroke and finished sixth for the 200 individual medley. Fellow senior Will Porter finished sixth in the 100 freestyle. The Tigers were slated to compete at the Class M State Championship, but the meet was canceled.
The Hand wrestling team finished 6th at the SCC Championship and 14th at the Class L State Championship.
Junior Rocky Mayer took third place in the 170-pound division at SCCs and then finished in fourth place at states. Junior Brian Beirne came in fifth place in the 132-pound division at the Class L meet.
All spring sports across Connecticut were canceled this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Hand’s baseball, softball, lacrosse, tennis, outdoor track, and golf teams were unable to compete as a result.
Madison athletes had a chance to play lacrosse in the Dream League and baseball in the Connecticut Elite Baseball Association (CEBA) this summer. Meanwhile, there were few other things happening in town.
The Madison U-19 baseball team finished with a record of 15-5 in the CEBA and advanced to the semifinals of the league’s tournament. Madison posted a regular-season record of 14-4 to finish second in the CEBA’s Division II standings. Head Coach Jeff Buck’s team went on to earn a 3-0 win over Branford in the Division II Tournament quarterfinals before taking a 6-0, extra-inning loss to Wallingford in the semis.
The Madison U-17 baseball team competed in the CEBA. Madison finished with an overall record of 7-10 on the season.
Matt Doyle took first place at the 79th annual Connecticut Junior Amateur Championship at Watertown Golf Club. Doyle, now a senior at Daniel Hand High School and a member of the Hand boys’ golf team, defeated Kevin St. Pierre of Shelton in the title match.
Doyle also earned first place at the U.S. Challenge Cup Event in Bloomfield and claimed the top spot at Connecticut Junior PGA Championship in Windsor.
The Madison Mavericks girls’ lacrosse team competed in the Dream League this year. Tessie Sheehan and Regan Larson served as the captains for Head Coach Lindsey Carroll’s squad.
The Madison 8-10 All-Star softball team played in the District 9 Tournament. Madison posted victories over East Hampton and Guilford to advance to the championship series, where the team took two defeats against Madison.
After all of the delays and with various restrictions in place, the Tigers hit the field to compete during the fall of 2020. Hand saw plenty of success throughout the season, including an undefeated campaign from its boys’ soccer team.
The Hand boys’ soccer squad didn’t get a chance to win its fifth-straight state crown this fall, but the Tigers still had an excellent season that saw the team go undefeated and win the SCC Division B title.
Hand posted a record of 10-0 for the regular season. The Tigers then squared off against Guilford in the championship game of the SCC Division B Tournament and prevailed 3-1 to finish with an overall mark of 11-0.
Scott Testori and Chris Porte served as the senior captains for Head Coach Greg Cumpstone’s club. Testori earned All-SCC Division B, All-State, and All-New England, and All-American accolades and was named the All-SCC Division B Player of the Year after finishing his Tigers’ career with a school-record 86 goals. Testori was additionally selected as the National Player of the Year by the United Soccer Coaches Association, becoming the first player from Connecticut to win that award.
Porte, senior Jack Wildermann, and senior Jason Wallack were all selected to the All-SCC Division B Team and the All-State Team. Coach Cumpstone was named the SCC Division B Coach of the Year.
The Hand girls’ soccer team posted a record of 5-4-2 in its first season with Head Coach Rob McConville. The Tigers took a 1-0 loss to Branford in the semifinals of the SCC Division B Tournament.
Anna Cohen and Julia Kuhn served as Hand’s senior captains. Junior goalie Brooke Salutari, junior forward Maddie Hummel, and junior midfielder Ella Skonieczny made the All-SCC Division B Team.
The Hand field hockey team finished with a record of 8-4. The Tigers competed in the SCC Division A Tournament and took a 4-1 loss against Guilford.
Senior Grace Hartmann, senior Shea Docker, junior Reilly Dolan, and junior Megan Hart earned All-SCC Division A honors for Head Coach Sue Leckey’s team.
The Tigers’ girls’ volleyball squad went 5-8 on the season and competed in the SCC Division C Tournament. Hand took a 3-1 loss against East Haven in the semifinals of the tournament.
Seniors Madeline Schneider and Rose Wallace garnered All-SCC Division C accolades for the Tigers.
The Hand girls’ cross country team claimed second place in the SCC Division A Championship and came in sixth place in the SCC standings. This year, the SCC held four divisional meets and then merged the performances from those meets to also form the rankings for the SCC.
Senior Anna Steffen claimed first place in both Division A and the SCC by running a time of 18:46. Senior Morgan Combs finished 7th in the division and 15th for the conference. Steffen and Combs both made the All-SCC Division A Team. Steffen also made the All-SCC First Team, while Combs earned a spot on the All-SCC Second Team. Steffen was also named the All-SCC Division A Player of the Year.
The Tigers’ boys’ cross country squad took second place at the SCC Division A Championship and finished third in the SCC overall.
Sophomore Harrison Grenier came in 3rd place for the divisional meet and placed 12th overall in the conference standings, securing a spot on the All-SCC Division A Team and the All-SCC First Team. Senior Connor Parthasarthy, junior Danny Hilmer, and senior Dante Zucconi all earned All-SCC Division A and All-SCC Second Team honors. Parthasarthy finished 6th in the division and 16th for the conference, Hilmer took 7th in the division and 21st place in the conference, and Zucconi finished 8th in the division and 23rd for the conference.
The Hand girls’ swimming and diving team competed in virtual meets during the 2020 season. The Tigers finished the year by participating at the SCC Virtual Championship, finishing in eighth place for the Division I standings and ninth place overall.
Senior Ava Keane took third place in both Division I and the SCC, earning All-SCC and All-SCC Division I honors. Keane also finished fifth in the division for the 200 freestyle to make the All-SCC Division I Team in that event.
Source Sports Editor Chris Piccirillo contributed to this story