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Tournament Play and What Might Have Been

Highlights from the week in boys high school sports in north central Connecticut.

The Tolland doubles tennis team of Dylan Roman and Eric Venezia, which stormed to a Class M state championship with victories over the top-seeded team of Daniel Banker and Devin White (Stonington) in the semifinals and No. 2 seed Saagar Sinha and Jason Sittambalam (Avon) in the finals, begins play in the State Open today.

Roman and Venezia will meet William Burger and Thomas Worcester (New Canaan) at the Hamden High School courts at 1:30 p.m.

Roman and Venezia went to three sets twice in the Class M tournament but prevailed. Burger and Thomas won the Class L doubles championship.

WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN

A single-elimination baseball tournament invites a certain amount of randomness and chaos but in Class S this year it was clear that the two best teams reached the final.

The result was a 6-2 but it was a game that could have gone either way. It was 3-2 into the seventh and East Catholic may spend the summer wondering what might have happened if Nick Benoit’s sharply hit grounder in the fourth inning, which came with Mike McMahon and Alex Fulco in scoring position, had been hit just a few feet to the right and eluded the East Hampton shortstop, allowing two more runs to score.

No doubt, Kelvin Sims and John Brownell and Ken Carone and McMahon and Fulco and Garrett Richardello and Benoit and the rest of the Eagle are left to wonder what might have been.

As it is, they are left with a wonderful season that ended one victory short of where they wanted to be.

Enfield and Windsor can also wonder about the vagaries of the baseball tournament. Windsor lost 2-1 in the opening round to Newington, which then reeled off four more victories to take the Class LL title. Enfield lost 5-3 in the Class M quarterfinals to Montville, which ended up winning the tournament.

Windsor Locks can also look back and wonder after a 5-3 loss to East Hampton in the Class S semifinals.

DYNASTY

The East Catholic golf dynasty picked up its third state championship in four years and its ninth overall this week with a dominating effort at the Division IV championships at Tallwood Country Club in Hebron. The Eagles finished with a team score of 305, which was 13 shots better than second place Northwest Catholic.

Eric Johnson won the tournament with an even-par 72.

Seniors Johnson, Eric Vivenzio, Kyle Cholawa and Dan DeFilipo end their high school careers as champion. Vivenzio shot 76 and freshman Drew Brennan shot 77 for East Catholic, which won the Division III championship last season and in 2008.

Adam Goodman led Somers (360) with an 83 and Ryan Paul led Windsor Locks (355) with an 86.

Suffield senior Andy Mai was a favorite heading into the Division III tournament at Fairview Farms in Harwinton but the best golfer will not always win a one-day tournament.

Mai, who will be golfing at Boston College next fall, shot a 2-over 74 Wednesday and finished in a tie for fourth with teammate Dan Banks. The duo led Suffield to a third-place finish (319), nine shots behind Wolcott.

Wolcott’s T.J. Staples won the tournament with a 1-under 71.

Enfield got a solid showing from Ryan Zetterholm (74) and Nick Smith (75) to finish tied for 11th with a team score of 337. Mike Gresh and Mike Thibodeau each shot 81 for Ellington (335), which finished ninth…Rockville’s Andrew Nisbet shot 84 at Crestbrook Park in Watertown to lead Rockville (355) to a 16th place finish at the Division II championships. Fermi (362) was led by Jason Despard and Ryan Delmonaco, who each shot 89, while E.O. Smith (380) was led by Dane Rosa, who shot 88.

TRACK WRAP

The wonderful run put together by Tolland distance runners over the past two years came to a fitting conclusion last week at the State Open outdoor track championships in New Britain.

There Bryan Fowler and Trevor LaFontaine, seniors who have led Tolland to consecutive Class M cross country championships as well as a cross country State Open championship, took first in the final distance events of their high school career.

Fowler finished first in the 3,200 meters while LaFontaine won the 3,000 meter steeplechase. The inclusion of the steeplechase, the watery run only held at state meets, allowed both runners to go out winners, which is how they spent most of their high school career.

Tolland also got a first-place finish from junior Adam Boucher, who won the javelin. When you add in junior Matt Mensher, who was eight in the 3,200 meters, it becomes clear that talent remains in Tolland. Looking to next fall they still have distance runners Ryan Possardt and Colin Sauter returning. But no team simply replaces two runners like Fowler and LaFontaine.

Those willing to look ahead to next year would do well to keep an eye on Windsor, which finished third at the Open. The Warriors lose Zachary Langs to graduation but retain a host of talented runners such as Daniel Jamieson, Sherrod Peay, Kymm Gordon and Tikuan Johnson.

 

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