Sports Hall of Fame

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

October 5, 2013
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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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Another walk down memory lane; The Southington Sports Hall of Fame announces the Class of 2013

July 27, 2013

SOUTHINGTON—The wait is over. The list is out, and the Southington Sports Hall of Fame selection committee is already championing the Class of 2013. Once again, it features professional players, college all-Americans, and Southington High School record holders. Once again, it reads like a Who’s Who of Southington sports. They represent 10 different sports and…

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The Gold Medal Gang; The 2005 Lady Knight gymnasts were the best in school history

July 19, 2013
The 2005 Lady Knight gymnastics team shattered state and national records on their way to a Class L championship, a State Open championship, and a New England title. The team launched a dynasty that raised the bar for Southington teams. Front, from left, Kelsie Straub, Nikki Salvatore, co-captain Kristen Rossi, co-captain Sara Stylinski, Kelsey Opozda, and Alysha Hill. Middle, Jackie Nadeau, co-captain Krissy Scarfo, Jennifer Roberts, Jessica Roberts, and Kelsey Boyce. Back, Kristy Dougan, Kelly Dougan, Shannon Strachel, Jessica Gianatti, Brittany Johnson, Yvette Mirando, Becca Wiltse, and Bonnie Tormay.

By John Goralski Sports Writer When the Lady Knights entered the Milford gym for the 2005 Class L championship meet, a hush descended upon the crowd. Gymnasts stopped their practice routines to get a better look at the team that had a stranglehold on the state’s sports headlines. Coaches stared. Officials laid down their pens…

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