Thursday, September 23, 2021

Sports Person of the Week

Lewis Finishes High School Career as an All-American

1

Recent H-K graduate Kedarjah Lewis enjoyed excellent careers with the Cougars’ girls’ soccer and track programs. This spring, Kedarjah finished first in the long jump at the State Open and then became an All-American with a fifth-place performance at Outdoor Nationals. Photo courtesy of Kedarjah Lewis

Recent H-K graduate Kedarjah Lewis enjoyed excellent careers with the Cougars’ girls’ soccer and track programs. This spring, Kedarjah finished first in the long jump at the State Open and then became an All-American with a fifth-place performance at Outdoor Nationals. (Photo courtesy of Kedarjah Lewis)

Kedarjah Lewis finished her track career at Haddam- Killingworth by earning All-American honors as a senior this spring, and she was also a major player for the girls’ soccer squad during the fall. Now, Kedarjah is getting ready to take her talents to Iona College in New Rochelle, New York, where she will compete in both soccer and track at the Division I level.

Kedarjah had been encouraged to join the H-K track program since she was in 8th grade and, as a junior, she took the advice of her longtime soccer coach Jason Lonergan and signed up. Kedarjah, who started with rec soccer in Killingworth as a 4th-grader and then played for a Premier team, was unable compete in her freshman and sophomore years of high school due to an injury.

When she stepped on the soccer field for her junior season in 2019, Kedarjah helped the Cougars claim the Shoreline Conference title.

“Coming off that great season, I decided to finally try track to stay in shape for soccer. Jason and other people had been trying to get me to try it since freshman year,” says Kedarjah. “It turned out great. I loved the people and the atmosphere. I didn’t go into it looking for success, but to train and have a good time.”

While Kedarjah wasn’t looking for success in track, she soon found it. As the beginning of her first season, the team hosted a practice where athletes could try different events to see where they would be a good fit. With years of soccer experience, Kedarjah was drawn to the sprints, but she also tried the long jump.

In her first year with the girls’ indoor track team, Kedarjah was a Shoreline Conference champion in the 300-meter dash. She also performed well in the 300, the 55-meter dash, and the long jump at the state level and went on to participate in the latter two events at the New England Championship meet.

Just as the winter season ended, the COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of Kedarjah’s first season of outdoor track. Things opened up enough for her to return to the soccer pitch in the fall. Despite an abbreviated campaign that featured plenty of adjustments, Kedarjah helped H-K defend its Shoreline Conference crown.

“Winning Shorelines was one of the best feelings ever,” Kedarjah says. “Being able to win the entire Shoreline as a junior, we were ecstatic and, as seniors, we said, ‘Let’s go defend this.’ I can’t wait to watch them next year.”

There was no opportunity for Kedarjah to run indoor track in her senior year, but she was able to compete for the outdoor team for the first time in the spring. After helping H-K go undefeated in the regular season, Kedarjah won the 100 with a school-record time of 12.43 at the Shoreline Conference Championship and also placed first in the 200 (26.15), the long jump (18-0.5), and the triple jump (35-7) to help the Cougars take the title.

Kedarjah went on to finish first in the long jump (18-2.25) at the Class M State Championship, where she was also the runner-up in the 100 (12.82) and the triple jump (35-5.25). After that, Kedarjah turned in an outstanding showing at the State Open by winning the long jump with a distance of 19-1.

Kedarjah ultimately qualified to compete at the Outdoor Nationals in Oregon. At the national meet, Kedarjah posted a fifth-place finish in the long jump with a school-record leap of 19-2.75 to garner All-American accolades. Kedarjah thanks H-K Assistant Coach Evan Woicik for his guidance throughout the season.

“I had never thought I’d be All-American for track. I’d hoped maybe I could be for soccer, but it happened that I became All-American for track,” says Kedarjah. “[Woicik] came into track the same year I started and, since then, we’ve worked together. He is very knowledgeable about track. The progress I made over just two seasons is ridiculous, and he played a massive part in that.”

H-K Head Coach Matt Diglio also credits Coach Woicik for his efforts in Kedarjah’s training. Diglio saw Kedarjah make a lot of progress in a short amount of time as a member of the Cougars.

“Kedarjah is a very coachable athlete who is extremely talented and willing to work to constantly improve herself as a jumper and sprinter. One of her greatest attributes as an athlete is her ability to rise to the level of competition and perform her best in the biggest meets,” Diglio says. “Kedarjah has been a pleasure to coach and work with over the years with a great personality and sense of humor. I know she will go on to do great things in the classroom, on the soccer field, and on the track at Iona.”

Kedarjah is eager for her opportunity to continue doing both of her sports in college. She is planning to major in biology at Iona with a goal of becoming a physician’s assistant.

“When I was younger, I never thought about college. I played because I enjoyed it. But when I realized it was possible, I thought, ‘Why not let somebody help me pay for college?’” says Kedarjah. “I went for one sport, and I knew it would be crazy to ask if I could run track there, too. But I reached out to the coach, and they said my numbers looked good and they’d love to have me. I don’t even know how this happened.”

Kedarjah feels grateful for the support of her best friend Jill Henry, who played a big role in helping Kedarjah get started in soccer after seeing her run fast during recess in the 3rd grade. Kedarjah also appreciates the support of Coach Lonergan; her Premier coach with the CT Rush, Brendan Flaherty; and her mother Nicole Buckie, who Kedarjah says, “works so hard to get me anything I need to play.”

While she is looking forward to the athletic experience at the collegiate level, Kedarjah is going to miss competing for her hometown high school.

“At H-K, it’s about the feeling of having great teammates and a very family-feel environment,” Kedarjah says. “I loved every part of soccer, and the girls were fun to be around. I also loved everyone on track, because they’re so supportive, and I thought, ‘Why haven’t I been doing this my whole life?’”


Jenn McCulloch is the Correspondent for Zip06. Email Jenn at .

Reader Comments