Two local athletes turned in dominant all-around performances last week, some of which turned out to be historic.
With area teams looking to make an impact in postseason play or ensure it will make it to that stage, strong individual performances were needed to move those goals forward. At least two teams received that from crucial positions.
Southington’s Andie Nadeau and Plainville’s Christian Collin are this week’s Athletes of the Week for dominating in multiple facets of their respective sports.
The Southington girls swim team claimed eight of 12 events at last week’s CCC championships, and the junior standout led the way for the Blue Knights while also leaving a lasting mark on the program itself.
Nadeau anchored Southington’s 200 and 400 freestyle relay teams to first-place finishes at Wednesday’s event in West Hartford, and enjoyed plenty of her own individual success with top finishes in the 200 and 500 freestyle events. Her final times of 1:58.40 and 5:18.88 both broke school records, with her mark in the 500 freestyle breaking a program record that had been held since 1982.
“Andie has been a standout from day one of her freshman year,” Southington head coach Evan Tuttle said. “Now as a junior, after three more years of diligent and relentless work she has elevated herself to not only a multi-time conference champion and an all-conference recipient, but a school record holder as well. In doing so, she has elevated the stature of the program as a whole.”
Nadeau’s performance in the conference championships came after double-winner performances in two of her last three regular season meets, as the junior seems to be finding her peak at just the right time with state competition beginning this week.
After losing team captain, state finalist and a school record holder Julie Duszak last season (while also losing eight other contributing seniors), Tuttle and the Blue Knights were looking for other swimmers to step up and lead the team to another successful season. Nadeau, in her first year as an upperclassmen, has helped shoulder that role and helped lead Southington to another 8-2 regular season, and capped that off with a historic performance against the top competition in the conference.
It has been a season of success and recognition for Nadeau, but Tuttle is most impressed by his junior’s ability to remain humble despite cementing herself as one of the top freestyle swimmers in school history.
“You may not hear too much out of Andie, but her work in and out of the pool, and the success she has attained as a result, speaks volumes more than words ever could,” Tuttle said. “She serves as an exemplary model of what can happen when one sets clear goals, and works each and every day toward their attainment.”
Nadeau and a number of other Southington swimmers are heading into state competition, and the Plainville football team is hoping it makes it there as well. Heading into Saturday afternoon’s matchup with Avon, the Blue Devils, at 5-2 on the year, were ranked ninth in Class S and just one spot away from a state tournament slot. Their junior quarterback Collin made sure his team had a good case to move into the top eight heading into this week’s action.
Collin threw for 236 yards and two touchdowns in a 34-7 win on the road, while running for 176 yards and another touchdown, helping Plainville’s state tournament aspirations in the process.
“It was a huge win,” Collin said. “This gives us more hope for playing in December.”
Collin helped set the tone for the rout with a memorable run in the first quarter, turning a seemingly unproductive play into a 68-yard touchdown run by shedding a trio of tackles and changing direction twice, including running the full width of the field before finding the open space he needed to give the Blue Devils a 14-0 lead.
His passing, which he has made a point of emphasis to improve as the season progresses, had an equal impact on Saturday’s win. His two touchdown passes were for 41 and 76 yards, the latter which came on third-and-long and put the game away in the fourth quarter.
Should Collin continue his current level of production, which also includes a game-winning touchdown run against Tolland three weeks ago, Plainville could very well take its next two games (against Lewis Mills and Farmington) and be in the state tournament, playing those December games that Collin craves.