Sports Hall of Fame

The Mighty Mackie

October 25, 2013
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By JOHN GORALSKI SPORTS WRITER Scott Mackie tossed the bat toward the dugout and sprinted to the outfield as if he was trying to beat a throw to first base. You couldn’t tell by the look on his face that the Southington batter was hitless for the day. You couldn’t see any stress on his…

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The Perfect 10; Kristy Dougan launched a dynasty

October 18, 2013
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File photo

By John Goralski Sports Writer steadied herself on the diving board and waited for the signal from officials. She had her back to the pool. Fans and coaches held their breath. Dougan hadn’t performed a single dive as she rehabbed her fractured ankle during the regular season, but here she was at the state meet,…

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Just give me the ball, coach; Lenny Clements raised the bar for scoring in the early 1960s

October 5, 2013
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1963 CHRONICLE YEARBOOK COURTESY OF THE SOUTHINGTON PUBLIC LIBRARY
Lenny Clements crashes through the defensive line during the 1962 season.

By John Goralski Sports Writer The year was 1962. The Southington High School football team was riding an 18-game winning streak, and Lenny Clements made a rare defensive mistake that allowed the Croft quarterback to complete a pass for a large gain. No matter how tough they might have been, the Croft linemen must have…

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Passing the test; Scott Otis defied the odds to make the NFL

September 20, 2013
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Photo courtesy of Glenville State College
Scott Otis didn’t turn heads with his high school statistics, but his work at Glennville State College led to a postition in the NFL with the Baltimore Ravens.

By John Goralski Sports Writer Scott Otis felt a twinge of satisfaction as he stood in the shadow of Fontana Field while track officials scrambled to measure his javelin throw at a cold spring meet in 1991. For three years of varsity football, he maintained that his arm could beat most teams. This throw certainly…

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Founding Father; Bob Wittneben launched a program and set the standard for wrestling

September 13, 2013
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1977 CHRONICLE COURTESY OF THE SOUTHINGTON LIBRARY
Coach Bob Wittneben greets a Blue Knight fan during his team’s 16-2 campaign in 1977. In just his third varsity season, Wittneben’s Knights captured the Colonial Conference title.

By John Goralski Sports Writer When Bob Wittneben entered the high school in 1973, the Blue Knights were already established as a baseball and football power. Golf had already claimed its first state title, and softball was ready to launch a dynasty. Sports were already well-established in the blue collar town, but Wittneben had something…

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The Blue Knight; After 3 decades Ernie Blue remains the measuring stick for Southington scorers

August 30, 2013
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Ernie Blue in 1972

By John Goralski Sports Writer Bloomfield raced to a 26-17 lead in the first quarter of the 1971 season opener, so Blue Knight coach Ed Nardi gave Ernie Blue ‘the signal’ at the break between quarters. Blue had already scored nine of Southington’s 17 points against the fast-breaking Bloomfield squad, but the first year Southington…

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Paige Turner: Paige Kopcza proved that softball is more than pitching

August 23, 2013
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sp paige kopcza 2

By JOHN GORALSKI SPORTS WRITER The pitcher and the defense gave up just one earned run in 1983 to set a national record for ERA (0.04) that would stand for more than two decades. Their all-state pitcher was almost unhittable as Southington roared through the postseason. The offense was just as deadly with a .336…

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The full court press; Jim Senich championed the Knights with his pen and his golden voice

August 16, 2013
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File photo
Jim Senich covered the Blue Knights for more than a decade on the radio for WNPR and in the newspaper for the Southington Observer.

By John Goralski Sports Writer Jim Senich still remembers the nun’s comments when he delivered his oral report to his sixth grade class. “Someday you’re going to be a radio announcer,” she said, and the velvety-voiced youngster slid back into his seat with a satisfied grin. Some boys practice last second shots in their driveways…

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King Solomon; Brian Solomon launched a Southington wrestling dynasty

August 9, 2013
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Brian Solomon was a two-time all-American wrestler at Western New England College and a three-time academic all-American.

By John Goralski Sports Writer More than three decades have passed since Gary Solomon sat at the head of his kitchen table to celebrate his second state title in wrestling, and the story of that party has become a sort of legend in the Solomon family. The high school senior had finally arrived. He’d finally…

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Without question; Meghan McNicholas-Leggett set the standard for team players

August 4, 2013
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Photo courtesy of Assumption College
Meghan McNicholas was a three-sport athlete for the Lady Knights before earning a full scholarship to Assumption College.

By John Goralski Sports Writer Maybe it was because of a late season slump that former Lady Knight softball coach Joe Piazza sent his prized sophomore to the plate to bat left-handed in the 1990 Class LL championship game. Maybe it was because his team was trailing by one run, and the coach saw something…

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