Thursday, June 24, 2021

Sports

2020 Guilford Sports Year in Review

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The Guilford girls’ fencing squad took the title at Team State Championship for the sixth year in a row this winter. Guilford was bolstered by first-place finishes from its épée and saber teams at the meet. File photo by Meglin Bodner/The Courier

The Guilford girls’ fencing squad took the title at Team State Championship for the sixth year in a row this winter. Guilford was bolstered by first-place finishes from its épée and saber teams at the meet. (File photo by Meglin Bodner/The Courier)

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The Guilford girls’ ice hockey team claimed its first conference title by earning a 4-2 win versus the Amity-North Haven-Cheshire co-op in the SCC Tournament final.

Photo by Dean Bibens/The Courier

The Guilford girls’ ice hockey team claimed its first conference title by earning a 4-2 win versus the Amity-North Haven-Cheshire co-op in the SCC Tournament final. (Photo by Dean Bibens/The Courier)

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The Guilford girls’ volleyball squad refused to lose this fall, posting an overall record of 14-0 to go with the SCC Division C title. Photo courtesy of Al Carbone

The Guilford girls’ volleyball squad refused to lose this fall, posting an overall record of 14-0 to go with the SCC Division C title. (Photo courtesy of Al Carbone)

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The Guilford field hockey team netted a 5-1 victory versus Cheshire in the championship game of the SCC Division A Tournament on its way to a record of 13-1-0-1. File photo by Kelley Fryer/The Courier

The Guilford field hockey team netted a 5-1 victory versus Cheshire in the championship game of the SCC Division A Tournament on its way to a record of 13-1-0-1. (File photo by Kelley Fryer/The Courier)

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The Guilford girls’ soccer squad won a division title in the team’s first season with Head Coach Regina Sullivan. File photo by Kelley Fryer/The Courier

The Guilford girls’ soccer squad won a division title in the team’s first season with Head Coach Regina Sullivan. (File photo by Kelley Fryer/The Courier)

There were plenty of titles to be won for Guilford in 2020. The winter season featured a state title by girls’ fencing and a conference crown from girls’ ice hockey, while several teams claimed some hardware in the fall. Let’s take a look back at the highlights of the year in Guilford sports.

Winter

While most Guilford teams completed the winter season, the boys’ basketball squad never got its chance to play in states. Prior to that, though, Guilford saw its fair share of success during the winter campaign.

The Guilford girls’ fencing team claimed its sixth-straight state title by finishing in first place overall at the Team State Championship.

Guilford’s épée team posted victories over Fitch, Morgan, and Waterford on its way to winning its tournament. Guilford’s team featured seniors Julia Gangemi, Grace Banning, Valerie Qiang, and junior Nwall Toma.

The saber squad of seniors Shayla Flynn, Anna Angkatavanich, Adella Cho, and junior Camille Gibson also finished in first place. The team notched a victory over Hand in its first matchup and then defeated Greenwich in the final.

The girls’ foil team of seniors Lindsey Smith and Sydney Provencher, junior Sophia Ruser, and freshman Taylor Smith finished in third place for Head Coach Kyle Mezzi’s squad.

At the Individual State Championships, Gangemi took second place and Banning earned third in the épée tournament. Flynn took third place and Angkatavanich finished fourth in the saber division, while Lindsey Smith finished fourth for foil.

The Guilford boys’ fencing squad finished in second place at the Team State Championship.

The boys’ saber team turned in the best showing of the day by taking second place. The team of senior Wilson Guo, junior Scott Calder, and sophomores Owen Angkatavanich and Jerry Li defeated Morgan and North Haven in the first two rounds, then lost to Darien in the championship. Angkatavanich also finished fifth in the saber division at the Individual State Championships.

The Guilford girls’ ice hockey squad put together a phenomenal season by finishing with a record of 17-6 on its way to the first SCC title in team history.

Guilford earned an 8-3 victory over West Haven in the SCC semifinals and then notched a 4-2 win against Amity-North Haven- Cheshire in the championship game. In the State Tournament, Head Coach Rich Binkowski’s team claimed a 5-3 win versus Amity-North Haven-Cheshire in a first-round contest and then lost to Simsbury in the quarterfinals.

Sophomore Maddie Epke earned All-SCC First Team honors and was also named the SCC Player of the Year. Sophomore goalkeeper Julia McDonald was named the Most Outstanding Player of the SCC Tournament, and sophomore defender Olivia Gill made the All-SCC Second Team.

The Guilford boys’ ice hockey team finished with a mark of 7-13-1 and lost to Hand in the first round of the Division II State Tournament.

Guilford was led by senior captain Jack Dacey, along with senior alternate captains Tyler Considine and EJ Vickerman. Dacey, who earned All-SCC First Team honors, finished his high school career with 172 points, which is the second-most in team history.

Athletes from North Haven, Guilford, North Haven, and East Haven joined forces to from the Greater New Haven (GNH) Warriors boys’ swimming and diving squad. The Warriors had an excellent campaign that saw Head Coach Martha Phelan’s squad post a record of 8-2, win the SCC Division 2 title, and finish fifth at the SCC Championship. GNH would have competed at the Class LL State Championship, but the meet was canceled.

Senior Aidan Henry, senior Evan Laughlin, and junior Dan Kamen were the Guilford students who served as captains for GNH. Aidan Henry was named the SCC Division II Swimmer of the Year after taking first place in the 500 freestyle for the second-straight season at the SCC Championship with a time of 4:39.35. Henry also swam on a victorious 400 freestyle relay and a second-place 200 freestyle relay at the SCC meet, in addition to taking second place in the 50 freestyle.

The Guilford girls’ basketball team overcame a 2-8 start to finish with an overall record of 9-14, while qualifying for both the SCC Tournament and Class L State Tournament in its first year with Head Coach Bernie Brennan.

Guilford dropped a 39-29 decision against East Haven in the first round of SCCs. Guilford then notched a 44-21 victory over Naugatuck before taking a 44-25 loss against Wethersfield in states. Guilford was led by senior captains Elle Petra and Sam Leiby. Petra, a forward, earned All-SCC Second Team honors and an invitation to the CIAC All-Star Game.

The Guilford boys’ basketball squad shook off its 1-5 start to finish at 9-12 overall, making it to both the SCC Tournament and the Division II State Tournament.

Guilford lost to Shelton by a 70-60 score in the first round of SCCs. Guilford was set to take on Kolbe Cathedral in a first-round states game before the tournament was canceled.

John Petonito served as a senior captain for Guilford. Fellow senior Chris Cahill earned All-SCC Second Team honors for Head Coach Jeff DeMaio’s squad.

Freshman Ella Esposito earned All-SCC accolades when she represented Guilford gymnastics at the SCC Championship. Esposito finished in sixth place in the all-around, highlighted by a fifth-place performance on floor, on her way to making the All-SCC Team.

The Guilford wrestling team took fifth place at the SCC Championship and 11th at the Class M State Championship, finishing its season with a 16-4 overall record.

Seniors captain Anthony Bomgardner claimed third place at SCCs in the 126-pound weight class. Senior Mohammad Halabi took fifth place in the 106-pound weight class at the Class M Meet. Sophomore Brent Strand finished fifth in the 160-pound division at states. Sophomore John Fernandes placed sixth in the 113-pound weight class at states.

Guilford freshman Brianna Seixas competed for Guilford at the inaugural Girls’ Wrestling Invitational. Seixas took fourth place in the 145-pound division.

The Guilford girls’ indoor track team saw several standout performances during the winter season.

Sophomore Julia Antony earned All-SCC Second Team honors after finishing second in the 3,200 at the SCC Championship. Senior Clara Wiesler finished sixth in the 3,200 at the Class L State Championship.

The Guilford boys’ indoor track squad had a solid season in which its 4x800 relay competed at the Class L State Championship. Guilford’s quartet of sophomore Justin Shiffrin, senior Cameron Hubbard, senior McKendry Eschinger, and sophomore Thomas Gregory took seventh place.

Spring

All spring sports across Connecticut were canceled this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Guilford’s baseball, softball, lacrosse, tennis, crew, outdoor track, and golf teams were unable to compete as a result.

Summer

Guilford athletes had a chance to play lacrosse in the Dream League this summer. Meanwhile, there were few other things happening in town.

The Guilford Seahawks girls’ lacrosse team enjoyed a successful summer season by recording several victories in the Dream League. Catherine Larrow, an attacker, and defender Maggie Mandel served as the captains for Head Coach Wendy Epke’s squad. Attacker Hannah Tillier and goalie Sydney Widlitz also helped Guilford put together its excellent campaign.

The Guilford 10-12 Little League All-Star baseball squad went on a memorable run to win the District 9 title and advance to the final of its Sectional Tournament.

Guilford claimed the District 9 crown by going 6-0 in pool play and then defeating Madison in the best-of-3 championship series. Guilford took a 5-1 loss to Madison in the first game, but then won the next two games, earning a 1-0 win and then a 3-2 victory that solidified the title.

In the Sectional Tournament, Guilford lost a 6-1 decision to Montville-New London, but then came back to get a 4-1 win over Rocky Hill to advance to the championship, where the team took a loss against Montville-New London.
The Guilford 8-10 All-Star softball team competed in the District 9 Tournament. Guilford earned victories versus East Hampton and Coginchaug in the tourney.

Guilford resident Andrew Beauton made a name for himself at the national level over the summer. Beauton, an 8th-grader at Adams Middle School, qualified to compete at the Notah Begay III Junior National Golf Championship in Louisiana. Beauton secured his spot at the Junior Championship after competing at the Eastern Regional Qualifier at the Seaview Bay Golf Resort in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Beauton shot a five-over par for the two-day tournament, finishing at even par in the final round, and was two strokes better than the closest player to him in the pack.

Fall

After all of the delays and with various restrictions in place, Guilford hit the field to compete during the fall of 2020. To say that Guilford had a prosperous season would qualify as one of the understatements of the year.

The Guilford girls’ volleyball team achieved a perfect season this fall, claiming the SCC Division C championship on its way to an overall record of 14-0. Guilford earned a 3-0 win versus Branford in the semifinals and posted a 3-0 sweep over East Haven in the final to take the title.

Senior captain Emma Appleman was named the SCC Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player and also earned SCC Division C Player of the Year honors. Fellow senior captain Juliet Young was also named to the All-SCC Division C Team. Young and Appleman were both selected to the All-State Team. Senior Olivia Ciocca earned All-SCC Division C accolades on behalf of Head Coach Laura Anastasio’s squad. Anastasio was named the SCC Division C Coach of the Year.

The Guilford field hockey team played its way to another banner season in 2020, winning the SCC Division A title with a 5-1 victory against Cheshire in the tournament final. Guilford, which had defeated Lyman Hall (7-0) and Hand (4-1) in the first two round of the tourney, finished with an overall record of 13-1-0-1.

Guilford’s senior captains Hannah Tillier and Madden Cunningham. Tillier earned All-SCC Division A honors and was named the SCC Division A Player of the Year. Maddie Epke, Allie Petonito, and Eve Young also garnered All-SCC Division A distinction for Head Coach Kitty Palmer’s club.

The Guilford girls’ soccer team had an outstanding 2020 season by winning the SCC Division B Tournament and finishing with an overall record of 8-1-3. Guilford claimed a 1-0 overtime victory versus Branford in the Division B final.

Guilford was led by senior captains Taylor Gambardella, Moira Kellaher, and Lexie Greene. Gambardella, Kellaher, sophomore Kat Baseggio, and sophomore Arianna Tomassi received All-SCC Division B honors for Head Coach Regina Sullivan’s team. Kellaher was also selected as the SCC Division B Player of the Year.

The Guilford boys’ soccer squad finished with a record of 7-3-1 and advanced to SCC Division B Tournament final, where the team took a 3-1 loss to Hand.

Head Coach Curtis Gullette’s squad led by senior captains Aidan Buchanan and Anthony Ippolito. Buchanan, Ippolito, and senior Niall O’Brien each made the All-SCC Division B Team, while Buchanan and Ippolito also earned All-State recognition.

The Guilford girls’ cross country team won the SCC Division A Championship and also finished first in the conference overall. This year, the SCC held four divisional meets for its cross country teams and then merged the performances from those meets to additionally determine the standings for the conference.

Junior captain Julia Antony claimed second place for Guilford in both the division and the conference with a time of 19:54. Sophomore Olivia Kaisin (3rd in the division and 9th in the conference), junior Katrina Muhs (4th and 10th), junior Lorelei King (5th and 11th), sophomore Ursula Adams (6th and 13th), junior captain Olivia Skapczynski (8th and 17th), and sophomore Clara Laughlin (9th and 23rd) were among the other athletes who competed for Guilford. Antony, Kaisin, Muhs, and King earned All-SCC First Team honors, while Adams, Skapczynski, and Laughlin made the All-SCC Second Team. Guilford’s head coach was Jim Ford, who was named the SCC Division A Coach of the Year.

The Guilford boys’ cross country squad finished first at the SCC Division A Championship and also came in second place for the SCC outright.

Senior Tanner Updyke took first place at the Division A meet and finished fifth in the SCC by running a time of 17:21, earning All-SCC First Team honors and distinction as the SCC Division A Player of the Year. Junior captain Justin Shiffrin also made the All-SCC First Team by finishing second in Division A and seventh in the SCC.

Sophomore Ryan Franchi placed 4th in the division and 13th in the SCC to make the All-SCC Second Team. Sophomore Michael Masotti finished 5th in Division A and 14th for the conference on his way to garnering All-SCC Second Team accolades on behalf of Head Coach Jon Rivera’s squad. Rivera was selected as the SCC Division A Coach of the Year.

The Guilford girls’ swimming team competed in virtual meets throughout a season that saw the squad win the SCC Division II title. Guilford completed its season by taking part in the SCC Virtual Championship, where the team finished in first place for the Division II standings and came in eighth place for the SCC.

Senior captains Haley Moriarty and Julia Earle, junior Brynn Leslie, sophomores Grace Young, Charlotte Martocci, Alyssa Simione, and Rylan Jacobson, and freshman Sorina Cheng earned All-SCC Division II honors for Guilford.

Cheng finished second in the division for the 100 backstroke and was third in the 200 individual medley. Young finished second in the division in the 100 breaststroke and claimed third place in the 100 butterfly. Leslie finished second in the 500 freestyle, while Moriarty placed second for the 100 freestyle.

The 200 medley relay of Moriarty, Young, Jacobson, and Cheng finished second with a school-record time of 1:58.25. The 200 freestyle relay of Cheng, Moriarty, Young, and Martocci also finished second in the division, as did the 400 freestyle relay of Leslie, Martocci, Simione, and Earle.

Sports Editor Chris Piccirillo contributed to this story





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