NEW BRITAIN - Innovationâ€™s Aryanna Townsend, Kelsey Walicki, Victoria Piechota and Chriseny Perryman were part of school history Tuesday afternoon.
The four athletes announced their decisions to continue their athletic careers at the collegiate level.
They were part of the first signing day ever hosted at the school, four years after Innovation started its varsity athletic programs.
â€śI think being part of the first signing day is a true accomplishment,â€ť girls soccer forward Piechota said. â€śEspecially since we got a lot of recognition playing for the soccer program here. And just to be able to play at the college level is true success.â€ť
Piechota, Walicki and Townsend will all be playing soccer in college.
Townsend will be attending Bay Path University and also participating in track.
Sheâ€™s a three-time CRAL All-Conference selection in soccer on defense and was named to the All-State team this past season. Townsend also became the first soccer player to play in the Senior All-Star game.
At college, she will look to follow the path of her mother Nadeen by entering the program for physicianâ€™s assistants.
Her mother is a respiratory therapist, and growing up Aryanna was inspired to do something similar.
It was a bittersweet day, as Townsend will be leaving the school that has brought much joy to her over the years.
â€śI tried to leave my mark at Innovation and I feel like I did that with sports and academics,â€ť Townsend said. â€śIâ€™m going to miss it a lot. Iâ€™ve been here since I was in sixth grade.â€ť
Piechota and Walicki will be continuing their soccer careers together at the University of Saint Joseph in West Hartford. The combo will look to bring the success theyâ€™ve had at Innovation to the Saint Joseph program.
â€śIâ€™m very excited to be playing with Victoria again,â€ť Walicki said. â€śOver the past four years weâ€™ve created a bond, and I feel like itâ€™s only going to get better. We know each otherâ€™s strengths and weaknesses, so I feel that when weâ€™re playing together next year weâ€™ll be able to, like, pump each other up and help each other out.â€ť
After six wins in the first year Innovation had a varsity program, Piechota and Walicki had a major part in building the team into a Class S power.
Over the past three seasons Innovation combined for a 36-8-4 record and made the state tournament in all four years.
Walicki was a four-time all-conference selection at left midfield and a two-year captain. She holds the record for most assists in a career with 30 and shares the record of most goals with Piechota with 58.
At Saint Joseph, Walicki will be studying nursing.
Piechota was a four-time all-conference selection at forward and also was a two-year captain. She was the first athlete to be named to the All-State team in any sport at Innovation, one of her most fond memories.
â€śMy favorite memory is when my coach told me I had a chance at getting All-State,â€ť Piechota said. â€śI had no idea that even existed. I felt really accomplished and happy.â€ť
Piechota owns the Innovation record for most goals scored in a single season with 21.
In the classroom Piechota is equally impressive, as she is the Class of 2018 salutatorian and will be studying pharmacy with a concentration in biochemistry at Saint Joseph.
Perryman will be attending American International College in Springfield, Mass. She was a four-year varsity track member and all-conference member. Sheâ€™s part of the team that holds the school record in the 4x100.
For Perryman, just being able to attend college is extra special.
â€śGoing to college means a lot to me,â€ť Perryman said. â€śTo understand the grit and what it takes to go through track meets and put in all the work that you can to get here means you can do anything you put your mind to, no matter where you come from or what background you have. Throughout college, that will be something that will continuously motivate me to keep going and doing even more.â€ť
Perryman will be studying exercise science in college and hopes to become a physical therapist or physical education teacher.
â€śItâ€™s cool for me, because I see it every day as an opportunity to be somebody different and stand out,â€ť Perryman said. â€śHopefully I encouraged the other athletes to work hard enough to be part of the signing days in the future here.â€ť