After almost 60 years of pure hard work, the Brien McMahon Girls Track and Field team has finally earned the first division championship banner to be displayed in the gym.
The girls on the team went undefeated this outdoor season by beating teams like Darien, New Canaan and Ludlowe who were some of their fiercest competitors, only winning the Ludlowe meet by one point.
“This year the team did really well. To be honest I was not expecting to win every meet but we did! It also feels good to get a banner during my last season of high school track,” said Captain Savannah Bromley who was the highest point scorer on the girls team.
Ever since McMahon was established in 1960, the girls track team was seen as a secondary sport and unacknowledged by the school. Now, hopefully, with this astounding season, the track team will be seen as a vital part of McMahon athletics as it should be.
“This season has been the best one. We have gone undefeated which it is so cool to be a part of and I’m so proud of all the work everyone has put in,” adds sophomore Niamh Linehan.
After their final defining meet against Norwalk High, the girls came out on top with a score of 100 to 31 points. Now, the girls will move on to FCIACs and States, which many of the girls have qualified for.
“For States and FCIACs our competition increases, so while we will work hard as a team to place we will focus even more on each girls strengths and weaknesses to perform together and medal in our best events. With making history at McMahon and what we have already accomplished this season the pressure will increase as our expectations of the rest of the season have been raised, but with the bonds we have built this season with all teammates we will definitely be able to rise to the challenge,” adds Lister [pictured above]
PrideTime Senior Editor
NORWALK- Joseph Madaffari as been a part of the Brien McMahon community for 37 years and is now officially bringing an end to his career. Most who have passed through McMahon in the past 23 years have known Madaffari as their athletic director or gym teacher however when he began his career at McMahon, Madaffari was a math teacher and coach.
Madaffari says he finally decided to call it quits and move on to the next chapter of his life after 37 years because he could tell it was time for a change explaining “I don't know what that change is, but I need a change.”
Madaffari moved from being a math teacher to the athletic director (AD) after 14 years at McMahon. During his career as AD, Madaffari has seen McMahon at its best winning multiple FCIAC and State championships during his tenure. With all of that winning and all the other great things he does for the school, Madaffari was awarded the national athletic director of the year honor.
“First time I met Mad Dawg (Madaffari) was in 1988. I think he was the baseball and track coach at the time” said English teacher and golf coach Bo Kane.
Madaffari who says he's going to miss the growth of students through their four years at McMahon said “You have to put the student-athlete first. I mean you’re here for them. You’re here for them to reach goals. You’re here to mature them. You’re here so they'll make the right decisions later in life.” He also went on to add, “It's not about winning and losing, everyone wants to win. I want to win. I want to win in everything I play. I’ve kept that with me and I believe that the coaches beneath me share that same idea.”
Born and raised in Norwalk, Madaffari has lived here his entire life. In high school, he went to Norwalk High where he played catcher for the baseball team and quarterback of the football team. From there, he went to college at the University of North Carolina.
Today, when people think of McMahon athletics, Madaffari is easily one of the most recognizable names that comes to mind. “He’s an institution. There have only been three athletic directors that span McMahon’s entire history.” Kane remarked also adding “He’s done an amazing job running a hard to manage job with so many people.”
With Madaffari’s retirement announcement, McMahon would need a new AD. The replacement would need to be someone who embodies the senator spirit. John Cross was the man for the job.
“I think John Cross is going to be outstanding. I think… no, I know he is going to take this position to the next level as AD. I’m 100% sure of that” stated Madaffari when it came to his replacement.
Cross has been working at McMahon since 1998 as a science teacher and has been the baseball coach since 2002. Before that, Cross attended McMahon as a student where he played baseball for Madaffari. “I’ve known him for a while and he's really got his act together. He's a great fit for the job, he's going to do amazing” said art teacher and tennis coach William Pierce.
Madaffari also wanted to make sure he shouted out the staff at McMahon saying that they are some of the best he's seen while traveling the nation on workshops and such. He mentioned principal Scott Hurwitz saying that he loves the students and is going to do amazing things for the school.
He also wanted to shout out his physical education department and longtime friend Steven Annunziato. “Nunz [Annunziato] and I coached football and baseball together, I’m going to miss my Nunz. I’m going to miss my PE department. Kenny, Phil, Stephany, Torry, Ilene, and of course the rookie Mr. Jacoby… the rookie.”
Following his retirement, Madaffari says he’s going to stay active as he still is assistant commissioner for the FCIAC. He’s also going to teach some classes at the University of Bridgeport in leadership. “I’m going to spend some time with my kids and play some golf. A lot of golf.”
When Kane heard about Madaffari’s plans to play a lot of golf, he chuckled and jokingly remarked “Good athlete but has the foot wedge in his bag and definitely knows how to walk the dog if you know what I’m saying.”
When looking back on his career, Madaffari became a bit choked up walking through his time at McMahon. “I’m struggling because when you're at a location for as long as I've been, it's part of your life and it's tough to break away from something that means so much to you. I mean ‘Once a Senator, Always a Senator.’”
PrideTime Senior Editor
Boys baseball took home the 11-0 win through 5 innings of play against Central high school on what will most likely be the last game the seniors of Brien McMahon ever play on Pride Field.
Both teams started off the game slow with the neither team scoring a run until the fourth inning when McMahon’s Korey Morton (‘20) knocked a solo home run out of the park.
Senior Shane Popkins added to the lead sending one over the fence with a grand slam. “It was one of the greatest moments I’ve had in my baseball career in a while, and to end off my final home game like that is something I will never forget.”
It wasn’t only the Senator’s amazing offense that contributed to the win, but also their outstanding defence. Allowing no runs through the game and only 3 hits with 11 strikeouts, Max Pomponi (‘19) was the team’s defensive anchor.
“It felt really good in a must win game so I’m excited and it was a great performance from my teammates to back me up like they always do” said Pomponi.
The game was brought to an abrupt stop once the lead got too large to overcome. The mercy rule was enacted in the 5th inning bring and end to the game and closing out the seniors’ career with a bang.
On May 16th, make sure you head over to Norwalk High Testa field at 6:30 to see the Senator men take on rival Norwalk in their last, and most important game of the season.
With both teams fighting to make states, the stakes have been raised. After an easy win by the McMahon girls lax team against Norwalk, the boys are real pumped. “Being my last game against Norwalk and the state qualifying game, I’m gonna put my whole heart into this game and leave everything on the field.” Says senior captain, Andrew Trujillo.
While the senators haven’t had a picture perfect season, they are still prepared to take on cross town rivals. “We’re watching lots of film this week and making adjustments so we know what to do when the day comes.” Says John Gatt (‘19). You can catch Gatt in the net blocking shots during Thursday's game. He adds, “Gary Claps (‘21) will be an important player for this game with the faceoffs. Also Ian Campbell (‘19) and Charlie Coale (‘20) are going to make some big moves.”
“Our strengths as a team are defense and ball movement on offense.” Trujillo adds. With a brick wall defense consisting of big men Andrew Trujillo, Peter Young (‘19), Danny Macintyre (‘21) and Gatt in goal, the Bears will have a hard time scoring.
With Bret Rodgers (‘19), William Acuna (‘19), and Ian Campbell (‘19) on offense, the Senators have good chances at a high scoring game.
While McMahon seems to have all-around strong team, the Norwalk High Bears will definitely come in hot on their home field. Make sure you’re there for the game of the season, Thursday at 6:30.
On April 9, 2019 McMahon Varsity girls Lacrosse played Trumbull on their turf. The game started with high energy which was broken for a moment with the terrible accident that struck one of McMahon’s teammates, Caitlyn Hocker. Hocker (‘20), was running for a ground ball when she was struck from behind by a Trumbull midfield player, causing them to both fall with the girl landing on top of Hocker.
“Caitlyn is usually the type of person that can walk off hits. When she didn’t get up and continued to lie on the ground, I knew something was wrong.” Sophia Tarasidis (‘19.) Hocker said she heard a crack and then found herself lying on the ground in an extreme amount of pain.
“I watched the Trumbull girl ram in to Cait and when she fell I heard a crazy loud crack. It was super scary and I knew right away something had broken. I know I speak for everyone on the team when I say we’re devastated that she can’t play the rest of the season.” Hatsie Dune, (‘21)
After being down for a couple minutes, Hocker was carried off the field and set down on the sidelines. At this time, she talked to the trainer who was trying to figure out what had happened. The Trumbull trainor, Mike Dias, had said to Caitlyn “that a crack doesn’t always mean a break”, so she took his word for it. Caitlyn still knew that she would be out for a couple games.
The next day, Hocker went to the doctor to get x-rays. “The doctor came in and immediately told me it was broken, no sugarcoating it. She told me I had a clean break through the bottom of my fibula and that I wouldn’t need surgery and it’d be a normal recovery for a bone break.”
Injuries to a teammate during a game can be a huge factor in the change of people's mindset and the way they play. After her injury, Caitlyn noticed the energy lower on the field. Everyone was affected by what happened to her in that moment. The team quickly changed this energy and started to use what happened to Hocker as a way of improving their playing. They ended the game with a hard fight and although they lost, this was one of the highest energy games and toughest games they played this season.
“I think it overall pushes some of my teammates to work even harder and play even harder” Says Hocker (20’)
Although Caitlyn cant play, she still shows up to almost every practice and game. She is still on the team and wants to support them through the end,She works very hard on being a leader off the field and helping them every way she can.
“I’m sad that this is going to be my last year playing sports competitively but I’m also very proud of how far I come!”
When she starts her senior year, and being a soon to be two-year captain, she has set goals not only for herself and her teammates but for the athletic program in general. She hopes for success and to enjoy her soon-to-be last year at McMahon.
“I’m looking forward to my senior year a lot actually. I’m excited for what it has to bring and just moving forward with both volleyball and basketball. I’m so excited to see the social aspects of senior year and my two IB classes.”
Skidmore joined the McMahon Volleyball team her freshman year starting off on JV. Not only was she phenomenal on JV, but her left hand dominance was in her advantage and quickly recognizable to be bumped up to varsity her sophomore year. Then her junior year, Skidmore was nominated as one of the four captains.
“This volleyball season I am going to try and make All-FCIAC. As a captain I want to lead my team to more wins this season but also work on my personal skills!”
Not only is Skidmore a great athlete, but she is very dedicated to her education as well. Skidmore hopes to strive both in and out of school by being able to manage her time with the responsibilities set on her from coaches, teachers, and family members.
“Senior year is going to be difficult and I need to focus on school before sports so I’m not sure if I’m going to play three seasons.”
As this year’s seniors are already decided on their next steps after high school, it’s time for the new seniors to start the college process. Skidmore isn’t set on her future yet, for it is too early, but what she does know is that her athletic involvement won’t end in high school.
“I don’t plan on being a D1 athlete for the school I attend but I will definitely join club sports or intramural.”
Being a successful is not handed to a team. There is dedication and hard work that everyone on the team needs to give 110% for the success they want. Skidmore’s goal is to show dedication and show the underclassmen to fight and work for what they want.
Skidmore finds good chemistry important as well, she wants to make sure everyone has an enjoyable season and no one is left out. She has set her own individual goals to try and reach out to the underclassmen and new incoming freshmen.
“As a captain I want to make sure my teams’ bond well this season. I want to make us all be friends or just like each other. I think it will help a lot with the way we play and relationships both on and off the court.”
For those underclassmen and new incoming freshman, Skidmore is more than happy to work with everyone and give advice to those who need it to better their skills. Her advice to those new athletes is:
“GO FOR IT! Playing a sport is a great way to stay in shape, meet new friends, and have a great time. If your worried about making the team just give 110% and come to pre season works.”
By: Sophia Tarasidis
Ever since her high school years, Ashley Labrador, has maintained a relationship with sports.
In High School, Labrador was a three-sport varsity athlete and still stays active in her free time. Not only has she been an amazing athletic trainer, but she is also a friend to many of the athletes here at McMahon.
“I like how she plays around with her athletes and shes easy to talk to,” said Caitlyn Hocker (‘20), a junior that has found herself in Labradors’ room very often due to a recent injury.
Labrador has made her room a fun environment for athletes and students.
“It's a comforting space where you always feel welcome,” Lila Young (‘21) said.
Labrador has worked at Brien McMahon for five years and has had quite the impact on the student athletes that are constantly in and out of her room.
She's not only a trainer but she's also a motivator.
Labrador uses her extensive knowledge of how to stay in shape, and how to prevent injuries, to challenge the athletes she works with every day.
Weather its taking a nap, getting wrapped before a game, or simply filling your water bottle, Labrador has made herself and her room a friend to the students at Brien McMahon High School.
By: Lila Young
Ty Guarente, an alumni jv lacrosse coach, was in a serious car accident on the night of Monday, April 22nd, on his way to practice.
The rain that night caused the accident making the car flip with severe injuries to Ty that included 3 broken ribs, a lacerated spleen, and a broken thoracic spine.
The thoracic spine is the most severe injury not allowing Ty to feel from the waist down.
Coach Ty dealt mainly with freshman players, one of his players Teddy Klein (‘22), had a lot of positive things to say about coach Ty during this recovery process.
“ I strive to have the same battling spirit that he brought to our lacrosse sideline each and everyday,” Klein said.
It’s a very important time in Ty’s life to not give up and bring that same battle from the lacrosse field to the fight of his life.
Brien McMahon Lacrosse has done a very powerful thing for one of their own, they realized Ty is going to have thousands of dollars in medical bills.
A close family member thought it would be a great idea to set up a Go Fund Me page (link at the bottom). This page has raised up to $46,755 for Ty’s future medical bills.
The McMahon community came together and shared this page to social media and is making a huge effort to help reach the goal of the page of $50,000.
The community has done a great thing for a great guy many of his players stated, he wasn’t just a coach to me but a mentor.
Please help reach the pages goal of $50,000 and donate for Ty!
Paul Louikenson, a junior at Brien McMahon High School and a starter at the center position for the varsity football team, already has big-time colleges like Villanova, Umass, Uconn, and CCSU looking into him.
Lucky is one of the top recruits for the 2020 class. Paul Louikenson doesn’t go by his name, rather he goes as Paul “Lucky”. If you knew what Lucky has been through then you’d know that Lucky is the perfect name to describe him.
On January 12, 2010, Haiti was struck with an earthquake that left the island in ruins. Lucky explained that he was at school when it happened and he watched his mom in a hero act as she pulled his teacher away from a wall that soon fell.
Lucky explained that it was hard to watch his beautiful country fall into pieces. After the earthquake Lucky was sent to Norwalk, Connecticut, where he would live with his dad.
“Coming out for the football team was a challenge. There are many times that you just want to give up but when you got a good group of people around you, pushing you, every second how could you quit.”
Lucky said it was him and his dad for a while, and he needed something to take his mind off what he was going through and football was his escape.
“This team is your family through the hot summer days and the cold nights. Those guys that are out there with you, giving all they have, their blood sweat and tears. How could you not call them your family?”
For Lucky, football has taught him a lot and football is shaping him into the man that he wants to be. Coach Q, who took over the program this year, is a big part of that, according to Lucky. He’s tough, Lucky reflected, but he knows that he’s just preparing him for life.
“I wouldn’t even be in this position if it wasn’t for my family and my teammates always being there for me.”
Brian Ehlers a junior at Brien McMahon, suffered from an injury on his left leg that he suffered from at practice by getting hit from a hard ground ball. Ehlers isn’t really sure how long it will take to heal. “It could be a couple of weeks at least for the bump to fully go away” said Ehlers.
Surprisingly, Ehlers has been playing with the leg injury but is also suffering with a back strain which is keeping him from playing. His teammates were so shocked about this incident when they have found out one of their star players had been injured.
“All my teammates were speechless about how big and badly bruised my leg was and also about my back being strained” stated Ehlers.
The season is almost coming to an end and Ehlers is very worried if he will be able to play or not. Ehlers’ coach told him not to worry too much about it. He’s been trying to relieve the pain on his leg by heating it and getting it massaged to remove all the blood from under the skin. “Coach told me it wasn’t really a big deal, and to relax the leg and to just let it heal up itself.”
Ehlers has suffered from many injuries over the past two years. Including broken hand, sprained AC joint, a subluxed shoulder, a strained hip flexor, and now dealing with a back strain. “Going through all these injuries, I just hope that I will be able to heal this injury very fast in order to play this season.”
Here are a few tips to help you as a soccer player to prepare for any away tournament.
The first tip in preparing for a tournament is your packing list. Make sure you have your uniforms, your warm-up and practice kits and then your cleats. (Bring two pairs if possible, just incase.)
After you finish packing your soccer items, you want to get all of your other necessities; toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, sneakers, extra clothes, etc. Senior soccer player, Jonathan Jimenez, who plays for the national champion New York City Football Club academy team said, “I usually pack all my soccer things first and then my regular clothes and I always bring 2 pairs of cleats in case one of them breaks.”
The second tip is preparation and what you do before the game that is going to help you succeed. You have to make sure you eat healthy like pasta, vegetables and fruits, and you have to make sure you drink loads of water. You also have to make sure you stretch a lot so that your body can be prepared for the extensive amounts of games.
“I’m at a tournament I usually drink 5-6 bottles of water before game time. I stretch in my hotel room extensively and at the field I get my final stretches going. The night before game day I’ll eat lots of pasta and salad usually.” said Jimenez
The third tip is the type of music you listen too. Listen to the type of music you believe prepares your mind the most before your games whether it be Hip-Pop, Rnb, Pop, Country, etc. According to statics, listening to any type of music before a game boosts your performance level about 10%.
Another senior soccer player, Eduardo Vargas, who plays for FC Westchester said “I listen to music that hypes me up, like rap and hip-hop and I love listening to Drake and the Migos.”
The last tip is the snacks you should bring. Bring fruits that will not rot after a couple of days like apples, bananas, oranges, etc. Apples will give you nutrition, oranges will provide you calcium and bananas will give you potassium so you do not cramp up during the games. Also bring granola bars, all of these food items will help fuel your energy before and during your soccer games. “I usually bring granola bars, fruits, like bananas, apples and strawberries” said Vargas.
Hopefully after reading this you will have a better understanding on how to be prepared for tournaments.
On March 8th, at the Armory Indoor Track in New York City, well know McMahon student-athlete Justin Forde (‘19) finished his senior indoor track season with a national triple jump title.
“This meant a lot, it was like a reassurance that all the work I put in wasn’t for no reason. I am a special athlete and I have to work really hard at everything I do to make sure I become the best high schooler to ever do triple jump and this was a major step into completing that goal,” said Forde.
This national title was a huge accomplishment for McMahon. It helped to show other students and staff at McMahon what their track program stood for. “This means so much to the McMahon track program because it is an indication that all of our student-athletes that are working hard are on the right path to where they want to be athletically.” said Track and Field coach Patrick Bradley.
After winning the nationals Forde now holds three records for triple jump with 51.3 feet; one for McMahon, one for the state of Connecticut and one for New England which besides Connecticut includes Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island.
The preparation and mindset before the match was very important for Forde who was coming off of an ankle injury just a few weeks prior. “Due to Forde being cleared just two weeks before the event the main focus in preparing was mentally letting him know that he is a top notch athlete and that he knows he can do it and just going out their and do it was the very important speech.” said Bradley.
“My mindset going into the event was to go all in and give everything I had no matter the outcome because I wanted to walk away with no regrets,” said Forde.
With the season starting on April 9th Forde and the rest of the rack program hope to come out with a bang. “The plan for the spring season is to break the national record and become national Gatorade player of the year,” said Forde.
Troy Bardos (‘19) committed to Central Connecticut State University on March 7, 2019. You may see Bardos walking around the school with headphones in listening to music saying hi to a few people and going on with his day.
“I joined track because Albano made me. Plus, my dad was also influencing me to do it,” says Bardos. He went on mentioned that football used to be the sport that he wanted to do great in and never had any intentions of doing good in Track and Field because all of his focus was on football. His dad helped him by saying that doing track would help him a lot with football and soon the then freshman listened to his dad and joined track.
At the time he had no idea that he would fall in love with the sport. Bardos explained that he chose to compete in jumping events because coach Rudy Matute knew of his father’s background. Troy's dad held the McMahon record for high jump for 32 years jumping a height of 6’7 ½ inches.
When asked if he wants to beat his dad's high jump record, Troy responded: “No I'm poop at high jump but I just want to strive to be the best jumper in the state and make it to nationals.”
Troy competes in high jump, triple jump, and long jump. He is pretty good at all three with a high jump personal record of 5’10ft, a long jump personal record of 21ft, and a triple jump personal record of 40ft.
What keeps Bardos coming back is the hard work that he puts in and getting to see his results. Track and Field is one sport where if you do put in a lot of hard work you will see it pay off and Bardos loves that feeling of getting a new personal best and receiving a medal from all his hard work.
Bardos explained that each jumping event has it's own art and he loves that about jumping. It’s not like you approach every jump the same way, like as if he were running. Bardos likes that fact that he has someone like Justin Forde (‘19) on his team because it motivates him each and every day to do better.
Come support Bardo's jump on April 9, at Jack Casagrande field against Stamford High Black knights at 4:00.
As the third and final season of sports rolls around, there are a couple of rising stars to watch in lacrosse and outdoor track. Students like Caitlyn Hocker (‘20), John Gatt (‘19) and Savannah Bromley (‘19) have major potential for the spring season.
The McMahon girls lacrosse team has started to climb the ladder of success over the past two years by making States for the first time in eight years last season. Returning starter, Caitlyn Hocker, has had a great time with the team for the last three years and explains how their growth is phenomenal. They averaged eleven goals per game, which is twice as high as the boy's lacrosse team.
“I think MLax [Brien McMahon Lacrosse] has a very bright future. The program is building and our coaches have worked hard to bring up the intensity of the program.”
Not only has girls lacrosse gotten better over the years, but boys lacrosse has also started to improve. With star goalie Peter Ripperger having left for University of Delaware, John Gatt must try and fill his shoes to keep McMahon’s record where it was last year, or even better.
“I think the future is really bright for McMahon lacrosse. We truly have one of the best coaching staffs in the FCIAC that are dedicated to us becoming a top program. I hope that in a few years that we'll be able to compete with the best teams in the state.”
Savannah Bromley also has big goals for her spring track season. After making Outdoor Nationals last year, she aims to increase her main event, high jump, as well as the 4x100m relay, 200m and, hopefully, the 4x400m relay.
“I was pleased with how our 4x100 relay team did this year but I wish I did better in high jump.” Bromley explained.
Andrew Trujillo (7) Brian Andrade (11) Carlos Trujillo (15) Will Acuna (16)
Lacrosse season is starting soon and the boys are ready to go off this season as they start their first game is home on April 1st against Staples High School. The captains for the team are Bret Rodgers (‘19), Andrew Trujillo (‘19), John Gatt (‘19), and Ian Campbell (‘19).
Carlos Trujillo (‘19) feels that this team will have a chance to states. Having lost their star player from last year, Peter Ripperger(‘18), the team hopes this year they will be able to work together and try even harder to get a chance into states and FCIACS. The team has also recruited new players.
“There’s a lot of new people that are starting to play, so we hope this team will grow and go for a better record this year” said Carlos Trujillo.
With the lacrosse team having a new coach, they hope to build a chemistry and go undefeated this season.
“Our new coach is amazing! He’s the best coach I know, he treats us all like family and he actually wants us to succeed” added Trujillo.
Malik Goethe (19’) is entering his second year playing lacrosse and feels that this season is going to look very promising. Goethe really enjoys this sport and is glad to be part of the team again stating. “I can’t wait for this season to start and show everyone what I can do on the field. New year, new me.”