Tag Archives: Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference

Roundup: Stores, Staples Players, Sustainable Westport, Sports, More


In yesterday’s story on a new movie shot in Westport, I casually mentioned that Barnes & Noble is moving.

I did not mention where.

Its new home will be the former Restoration Hardware (and before that, Fine Arts I and II theater). Looks like the bookstore-and-more will be downsizing — after enlarging from its first Westport location (the old Pier One, just east of its current Post Road site — soon to be the new Saugatuck Grain & Grape).

So what will replace the current Barnes & Noble?

Word on the street is it’s a grocery store — possibly Amazon Go.

That would be fascinating — and not just because Westport is ripe for advanced shopping technology.

The other reason: The previous tenant, before Barnes & Noble, was Waldbaum’s.

Changes coming soon


There’s not much wonderful about 2020. But “It’s a Wonderful Life” was a wonderful 1946 film. And this Sunday (November 22, 6 p.m.) it will be a wonderful radio show, courtesy of Staples Players.

Though the high school is closed, dozens of students — actors, the tech crew, sound effects people — have been working remotely.

Which is exactly how audiences around the globe will experience the old-time, very cool show on Sunday. They’ll gather around their radios — and devices — to enjoy a wonderful experience.

In true “show must go on” fashion, directors David Roth and Kerry Long are devising ways for actors to multi-task, and come up with sound effects on their own. At the same time, they’re solving complicated technical problems.

“As always, they’re rising to the occasion,” Long reports.

To join the (free!) livestream fun, click  on www.wwwptfm.org. Westport-area residents can tune in to WWPT, 90.3 FM.

Colin Konstanty rehearses his George Bailey role, in “It’s a Wonderful Life,” before Staples High School went to full remote learning. (Photo/Kerry Long)


Sustainable Westport Advisory Team — a town body — will become simply Sustainable Westport. The new non-profit organization becomes a partner with Earthplace.

The group — which educates Westport residents and businesses to become a Net Zero community by 2050 — will continue to work with town officials.

Public Works director Peter Ratkiewich and operations director Sara Harris will be “sustainability coordinators” (aka “liaisons”).

If you think Net Zero by 2050 is far off — it’s not. It’s just as near to us as 1990.


COVID knocked out last spring’s high school sports season. Fall athletes played modified schedules. Now the virus has taken a toll on winter sports.

This morning, the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference postponed the start date for tryouts and conditioning to January 19. Hundreds of  Staples students had been slated to start basketball, gymnastics, ice hockey, indoor track, skiing, squash, swimming, wrestling and cheerleading around Thanksgiving.

Earlier this month, the state issued new rules for youth sports — those run by outside (non-high school) organizations.

High-risk sports — wrestling, tackle football, boys lacrosse, competitive cheer, dance, boxing, rugby and martial arts — were halted through the end of the calendar year.

Participants in medium-risk sports like basketball, gymnastics and ice — hockey — are required to wear face coverings.

In addition, youth teams can no longer travel out of state. Regional tournaments and competitions in high- or medium-risk sports cannot be hosted in Connecticut. Venues were urged to limit spectators, and devise contact tracing protocols for players and fans.

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And finally … did you know this is International Drum Month?

High School Fall Sports Still On — With Restrictions

While many states around the nation canceled high school fall sports season — or pushed them back to the spring — officials here waited.

Today, the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference announced its plan. There will still be a fall season for public school sports. But it won’t look completely the same.

First practice dates remain the same (August 17 for football, August 27 for cross country, field hockey, boys and girls soccer, girls swimming and girls volleyball). Howcwee, there’s a progression, beginning with conditioning in cohorts of small groups.

That conditioning will gradually increase. Start dates for the regular season have been pushed back; the number of games has decreased, and “tournament experiences (format TBD)” have replaced state tournament.

Schools will now compete on a “regional” basis (based on the 10 closest schools), rather than by league, to mitigate potential spread and maximize contact tracing capability.

Each school will determine spectator policies — in other words, whether to allow fans or not.

There is much more in the document. And of course, CIAC administrators say, the plan is “fluid and in a perpetual state of evaluation.”

To read the full CIAC plan, click here.

Last year, the Staples boys soccer team shocked 3-time defending state champion Glastonbury in the state tournament. There may be no state tournaments for any fall teams, in any sports, this year. (Photo/Patrick Ostbye)

Collateral COVID Damage: Staples Basketball Team Devastated As State Tournament Is Canceled

Marisa Shorrock is a senior at Staples High School, and a captain of the basketball team. On Monday night, the Wreckers — ranked #1 in the state, and nearing the end of their best season in decades — defeated Glastonbury to advance to the state tournament semifinals.

Just hours later, they received devastating news: The Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference canceled the state tourney. Just like that, the season — with its dream of a title, a capstone to years of goal-setting, hard work, and playing together — was over.

Marisa — who was also a goalie on the soccer team, and will play lacrosse this spring (if there are high school sports) — wrote powerfully about the intense emotions she and her teammates felt after the cancellation. (The Staples boys team was also affected: After their best season in many years, they were eager to begin their own state tournament quest. It ended 6 hours before the opening tip-off.)

Her piece was published yesterday in The Ruden Report — the go-to platform for local high school sports, run by Staples grad Dave Ruden. It appeared yesterday morning, just hours before the Westport Public Schools announced they were closing for the foreseeable future. Marisa wrote:

As a kid, I had always dreamed of that one “great moment.”

I dreamed that I was scoring the World Cup winning goal when I practiced my penalty kicks on the “big girl” nets outside of school. I dreamed of making the buzzer-beater basket in the WNBA Finals when I counted down “3..2..1..” while trying to sink the craziest shot I could make up on the spot.

The “crowd” would go crazy. I would be running around, hands reached out to the sky, cheering at the top of my lungs.

Marisa Shorrock in action against Norwalk High earlier this year. (Photo/Mark Conrad for The Ruden Report)

One day. That’s what I would tell myself. One day I would have my own great moment.

As I got older, I realized that great moments don’t just happen, you have to work for them. Hard. You work through school breaks and race to practice right after the final bell rings. Your muscles always ache and bruises seem to pop up in a new place on your body every day. Injuries will come and go, but you will always work your way back.

You never give up, because you know that no matter the blood, sweat, and tears that you have shed for this sport, the reward at the end will always be worth it.

But what if that reward was just stripped away? Without warning.

Marisa Shorrock battles Greenwich, in the FCIAC tournament last month. (Photo/Mark Conrad for The Ruden Report)

I woke up yesterday [Tuesday] morning, coming off the high of a win that marked my team’s advancement into the state semifinal round, to find out that my season was over. My whole entire basketball career was done. Finished. While the CIAC will be back next year, I, and all of my fellow seniors, will not.

It took a while for the reality of the situation to fully sink in. It was like my brain couldn’t physically processes the information. How could I go from playing in front of a hundred fans to not being allowed to step foot on the court with my thirteen teammates, all in the span of less than twenty-four hours?

There would be no state tournament. No title. No celebration. No great moment. There wouldn’t even be the opportunity to lose.

When my team lost the FCIAC finals in double overtime, the core-shattering devastation felt like an out-of-body experience. I thought that I would never feel anything worse than the emotions I felt after that game. I was wrong.

Marisa Shorrock’s teammates included (from left) Nicole Holmes, Kat Cozzi and Abby Carter. They pressured Glastonbury High’s Charlotte Bassett Monday night, in what turned out to be the Wreckers’ last game of the season. (Photo/Mark Conrad for The Ruden Report)

Although I absolutely hate losing, nothing is worse than not even being able to compete. There’s no closure. It’s unsettling.

The title was right there. Two more games. Just over an hour of play time. That’s all we needed. I know that we were not guaranteed to make it to the finals and we might not have pulled off the magical finish I had always dreamed about; however, after all of the hard work and fighting through adversity, not even having the opportunity to compete was heartbreaking.

I understand that with a global health pandemic decisions need to be made. However, how is it that I am still attending a 1,900 person school every day? How is it that the same day the tournament was cancelled, my 10th grade brother was allowed to play rec basketball at Staples with hundreds of other boys and referees? When the rules don’t make any sense, that’s when I begin to question the decisions being made.

Tomorrow marks my 18th birthday, the day before what would have been Staples’ first semifinal basketball game in 25 years. Instead of spending the night as the kid that would always dream about the endless possibilities, I am left contemplating the harsh reality as I enter the adult world. There will always be a new decision to be made. There will always be controversy. The world’s not fair, but soon I, and hopefully all of my fellow seniors, will learn to accept the outcome and continue to dream for those great moments.

(Click here for the Ruden Report.)

Staples Wins Prestigious Athletic Cup

Most high schools across the country pay attention to some combination of academics, arts, athletics and activities. It’s tough to do all 4 well.

Staples High School is not “most high schools.”

All 4 of those “A’s” get equal attention, from administrators, staff, parents and (of course) students.

“06880” often highlights Staples’ academics, arts and activities. To the surprise of many, I steer clear of (most) athletics. There’s a good reason: sports gets plenty of newspaper and online coverage elsewhere.*

(Though here’s a plug for my boys soccer team. If you see them, congratulate them on a fantastic run during the state tournament. Those boys became men, and I am intensely proud of them.)

The Staples High School boys soccer team celebrates a state tournament victory in South Windsor. (Photo/Armelle Daniels)

The Staples High School boys soccer team celebrates a state tournament victory in South Windsor. (Photo/Armelle Daniels)

But here’s great news about Staples’ entire athletic program. For the 20th time since 1988, the school has received the Michaels Cup. It’s awarded by the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference for outstanding achievement in 7 areas: sportsmanship, participation, scholarship, personnel, equity, chemical-free initiatives and athletic success.

Staples athletic director Marty Lisevick — who compiled data upon which the Michaels Cup was awarded — says it highlights “not only our coaching staff, but the character education they develop with kids, win, lose or draw.”

block-s-officialHe cites the community service undertaken by many Staples teams. The football squad leads a school-wide breast cancer awareness campaign, for example; the boys soccer team works with the Farmers’ Market to shop, cook and serve meals at the Gillespie Center.

Lisevick also does leadership training with captains, including a conference at NYU.

“Our kids are successful athletically,” Lisevick notes. “But they’re also successful academically. They go above and beyond wins and losses. We try to develop people who will be successful later in whatever they do.”

Staples was honored last night, at a banquet in Southington.

This morning it’s back to work: on the athletic fields, in the classroom, and in all the activities that make up a full, well-rounded life.

One exception: Check out yesterday’s story on the Staples field hockey team. Go Wreckers!