Southington winter sports had mixed results when it came to team success.
The Blue Knights didn’t win any state championships, though boys basketball was able to claim a division crown for the first time since the 1997-1998 season. There were three individual state champions, which was exciting. Athletic director Greg Ferry is looking forward to spring, but he wants to see more team success.
“I think our athletes always have to remember the importance of putting the ‘we’ before the ‘me,’” Ferry said. “That is something that our coaches and our athletes have to buy into. For us to really achieve at the highest levels, we have to really think about what’s best for the team when we’re making our decisions.”
Ferry took a look back at winter, and a look ahead to spring, in an interview with The Observer.
Here’s more from the Q&A session:
OBSERVER: What stood out for you this winter?
FERRY: Our boys basketball team was able to overcome a slow start, wrap up a division title, and win a game in the state tournament. I think it’s a testament to our kids overcoming challenges. The way we started the season, struggling, then rallying to play some of our best basketball at the end of the season. They played well together, and they cared about one another. I couldn’t be more proud of their response after getting off to a slow start. That’s something I really, really enjoyed.
O: Swimming and indoor track both improved throughout the season, and it showed. What would you say about their effort?
F: To see them make incremental growth throughout the season is so impressive. It’s such a testament to coach Evan Tuttle for swimming, along with coach Dan Dachelet and coach Connor Green for track and field. It’s also a testament to the athletes and their hard work. [Success is] not going to happen by accident. You have to put in the daily work. I’m really proud of those student-athletes and those coaches for what they accomplished this year.
O: Diving also did very well. What did you think of their efforts?
F: The depth of diving is just incredible, and that’s a testament to our coach, coach Jan [Zagorski] and coach Evan.
O: What did you think of the wrestling team’s efforts? No division title or state title, but two individual state champions.
F: We did not accomplish the team goals that we were looking for, but we had a couple individuals who did well and won state titles, which was impressive.
O: We had a new coach in gymnastics. How do you think the first season went?
F: I’m really impressed with our new gymnastics coach Cassidy Chamberland. We didn’t have tons of wins, but we improved, and that’s what we’re looking for, is that growth. It’s tough being a first-year coach. You have to deal with all of the logistics and you’re learning on the fly. She had a nice rapport with the girls, and we’re really looking forward to working with her again next year.
O: It was a tough year for girls basketball. What positives do you take away from their season?
F: I am really excited for what’s to come with girls basketball. We’ll continue to have those young ladies work their processes and work hard on their games during the offseason. They’ll come back recharged, full of energy, and next year is a new year. We didn’t get tons of wins, but we competed until the end.
O: What about the efforts of our athletes in the community?
F: It’s not just about what our student-athletes do on the field. The cheerleading team sang Christmas carols at the senior center, and boys swimming raised money for the American Heart Association.
O: We have a busy spring season, as always, coming soon. What are your thoughts?
F: Super excited. It looks like Mother Nature is going to cooperate with us. Fields aren’t ready, but they’re in better shape than they’ve been in in previous years. I have to get credit to our maintenance team. We have a great maintenance staff, they are always working to try to get the fields ready, because they care about doing a great job. We had an issue with our tennis courts in the fall. There was some very large cracking. The guys worked hard to repair the cracks, and the courts are ready to go. They may not be aesthetically pleasing, but we will be painting them at some point, either later in the season or early summer. Without people like that, things don’t run. We have a good group of student-athletes, a veteran coaching staff coming back, and if we can incorporate those core values into our efforts on and off the field, success will happen over time.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Kevin Roberts, email him at KRoberts@SouthingtonObserver.com