With the fall sports season over, the time for the All-States awards has arrived. Bethel High School received five awards given to Chris Valenti and Javier Reyes for football, Madison Duffy for volleyball, Christina Romano for field hockey, and John Sorice for soccer.
Many might not understand what All-State is or why it is such a prestigious title. It is an honorary team featuring the best players from all over Connecticut. Mr. Gill, the head football coach, explains, “The Connecticut High School Coaches Association puts out an All-State team for each class. The classes have to do with the size of the school, we are a class M, for medium.” We have a football, soccer, volleyball, and field hockey player in the M class, and Chris Valenti, football player, is in the best of the best All-State football team.
“This year,” Gill continued, “they put out a best of the best team, and Chris Valenti was awarded best offensive and defensive tackle.” Gill refers to Valenti as “One of the best offensive linemen I have ever coached.”
Chris has been accepted into Harvard, and plans on playing football for them next year. When asked about how his award has influenced his college admissions he said “All-State definitely helps, if you can have it down on a resume it draws attention.” While he may not be playing as a starter next year, having this award will certainly help him get to play. “Last year during the playoffs, when we beat New London, the 1st in the division, we absolutely dismantled them. It was a team effort and I was proud to be part of it.”
Javier Reyes joined Valenti as an All-State football player, “When I found out I made All-State I was surprised,” Reyes explained. “I was not expecting it. But when I found out I was happy and in disblief that I made it because I though I had fallen short of that goal”
Christina Romano, with her 7+ concussions, rightfully was awarded All-State in field Hockey. “It was a big accomplishment,” she says. “It shows recognition of my hard work.” Christina continued to state that to achieve in sports requires, “Dedication, determination, commitment,” and most importantly, “Go to practice every day.” Her highlight was Senior Night, and a game that she tied by saving a goal against Laurelton Hall.
John Sorice, soccer player, felt immensely proud of his award, “But I couldn’t have done it without my teammates,” he was quick to remind. His method of achievement is simple, but daunting, “Work your ass off. Work for three years and it pays. You don’t have to be the most talented, you just have to work hard.” His proudest moment was winning states, but even “going to practice every day with our team was awesome.”
Madison Duffy started playing varsity volleyball her freshman year and was instrumental in winning the SWC with her blocking. She is the first junior volleyball player in Bethel High School history to be awarded an All-State award. “She plays all year round,” said Ms. Lerz, the volleyball coach, “To help her be a pro athlete she plays club volleyball in the winter and spring.”
Mr. Goodwin, the school’s athletic director, was quick to assure that while it looks good on a resume, and colleges will notice, “less than 1% of student athletes move on to college sports,” he explains.
While the effect of All-States on our senior’s future careers are uncertain, one thing is for certain, it is a great personal achievement that will for certain have the long lasting effect of giving these athletes personal pride and confidence in their abilities.