Little Noises celebrate spring season successes

By Kevin Hotary - Staff Writer
East Haddam - posted Mon., Jun. 13, 2011
Softball team award winners (from left), Morgan Humble, Maxie Murphy, Maegan McNulty, Jocelyn Dinallo, Denyell Spignola and Lindsey Hermann were among the student-athletes honored on June 8. Photos by Kevin Hotary.
Softball team award winners (from left), Morgan Humble, Maxie Murphy, Maegan McNulty, Jocelyn Dinallo, Denyell Spignola and Lindsey Hermann were among the student-athletes honored on June 8. Photos by Kevin Hotary.

Nathan Hale-Ray High School athletes were honored by their coaches, faculty, fellow students and the East Haddam community on June 8, as the Little Noises Athletic Booster Club sponsored the spring athletic banquet.

“You made us proud. Not only do you play hard, you play with character,” said Booster Club President Madelene Francese, as she opened the overall awards presentation in the school auditorium. In a departure from the traditional awards banquet format, individual team awards were handed out earlier by the coaches in various locations throughout the school.

The many individual and team successes of the Little Noises athletic program go beyond what would normally be expected from a school with a graduating class of fewer than 100 students. Over the last 28 years, 57 different Hale-Ray athletes have been named All-State in their sports.

“That’s pretty good,” said Athletic Director Marty Ryczek.

Even the track team, consisting of only “two really dedicated boys” – junior Alex Weselcouch (who was also named a Shoreline Scholar-Athlete) and sophomore Nate Dominy – and coached by the Valley Regional High School staff, “came within just a few points of winning a meet,” said Ryczek.

Golf head coach George Tripp presented his Coach’s Award to seniors Mike Ianelli and Marc Fortier, while sophomore Matt Garafolo was named the most improved player.

After finishing the season just below the .500 mark, the Little Noises baseball team made it to the second round of the Class S state tournament. The team was led by senior co-captain J.T. Smith, who, in addition to the team Leadership Award, was lauded for earning 12 varsity letters – the maximum possible number – during his time at Hale-Ray. Smith was also named a three-time Shoreline Scholar Athlete, the first time a Hale-Ray athlete has achieved that distinction, and an All-American Scholar-Athlete in soccer.

Team MVP and senior co-captain Zack LaFemina was a first-team All-Shoreline player as well as an All-State player - only the third All-State baseball player in Hale-Ray history. Senior co-captain Peter Olsen was named the team’s most improved player, and was also lauded for earning 10 varsity letters at Hale-Ray. Senior Kenny Conover was awarded the Sportsmanship Award by head coach Rich Gable.

For the 11th time in school history, the Hale-Ray softball team won the Shoreline Championship, after posting a 17–3 season record.

“I’m proud to be the coach of such a great team,” said head coach Suzy Miner. “This team has proven that it has what it takes to take it all the way to the end.” And two days later, the Little Noises lived up to their coach's word, winning their fourth Class S state softball title in the last 11 years with a 6-0 shutout by junior pitcher Katelyn Nichisti, against number one-seeded Terryville.

The team was led by senior co-captains and co-MVPs Morgan Humble and Maxie Murphy, both of whom were named first-team All-Shoreline and were named to the Senior All-Star team. In addition, Humble was named the Shoreline Conference Player of the Year in softball and was named a Shoreline Conference Scholar-Athlete.  She was also presented an award for earning 12 varsity letters at Hale-Ray.

The Coach’s Award for softball was presented to seniors Jocelyn Dinallo and Lindsey Hermann, while Denyell Spingola earned the Hustle Award and Maegan McNulty was named the most improved player.


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