MIDDLETOWN - It wasn’t too long ago when the Nutmeg State Games had just 12 sports with a little over 1,200 total athletes competing. A lot has changed since the event first started in 1989.
Along with the 10 sports that have been added, participation is up nearly six times at around 7,000, meaning the Games are a big undertaking. But the Nutmeg team managed to put it together with just a handful of people.
“We have a small staff, three people full time, one person part time and then we supplement our staff in the summer with interns,” said Patrick Fisher, the Nutmeg State Games Executive Director. “From lining up facilities, recruiting teams, getting all your needs equipment and things together, no questions about it, it [takes] a year to put this thing on.”
With a number of events such as golf, gymnastics and figure skating already over, a number of other sports will take place this week, starting this afternoon and running through Sunday, with the 18 & Under girls soccer tournament starting things off.
The tournament will take place at Veterans Stadium in New Britain and at Sage Park in Berlin and run through the end of the weekend. There will be two local teams competing: Elite Nation FC (New Britain) and The Avalanche (Southington). The two are set to square off on Friday at 4:30 p.m. at Sage Park.
The 12 and Under Division will start on Saturday and will feature teams from around the state.
Friday will see the field hockey portion of the Nutmeg Games start with all games at Veterans Stadium. The 15 & Under age bracket will be played first with the 18 & Under High School and Club Divisions being played on Saturday. The Open Division (19 & Over) will take place on Sunday, which is set to include a number of out-of-state teams spanning from Maine, Massachusetts, upstate New York and Long Island
Those who come to play from out of state are allowed to compete under a clause by the National Congress of State Games.
“Our rules we have to abide by are set forth by the National Congress of State Games,” Fisher said “If you live in a state that doesn’t have a state games, which New York is one and Rhode Island is another, you can participate in a neighboring states state games. That helps for our event and also helps with competition, numbers and economic impact.”
The round-robin 12U and 14U fast pitch softball tournaments for will also begin on Saturday and conclude Sunday.
The 12 & Under games will be played at Chesley Park in New Britain and will have two local teams participating, the Lighting 05’s (Southington) and CT Titans Green (Terryville).
The 14 & Under games will be played at Sage Park in Berlin and will have a total of eight teams competing.
Roller hockey is another sport taking place over the weekend and has a number of local teams involved in the tournament taking place at Trinity College. Some out-of-state teams will also be participating.
PISA (Plainville) will be competing in the 16U Division with the Dirty Birds (Bristol) and the over PISA team taking part in the 19 & Over Silver Open Division. Shake & Bake (Newington) will be competing in the 19 & Over Gold Open Division. The Silver Division is considered to be the more of the recreational of the two.
There will also be two individual sports taking place, one of Saturday and one on Sunday.
The judo tournament, which will be held at New Britain High School on Saturday and consist of three divisions, will begin at 11 a.m. The fencing tournament will take place on Sunday at the Candlewood Center in Danbury at 9 a.m.
After Sunday, however, is when the Nutmeg Games will take place every day with baseball, softball (16 and 18 year olds), ice hockey, boys lacrosse, boys soccer and wrestling all taking place.
More information can also be found online at nutmegstategames.org.