The past week in local sports saw some area athletes acknowledging the conclusion of a high school career, and some celebrating the continuation of one.
Whether it was a junior shining on Senior Night or National Signing Day, these two local talents in Southington’s Carter Uhlman and New Britain’s Maya Slisz were recognized for their successful high school careers at their respective schools this past week, and are this week’s Athletes of the Week.
Uhlman’s season has been over since December after helping lead the Southington football team to the Class LL state semifinals, but his football career is far from over. The senior signed on to play at Saint Anselm College in New Hampshire on Wednesday, officially beginning the next chapter in a playing career that includes an All-State selection after a standout season on the gridiron in 2019.
“Everything just fit,” Uhlman said of his visit and eventual commitment to Division-II Saint Anselm. “I thought I would be stupid to pass up this school.”
Uhlman racked up 640 receiving yards and seven touchdown receptions during his senior season, while being his usual reliable self in terms of his presence on the field. A top target for the Blue Knights’ offense, Uhlman played in all 12 games for Southington, which finished 10-2 on the year thanks to Uhlman’s big-play ability, as his longest reception of the season at 55 yards was the highest on the team.
“He’s as tough as they come,” head coach Mike Drury said. “There are no excuses from him. In his three years with the varsity program, he’s missed a couple of days at most, and the majority of the time it was us slowing him down and saying he needed to get some rest, but he would fight it. That toughness is meant for the next level.”
Uhlman also had one of the biggest scores of the season, scoring the game-winner against Ridgefield in the Class LL state quarterfinals. He will join a Saint Anselm team that went 4-7 last season and 4-4 conference play. Uhlman was one of 24 commitments to the Hawks last week.
The past week also was Senior Night for the New Britain girls basketball team, and while Slisz still has another year after this season, the junior guard made sure her senior teammates got a win on a night dedicated to them.
Slisz led New Britain with 12 points in a dominant win over Hartford Public on Thursday night, shortly after the team’s senior core was honored before its final home game of the regular season. The win for the Hurricanes was the team’s second in a row and fourth in its last five games, with one of the parallels being Slisz’s strong play during this successful stretch for New Britain.
Over the last five contests, Slisz is averaging 17 points per game, with one of her top performances coming against Wethersfield, the No. 3 ranked team in the state at the time, per the GameTimeCT poll. Slisz scored 18 points in that home victory over the Eagles, which also clinched the Hurricanes’ first state tournament berth in three years. With the help of Slisz, New Britain has won more games this season than it did in the past two seasons combined, highlighting how far the upperclassmen like Slisz have come in recent seasons.
“Maya has shown much improvement as a leader this year and only being a junior,” head coach Marc Wesoly said. “She has hit some big shots for us this year. She is not shy about wanting the ball in a big game situation and willing to take the shot. She has been a tremendous leader and teammate this season while averaging about 14 points per game.”
Slisz has shown her clutch ability earlier in the season when she hit a game-tying buzzer-beater to send a game against Plainville to overtime in the Rybczyk Tournament, where she later helped the Hurricanes win the tournament and earn herself the tournament MVP.
She has also shown an ability to thrive in a leadership role for a New Britain team that isn’t short on seniors, but the group still can look to Slisz to lead the team on and off the court thanks to her dedication to preparation.
“She is a student of the game and watches film on herself and of a future opponent,” Wesoly said. “She is a coach on the floor and I am very fortunate to have her for another year. We are having a successful year and a lot has to do with the six seniors we have but also Maya because they all have been playing together for the last three years during the season, fall season and summer seasons.”
Slisz has also shined in the classroom with a 3.9 GPA, and hopes to help the Hurricanes continue their march toward one of their most memorable seasons in recent history.