Thursday, March 29, 2018

Varsity Softball Plays Their Second Scrimmage

Kate Dempsey

The Varsity Softball team had their second scrimmage on Wednesday, March 28th against Joel Barlow. Like their first scrimmage, no official score was kept and their performance in the scrimmage didn’t affect their future standing. However, the team was able to further figure out which players would play what position. The team is a little distraught after losing five seniors that were extremely advantageous to the team.

“This year we lost five of our seniors so that’s kind of hard for us so we have to rebuild the team back up. We have five returning girls, and so I think we definitely have to utilize the freshman’s abilities and build them up to the varsity players we know they can be and really work together as a team to play our best this year,” junior Caroline Krueger said.

Junior Caroline Krueger getting ready at catcher.
The team is confident, however, that they will be able to train the freshman girls in preparation for the FCIAC championship and build up team collaboration with each other.

“Since we have such a young team I think the goal is to get them at that varsity playing level pretty quickly and that we can work together as a team and hopefully get back to the FCIAC’s and go away to state’s and maybe win the FCIAC title again,” Caroline Krueger said.

The Darien Softball team has won FCIAC’s in 2011, 2012 and last year in 2017, so they are hoping to win the championship again this year to start a trend of being undefeated.
Their next game is Saturday, March 31st against New Hampshire at 10:00 a.m.

Preview of Varsity Baseball's Starting Rotation

Jack Tierney

Jackson Vaught - Jackson boasted an extremely strong season last year as a junior. He did everything coach Scott asked of him and at times even came in to relieve. Has the body of a prototype pitcher with solid height and length. Looks to be one of the top options in the bullpen this year. When asked what he thinks about the pressure of pitching in big games he said, “Playing a lot last year for sure helps my confidence and I’m hoping it continues this year.”

Henry Williams - Junior Henry Williams possesses some of the best raw talent on the team and it showed last season. Williams along with the rest of the bullpen has experience except he was starting games as a sophomore. Henry has a huge frame and slings the ball in elite fashion. He’s headed to Duke once his high school career finishes and it’s clear why.

Senior Jackson Vaught on the hill last season. (Courtesy DAF) 
Justin Jordan- Senior Justin Jordan is one of the best athletes in the FCIAC. Jordan consistently has dominated the baseball scene since a young age. He is versatile as he specializes in center field with his quickness, agility, and sheer instinct for the game. However when called upon he is able to step on to the mound and give the team a solid couple of innings. Being left handed he really diversifies the bullpen and gives the opposition a lot to think about.

Justin Van de Graaf - Senior Justin van de Graaf is another option with veteran experience. Justin has been in the program for 4 years and has cemented himself as a trusted utility player capable of stepping into a lot of tough spots. Justin is valued strongly in the outfield with athleticism and a strong outfielder’s arm so if he has to go on the mound it will be a loss to the elite outfield they already have. With games so frequent it’s likely Justin will be called upon very often and his experience will show.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Varsity Softball Starts Season With Scrimmage

Eva Criscuolo

On Saturday, March 24rth, the Softball team made their debut back on the turf at Darien High School, with a series of scrimmage games against Stamford High, Westhill, and Greenwich High. The coach this year is Mr. Demaio, a beloved gym teacher here at DHS, who has been coaching the Softball team for years. Juxtaposed to a regular softball game, the results were not officially recorded, and do not contribute to the team’s future placements.

The team’s first scrimmage was on the JV baseball turf, where the team faced off against Stamford High. The second Scrimmage was on the DHS Varsity field, where the team faced off against Westhill. And the third and final scrimmage took place on the Varsity field, where DHS team members went up against Greenwich High. Although, the results were not officially recorded it was a great opportunity for the DHS team to confer, and assign positions.

The softball field at DHS is primed for play.
(Photo Courtesy Grace Carlo)
This year the team faces a loss of five starting seniors from the previous year. At the scrimmage the team slowly but surely began to fill in the gaps with incoming freshmen, who already appear to offer a great deal of promise. The season has not yet officially begun, yet the anticipation is strong. Last year the season performed extremely well. According to sophomore Alee Raparti, “We won FCIACS! We ended the season with 20-5. We are coming in this year with hopes in doing it again. We lost five seniors who were starters and who played a big role in the team, but we have four strong freshmen who came in and are ready to play at Varsity level. With our next few scrimmages coming up this week we are going to use them to practice working as a team, and to help [the rest of] our freshman get ready. Our season opener is April 2nd at our home field vs. Wamongo”.

Sophomores Meghan Shaughnessy and Rosali Pirone added, “The season has not officially started, the scrimmage on saturday helped the team to strategize and help plan for a season that will hopefully mirror the success of the previous season.” Although, the season is just beginning the team is making confident strides towards success. The future remains unknown, however with four freshmen who have already been placed on the Varsity team, the team appears to be on a great path for the upcoming season.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Boys Varsity Swim and Dive Wins State Championship

Natalie Vasileff

Darien High School’s Boys Varsity Swim and Dive team has proven immense superiority in this year’s Open Swim Championship Finals at Yale University. The team has had an extremely successful season. By hard and determined training, the team built itself a path to receive a winning spot. Swimming eight times every week and showing great accomplishment in dual meets, the boys prepared for the challenges of championship season. The team’s triumphs included tying with Greenwich and winning it’s first first Class L title ever, defeating it’s rival, New Canaan. With all of these encouraging things in mind, team members were ready to give their all, presenting themselves as an intimidating force to be reckoned with when arriving at Yale. The boys grew stronger and more skilled with each day of effort.

Those who qualified to swim at the championship finals were extremely excited to participate and show some true DHS talent. Sophomore Connor Martin and junior Spencer Erickson were spectacular in their events, with Martin placing second in the 100 butterfly with the time of 51.7 and placed 14th in the 50 freestyle with a time of 22.07. Alongside, Erickson placed third in the 100 back with a time of 52.10 and also placed fifth in the 200 yard free, timing 1:43.14. Junior Karl Wadleigh, timing 1:46.14 in the 200 yard free, earned 15th place. Senior Chris Zhang placed 16th in the 500 yard freestyle with a time of 4:49.94. Placing 15th in in the 100 yard breaststroke, sophomore Nico Clark concluded with a time of 1:00.23. As for the 200 yard IM, sophomore Conway Zhou placed 23rd , timing 2:02.17. For the 100 yard backstroke, senior Connor Henry placed 21st with a time of 55.40.
Sophomore Connor Martin racing to the finish
of the 100 m butterfly. (Courtesy Dave Stewart)

The relays in competition also proved to be victorious. Those who participated in the 200 medley relay were Erickson, Martin, Clark, and Zhang. The relay received a time of 1:37.51, placing in fifth place. The team’s 400 freestyle relay was made up by Erickson, Zhang, Martin, and Wadleigh, placing fourth with a time of 3:11.77. As for diving, Owen Stevens and Wiley Schmidt also were congratulated. Stevens placed first and Schmidt places second, proudly receiving sports in the all state first team.

Despite being tired, it was the team’s main goal to stay focused and not give up what they have worked towards to for so achingly long. All of the training and incredible results of the events led the team to place fifth out of nearly fifty other teams that took part in the Open Swim Championship Finals.

“Now that the season is over and we accomplished our goal that does not mean that we are done,” determinedly said sophomore Connor Martin. “This is a very young team and we are coming back next year with most of our top scorers, including three out of the four members of each of the record holding relay teams. We will be back, ready to work, and we will be ready to defend our title. 

"Everyone on our team had tried their hardest to get this far. We have achieved our goal of winning Class L, and proved ourselves to be a major threat at Opens. This season, Darien had faced many obstacles, and each and every one of us helped each other to break through these obstacles and rise to the top,” proudly said sophomore Conway Zhou. “We did not win just because of skill, luck, or even the training we did. It was because we were a team - unbreakable, strong, and fighting until the very end."

Monday, March 19, 2018

Girls Varsity Hockey Beats New Canaan 3-1 in State Semi's

Brianna Lyons

The girls line up for the national anthem. (Courtesy DAF) 
The most famous saying for any Darien High School Athlete goes“Rams Can’t Swim.” This saying is what motivates every Darien Athlete to beat New Canaan in any sport. It is meant to get the team hyped and ready to face our arch rivals New Canaan. Most of the time, Darien comes out on top. Including our Girls Varsity Ice Hockey Team, who won 3-1 in the Semi final game, beating New Canaan for the championship position in the final round of states. This means the team will be advancing to play at Bennett Rink in West Haven against the winner of the other Semi- Final game, that has yet to play.

With anyone unfamiliar with the game, Ice Hockey is consisted of 3 quarters that are 20 minutes long, with a few minute intermissions in between. Darien was able to hold New Canaan from scoring until the third quarter. Which did not matter, because during the second quarter Darien scored 2 goals against New Canaan and one goal in the third half.

Kate Bellissimo, a Freshmen. scored all three goals during the game, with assists by Shea Den Broek, a Junior. Overall, the team looked very cohesive which allowed them to be able to play as a unit and win the game. With incredible passing and beautiful shots done by Bellissimo, Darien was able to win against our arch rivals the New Canaan Rams.

“We are really looking forward to the our championship game. We have an incredible team, and a great coach.” Kennsion Harmon, a Sophomore said.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Girls Varsity Hockey Wins Third Straight State Championship

Will Pegler

The Girls Varsity Hockey team rolled to their third straight State Title this past Sunday night at Bennet Rink in West Haven; beating Suffield/Enfield/Ellington/MLC/Housatonic co-op by a score of 5-2.

The team celebrates senior Sally Cassidy's goal. (Courtesy Dave Stewart)
Goals came early and often for the Wave, all five of them from five different players. The scoring was opened up by senior co-captain Sally Cassidy, and goals were followed by junior Shea van den Broek, sophomore Caitlin Chan, freshman Kate Bellissimo, and freshman Lucie Edwards. Offensive contributions clearly came from just about everywhere.

On the defensive side, senior co-captains Kathleen Tropsa and Sally Cassidy were key for the Wave, along with sophomore goalie Hallie Kreppein. Kreppein finished with 20 saves and was key in allowing the team to hold a comfortable lead throughout much of the game.

The Blue Wave are now "back to back to back" state champs, and the winning culture doesn't look to be stopping any time soon with plenty of young talent already playing key roles.

Varsity Boys Basketball: Season in Review

Jack Tierney

The Darien Boys Varsity Basketball team finished their season at 10-11 and capped yet another successful season under head coach Charoy Bentley. They faced Daniel Hand on March 12th and ultimately came up short falling in overtime. The Blue Wave losing close games seemed to become a trend this season finding themselves unable to close out teams and coming within seconds of a couple more wins.
All in all over the past three years there has been significant tangible growth boasting records of 7-14, 14-6, and 10-11. These past three years in comparison to historical Darien basketball has been worlds apart. With things on the rise Darien has a strong Junior class coming into their own featuring guards Will Rolapp, Henry Williams, and Ryan Darby. Also returning was defensive standout Peter Bredahl.
Darien has in the past brushed aside basketball and it hasn’t gotten the same hype as other sports but this year attendance has been up, excitement was at an all time high, and the program altogether grew. Junior Ryan Darby added, “We know we are a part of something bigger than just wins and losses. We want to build the foundation for future Darien success.”
Darien culture around sports programs is key and it’s clear that Darien is on the rise. Stay tuned for next season. 
Junior Henry Williams is a big reason as to why things are looking up for the Wave next year. 

Monday, March 5, 2018

Boys Basketball Starts State Tournament Tonight

By Christian Pannuto

Junior Guard Will Rolapp makes a pass to junior Ryan Darby. 
It’s the end of the regular season, and The Darien Varsity Boys Basketball team ended at a balanced 10-10 record. However this means they don’t qualify for the FCIAC tourney, although they’ll be playing Daniel Hand High School in the State Tournament tonight at Darien High School at 7 pm. Last year Darien got knocked out in the 2nd round, however they’re in a lower division this season, so hopefully they’ll be able to get revenge and make a run. Hopefully Senior captains Andrew Darby and Jack Tierney will be able to lead the team to victory.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Varsity Ski Team Has Several High Finishers in State Opens

By Eva Criscuolo

On Wednesday, February 28th, the Varsity Girls and Boys Ski teams traveled to Mount Southington in Plantsville, Connecticut, approximately a one hour drive, for the State Open, their last race of the year. According to senior Sammy Berry, one of the girls varsity team captains, ”It was great! A little warm for skiing, but we made it work”!
Unfortunately, the Blue Wave Varsity Boys team did not place, however, regardless of their placement, the team as a whole still put a lot of genuine effort into all of their races, and had a great season overall, placing more than once within the top five in states. (And, freshmen Chase Guilick placed 10th overall as an individual, separate from the team).

Sophomore Samantha Lindell (left) and junior Devin
Hart (right) holding their trophies. 
The Varsity Girls team performed exceptionally, with junior Devin Hart placing third, sophomore Samantha Lindell placing fourth, and the entire team placing fourth overall. This was not too big a surprise as the girls had been doing quite well at the states competitions.

The girls were all ecstatic and Devin Hart, one of the team captains of the girls team, conveyed that “the girls were all super excited to do so well against some very talented teams." Sophomore Peyton Straubel stated that the tournament was a lot of fun, and that the girls team “did some fun team bonding activities and cheered for each other,” providing the moral support to prompt the teams overall success.

It has been a good season for both teams, and both are sad that the season has come to a close. Hart started, “Of  course we are all very sad that the season is over. As a team, this is definitely one of the closest teams we have had in awhile...We [were] happy to enjoy our last bus ride together and bop to some good music."

Berry also concluded that although she is sad that the season has ended, she expressed, “I’m so proud of the team and all we've accomplished. While we didn't place first, everyone skied well and had fun, which is the team mentality. The State Opens are always fun, despite the tough competition, because it's a fun way to end the season."

Boys Varsity Swim and Dive Update

By Isa Nuissl

The Darien Boys Swim and Dive Team is into the championship season, with the FCIAC Swimming trials being completed on Tuesday and Diving finals on Wednesday. The boys finished strong at trials, with many qualifying for the finals on Thursday. Darien divers also finished in good position on Wednesday, finishing in 3rd, 4th, and 15th. The boys are excited for the FCIAC finals and are looking forward to the state championships that will take place new week, followed by state opens the week after.

(Courtesy Darien Times).

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Ridgefield Takes the Win Against Blue Wave Varsity Boys Ice Hockey

By Julia Clarke

Ridgefield Hockey won 2-1 against Darien High School Boys Ice Hockey team on February 28 at Darien Ice Rink.

Ridgefield shot in the first period with 30 seconds left, making the game 1-0. Quickly, Darien tied up the score with a rebound off of Hudson Pokorny by Brian Zaffino. “Ridgefield shot first, but it gave us some much needed inspiration to tie the game,” junior James Gregory said.

Sophomore Bennet Mcdermott skates the puck up the ice.
(Courtesy DAF) 
In the last half of the second period, Ridgefield shoots another goal against goalie Henri Pfeifle making the score 2-1 Ridgefield. Goalie Pfeifle had a total of 34 saves and only let two in the net. “Henri played great. He has been a staple to our team and a great hockey player,” senior Will Dickson said.

Catch Darien Boys Ice Hockey playing this Wednesday in New Haven in the first round of State Championships.