Each day, from Sept. 3-8, we will preview one of Cheshire Academy’s fall varsity athletic teams.
Head coach: Dave Dykeman
Last year’s record: 8-1
Top returners: Antonio Giano ’19 (captain), OL; Jared Martino ’19, RB; Tanner Davis ’19, SS; Bryce Sebastian ’19, WR/CB; Malachi Burby ’19, DL; Cletus Mathurin ’19, DL; Jay Larosa ’19, K.
Top newcomers: Jordan Funk ’19, OL/DL; Andre Carter ’19, TE; Jack Brandon ’21, QB; Tyler Dinello ’20, WR/SS.
Season outlook: Despite losing 12 graduates who are now on college rosters this fall, Cheshire Academy remains a regional power and will again compete for a NEPSAC title. It starts up front for the Cats. This may be the most talent head coach Dave Dykeman has had up front in his seven years. Three likely Division I players highlight that group: Mathurin, Burby and Funk (Army commit).
The Cats are strong in the secondary as well with Dilenno (Yale commit), Sebastian (Boston College commit), Davis (Old Dominion commit) and Jordan Robinson ’20. Also, keep an eye on postgrad Adam Cohen ’19, a talented linebacker from Phillips Academy (MA).
On offense, Martino leads a punishing rushing attack behind a strong offensive line. Martino ran for 935 yards and 12 touchdowns last season. Brandon, a transfer from Buffalo, will replace Josh Comune ’19 who tore his ACL over the summer, and start at quarterback. He has plenty of weapons on the outside. Sebastian is a dynamic playmaker at wide receiver. Fellow receivers Robinson and Dilenno, along with tight end Carter, a transfer from Missouri City, Texas, should also see plenty of targets.
The Cats schedule is perhaps the most competitive of all New England prep schools this season. Cheshire Academy opens on the road at New Jersey power Hun School. The Cats will also face Suffield Academy, Deerfield Academy, St. Thomas More and Clarkson, one of the top teams in Canada.
Season opener: Sept. 9 at Hun School, 11 a.m.
Head coaches: Colleen Cruise, Thomas Mautner and Jaclyn Lionetti.
Top returners: Boys: Dale Jin ’19, Ray Dong ’19, Jumbo Yang ’19; Girls: Julia Shatalov ’21, Linda Lin ’19, May Ma ’19
Top newcomers: Boys: Mitchell Hardy ’22, Luke Parkerson ’22; Girls: Julie Zhang ’21.
Season outlook: Collectively, the Cats have a strong group of runners who have been with the program for a couple of years and continue to grow. Depth will be key. On the boys’ side, Jin, Dong and Yang will lead the way. Yang was the team’s top runner at the New England Championships last season. Look for freshmen Hardy and Parkerson to make an immediate impact. On the girls’ side, Shatalov has the potential to have a breakthrough season. She competed at the USA Triathlon Youth Elite National Championship last month and attended a cross country camp over the summer. Lin showed great improvement throughout last season and Cruise expects that to continue. Keep an eye on Zheng who has the potential to be among the Cats top runners right away. Cheshire Academy will the annual O’Connell Race on Sept. 29 and eight other teams. The Cats will have nine races leading up to the NEPSAC Division III Championships in November.
Season opener: Sept. 12 at the Chase Invitational, 3:45 p.m.
Head coach: Ed Banach
Last year’s record: 4-9-6
Top returners: Luca Mazella ’19 (captain), M; Will Tevie ’19 (captain), M; Omid Azodi ’19, D; Carlo Portillo Eckman ’19, D; Ivan Kapkov ’19, M; Owen Kempton ’20, G; Russ Tevie ’20, F; Ethan Benjamin ’20, D; Abraham Attah ’21, F.
Top newcomers: Theron Honey ’19, D; Marco Barosi ’21, F; Hazar Demerkol ’20, M; Omesi Abulu ’20, M.
Season outlook: Banach enters his sixth year as head coach of the Cats, who have 17 players returning. Cheshire Academy is deep and talented. The Cats schedule is filled with national and regional powers like South Kent Prep, Taft, Brunswick, Williston and Suffield Academy. Of their 18 games, 12 are against teams that earned NEPSAC playoff berths last season. Mazella was an All-New England selection last season, while Kempton and Russ Tevie were Western New England All-Stars. Tevie was also an all-state pick.
“This team is extremely close,” Banach said. “They have been together with me for so long now, we are glad with the opportunity to write this final chapter for this group and look forward to showing that growth and talent on the pitch.”
Season opener: Sept. 7 vs. Wooster, 7 p.m. at Simosa Field
Head coach: Tom Brady
Last year’s record: 18-1 (NEPSAC Class B champions)
Top returners: Kamila Zygadlo ’19, S; Kyla Raccio ’19, OH; Mia Tougas ’19, MH; Laci Norris ’21, RSH; Lexi Norris ’21, OH; Sadhana Sanker ’19, DS; Araceli Gonzalez ’19, OH.
Top newcomers: Jordan Chamberlain ’22, MH/OH.
Season outlook: The Cats enter the year as the defending NEPSAC Class B champions. Look for breakout seasons from Raccio and Kamila (65 kills, 74 aces, 234 assists). Cheshire Academy will look to Tougas, who has good size to provide a presence up front. The Norris twins will also see a larger role this season and Chamberlain, a three-sport athlete, should make an immediate impact. The Cats will rely on solid defense strong serving to be successful. Kayla Padroff ’14 joins the coaching staff, and the former team MVP will be a valuable addition. Cheshire Academy is aiming for its ninth straight NEPSAC postseason berth.
Season opener: Sept. 8 at Choate, 4:30 p.m.
Head coach: Lauren Kelly
Last year’s record: 5-9-3
Top returners: Sela Wiley ’19, M (captain); Sabrina Sands ’19, M (captain), Ally Breen ’19, F (captain), Reese Purdy ’21, F; Jaelynn Pittman ’21, M; Madeleine Silano ’21, M; Bri Bavaro ’20, G.
Top newcomers: Emma Riemann ’22, M; Stephanie Starrs ’22, G; Katie Welage ’21, M/F.
Season outlook: Kelly enters her first year as head coach of the Cats. She played collegiately at the University of St. Joseph in West Hartford. Cheshire Academy brings back some young talent which saw valuable playing time last season. Purdy is the top returning scorer (seven goals, six assists). Wiley also handed out five assists last season. The Cats have the talent and endurance to be competitive in NEPSAC Class B and improve on last year’s mark. Kelly has a pair of strong goalkeepers in Bavaro, last year’s starter, and a newcomer in Starrs. The Cats will look to keep the momentum going after winning three of their final four games in 2017.
Season opener: Sept. 5 at Rye Country Day, 4:15 p.m.
Last year’s record: 1-12-1
Top returners: Sarah Greenberg ’21, F; Amara Sorosiak ’19, F; Liv Redding ’20, G; Mia Ferry ’21, D.
Top newcomers: Julia Williamson ’20, F; Riley Norwood ’21, F.
Season outlook: The Cats are young, but have some talented athletes. They have good team speed and have shown the ability to transition the ball up the field well during preseason camp. Redding is a solid goalkeeper and recorded 141 saves last season. Ferry returns to lead the defense. Sorosiak is the team’s top returning scorer with three goals, so the Cats will need their forwards like Williamson and Norwood to step in immediately and contribute.
Season opener: Sept. 8 at 2 p.m. vs. Miss Porter’s, Simosa Field