Looking back at the best from high school sports

Ken Morse

Summer is in full swing, but we’re still in retrospective mode. As we start July, we want to take another look back at the best that the Hawks and ‘Hounds had to offer during the last sporting year.

This time, we’ll take a look back at the top 10 local athletes from the class of 2018. We’ve picked 10 of the best from this graduating class, listed in no particular order.

Erika Michie (Woodland track and field): The Woodland speedster was named the Naugatuck Valley League’s Most Outstanding Sprinter at the NVL outdoor track and field championships, winning the 100 and 200 meters for the second year in a row, and helped the Hawks claim their sixth straight NVL title.

Aren Seeger (Naugatuck soccer, track and field): The Naugy hurdler was named the Naugatuck Valley League’s Most Outstanding Hurdler at the NVL outdoor track and field championships, finishing second in the 110 and the 300 hurdles, before going on to win the 110 hurdles and finishing runner-up in the 300 hurdles at the Class L championship. Seeger didn’t stop there. He then won the State Open championship in the 300 hurdles. This came after the goalie helped the Naugy soccer team win its fifth straight NVL title with a memorable free kick and reach the Class LL state championship game.

Dia Gawronski (Woodland swimming): A dynamo in the pool, Gawronski leaves Woodland as the best swimmer in the program’s history after helping to guide the Hawks to their first Naugatuck Valley League championship. Gawronski left her mark on the record books as well. She broke multiple records at the NVL meet alone. She broke the Woodland school record, the Kennedy pool record, the NVL record and the NVL championship meet record in the 100 butterfly. In the 500 free, Gawronski, who will swim for the Air Force Academy, set the Woodland school record, the Kennedy pool record and the NVL championship record.

Brian Goggin (Naugatuck swimming): Goggin left his mark on the Naugy boys swim team, earning All-NVL honors during his four years in the pool and helping the Greyhounds to finish runner-up in the NVL three years in a row. Goggin placed in the top ten in two individual events at the Class L championship, finishing seventh in the 50 freestyle and eighth in the 100 butterfly.

Ivy Geloso (Woodland softball): A four-year softball player, Geloso guided a young squad back to the state tournament after the team missed out last season for the first time in school history. Geloso led the Hawks from the pitching circle after stepping up last season to pitch when the Hawks needed her. She fanned 11 hitters against Seymour, a two-time defending state champion, in a game April 20. She was named All-NVL, adding a steady .530 average at the plate.

Mike Plasky (Naugatuck football): The All-Iron Division quarterback led the Greyhounds (9-2) to nine straight wins to start the season and a spot in the state playoffs for the first time since 2014. Against Wolcott on Nov. 3, Plasky was 12-for-21 passing for 154 yards and one score, and added 47 yards and two touchdowns on the ground as Naugatuck beat the Eagles, 61-22, to win the Iron Division title. For the season, Plasky threw for 1,346 yards and 14 touchdowns while running for 165 yards and four more touchdowns.

Matt Luxeder (Woodland cross country, track and field): Luxeder was an integral part of the first undefeated regular season for the Woodland boys cross country team in school history. The senior routinely finished first at meets and took fourth at the Naugatuck Valley League championships to earn All-NVL honors. At the Class M state meet, Luxeder had the top finish for the Hawks with 19th place. In the spring, he ran with the track and field team and was part of the boys 4×400 relay team that placed eighth at NVLs.

Alyana Sosa (Naugatuck soccer, basketball): The Greyhounds’ point guard helped lead Naugatuck, which finished the regular season 17-3 and earned the No. 3 seed in the Naugatuck Valley League girls basketball tournament, on an unexpected run to the NVL championship game. In a quarterfinal game against Crosby, Sosa led the way with 21 points and also had three rebounds, three assists and eight steals. For the season, she averaged 8.6 points and was named All-Iron Division. In the fall, Sosa could be found on the pitch where she routinely found the back of the net and earned All-NVL honors.

Eliza Smith (Woodland soccer, basketball): On the court, Smith was a double-digit scorer and was named to the All-Iron Division team. One of two seniors on the basketball team, along with Haley Andrews, Smith help guide the Hawks to the Class M state tournament, where they won their first postseason game since 2011, a 53-23 win over Platt Tech in the qualifying round. Smith led the Hawks with 16 points in the game. During the fall season, Smith led the defensive effort for the girls soccer team and was named All-NVL.

Julia Pelliccia (Naugatuck volleyball, softball): The Naugatuck softball team reached the Class L quarterfinals for the first time since 2009, thanks in large part to Pelliccia’s hot bat. The leadoff hitter for the Greyhounds notched six hits in two victories to open the tournament, including a four-hit performance in an upset win over Windsor. In the quarterfinal game versus Jonathan Law, a 5-2 loss, Pelliccia had a hit and run scored. She earned All-NVL and All-State honors in softball. In the fall, Pelliccia was one of six seniors on the volleyball team, which reached the second round of the state tournament.