Stafford High School winter sports preview

By Kathryn Elliott - ReminderNews
Stafford - posted Fri., Dec. 23, 2011
United Hockey opened up against the WAVE on Dec. 14. Photos by Kathryn Elliott.
United Hockey opened up against the WAVE on Dec. 14. Photos by Kathryn Elliott.

Jack Frost’s howling winds cannot put the freeze on Bulldog spirit this winter. Charged with energy, boys’ and girls’ basketball, indoor track, ice hockey, cheerleading and wrestling are back in action at Stafford High School.

Third-year boys’ basketball head coach Mike Morhardt and assistant coaches Tony Paolini and Mark Price are looking to improve upon last season’s 4-16 record. With an early win over division rival Suffield (32-28), the team stands at 1-1. “We are an athletic team with quick, strong players who play hard and play well together,” Morhardt said of the team’s strengths. “We are physically and mentally tough.” The next home game for the team is Jan. 3 at 7 p.m. against SMSA.

Coach Erin Clark is back at the helm of the girls’ basketball team. After a disappointing 4-15 2010-2011 season, Clarke is looking toward returning players Dani Clark, Lauren Shaw, Anna Janusz and Isabella Randazzo to take on a leadership role. Starting out slow at 0-3, the team is focused on building momentum as the season moves forward. The next home game is against East Windsor on Jan. 6 at 7 p.m.

The wrestling team finished the 2010-2011Class S state tournament as the 18th seed, with a combined score of 54.5. Coach Shirzad Ahmadi returns for his 23rd year with Stafford. “Wrestling builds character,” Ahmadi said. Stafford will face early opposition from Somers (Jan. 4) and Windham (Jan. 7).

Twenty-one-year indoor track coach Mark Dunn will once again lead the boys’ and girls’ teams. Several meets are scheduled, including the Jan. 7 Shoreline Invitational, in New Haven, and the Jan. 13 McGreavey Invitational, at Wesleyan. The NCCC Conference Championships are scheduled for Jan. 17 in New Haven.

Coach Christian Stevenson and the combined Stafford, Manchester and Rockville United ice hockey team opened up against the WAVE on Dec. 14. Home games are played at the Bolton Ice Palace.

Cheerleading will be taking the floor at all Bulldogs boys’ basketball home games. With a new competition team currently forming, coach Kathy Middleton is relying on returning seniors Courtney DeNunzio, Brooke Learned and Linzey Young for leadership.

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