With the winter season officially over, and the spring season approaching, area athletes had the chance to reflect upon their brightest moments from the past season.
And Newington’s Robert Nagy and Southington’s Amanda Howe had plenty of moments throughout the winter season.
It had been nine years since the Newington boys swimming and diving team had a swimmer qualify for the State Open, but Nagy, a senior captain, changed that this year.
“It was quite a journey really,” Nagy said after dropping over six seconds throughout the season in the 100 freestyle, which advanced him to State Open.
Nagy started this swim season with a finishing time in the 100 freestyle 55 low.
“Each meet after that I kept on getting better and faster,” Nagy said. “Then finally, I had my last chance at finals, I went a 49.18 and that qualified me as an alternate for the State Open meet. Then, someone actually scratched from [the] Open and I was able to fill in the spot. It really worked out. I was really lucky and fortunate.”
Nagy placed 16th overall in the state with a time of 48.70, only .12 seconds away from breaking the school record. He also swam in the 50 freestyle and finished in a time of 22.40.
“He dropped a ton of time at [Class L] state finals in order to get to [the State Open],” Newington head coach Crystal Connery said. “And he qualified as an alternate so we were really hoping he would get a chance to swim and the fact that he did get the chance to swim and to compete and to come in 16th place overall was unbelievable to watch.”
But what impressed Connery the most was even though Nagy was an alternate and there was a possibility of him not competing, he still came to practice every day, giving his all.
“There was not a question he was going to that meet,” Connery said. “Whether he was going to swim or not, he was practicing every day coming in even though he wasn’t sure if he was going to get the chance to swim. He would come into practice and focus on what he could do to get better right up until the very end. I couldn’t ask for anything more in an athlete, especially a senior role model on the team.”
By the end of the season, Nagy had scored over 200 varsity points alone for Newington this season and received an All-Conference selection.
Howe has had a lot of success over the last few seasons in track and field and that success led her to signing a letter of intent to further her career at the University of Iowa in the fall.
“I had no idea where it was going to go,” Howe said. “I originally thought it was just going to be something fun I would do during the winter and spring to stay in shape for my other sports. On my first day of practice my coach introduced me to [throwing] just to try it and see where it went. It went better than expected and ever since I’ve been a thrower.”
During the outdoor season last spring, Howe was the 2017 Emerging Elite National champion in the hammer throw, the 2017 New England discus champion, a CIAC State Open champion, Class LL discus champion and Greater Hartford Open discus record holder.
She was just as successful during this past indoor track season.
Howe placed first at the CCC Indoor Track and Field Championship, throwing 42 feet, 3¾ inches.
After finishing runner-up for the second year in a row in the Class LL Championships, Howe won the shot put title at the State Open meet. She threw 40-7½, almost a foot and a half more than the second place finisher.
Howe later reached her personal best this year at the New England High School Championship as she threw 43-5 which landed her a second place finish.
She then wrapped up her indoor season at the New Balance Nationals where she placed eighth in shot put for throwing 40-11¾ and 11th in the weight throw.
Her hard work and dedication have also earned her All-CCC selection for the last three years in a row while maintaining first honors for all four years in high school.
“[Howe] has been a critical member of our team for a number of years but not just because of her ability to throw far,” Southington head coach Connor Green said. “She has a been a pillar of consistency and hard work on our team. The hours she has put in to become an elite thrower in this country would boggle the mind of anyone who is just looking in from the outside.”
But before Howe goes off to join the Hawkeyes, she’ll have a chance to put forth another dominant track season.
“Without a doubt her presence will be known in the outdoor season and I can’t wait to see all that she accomplishes,” Green said.
Shelby Iava can be reached at (860) 801-5096 or firstname.lastname@example.org