The nature of high school sports is that rosters are constantly changing meaning new players are getting opportunities each and every season.
Some players are unable to take advantage of the opportunity to play a big role for their respective teams, but this week’s Athletes of the Week, Plainville basketball player Izzy Lozefski and New Britain wrestler Jordyn Rowe, have been able to seize the opportunity and run with it.
The Plainville girls basketball team finished of its season last Wednesday with a win over Bristol Central. The Blue Devils did not qualify for the state tournament, but they took a step forward from last year as they increased their win total from three to five.
One of the big reasons for the step forward this season was the play of Lozefski. The junior guard was on the varsity team a season ago but with another year of experience and a new coach who brought more energy, she was able to thrive.
“I think I did a lot better this year than I did last year,” Lozefski said. “I was able to do a lot more and I was able to work with the team better. Overall, it was a lot more fun for me.”
Lozefski was able to take that step forward because of how hard she worked to improve her game from year to year. Head coach Jessica Neuweiler had a big impact in her first year as the head coach for Plainville and she believes the team has a bright future and the junior guard is a key reason why.
“Izzy works harder than anybody I know every single day,” Neuweiler said. “She sprained her ankle really bad in the Middletown game, but she worked her way back for the last two games of the season. Her work ethic and her relentless desire to win are contagious.
“She set the pace for us offensively and defensively this season. I knew all year that if I wanted something done, I go to Izzy for it because I knew that she would absolutely get it done. Going into next year and some of the passion I have about how good we can be is because of Izzy’s leadership. She had a fantastic season.”
The New Britain wrestling team is not very deep. The Hurricanes were littered with first-year wrestlers this season so it was always expected to be somewhat of a transition year. The team brought nine wrestlers with it to the Class LL state tournament and only one was left standing. That was 120-pounder Rowe.
The junior only wrestled in a couple of matches a season ago, but knew that he wanted to be serious about the sport so he worked throughout the offseason to get to a point where he could make some noise in his first full season with the team.
Rowe entered the Class LL tournament seeded seventh and went on to finish fifth and qualify for the upcoming State Open. The junior hoped he would be at the tournament, but the realist in him didn’t think it would really be possible in his first full season. Now though, he is looking for more.
“I’m going to go in there confident, do what I came to do and just wrestle,” Rowe said. “I want to make a mark and I want to make sure that I am remembered. My next goal is to make it to New England’s and if not, I want all of the other wrestlers to think about it when I get there next year.”
Rowe isn’t just the only Hurricane still standing but has been a standout for the team all season. His head coach has noticed the work he put in this season and is impressed with the strides he has made.
“Jordyn has really turned a corner a corner this season and was really impressive at the state championships,” head coach Charles Ferguson said. “I think he should do well [at the state open] as long as we correct some of the mistakes he has made.”