MERIDEN — Life will go at Platt High School without Creme Watford. It might not, however, have the same wattage.
The out-going senior is off to Nichols College with his athletic and academic acumen, not to mention his engaging personality.
Watford was a centerpiece of Platt football and baseball during his Panther career. He was a wide receiver and center fielder, and if a ball, be it oblong or round, was anywhere in his vicinity, chances were he’d track it down.
Watford caught 39 passes for 727 yards and 17 touchdowns in football and batted .300 with nine outfield assists in baseball. He was All-Conference and Academic All-Conference in football.
This month, Watford graduated with a 3.6 grade-point average. At Nichols, he’ll play football. Back on the Platt diamond, he’ll be missed.
“Creme always has a great attitude and personality that generates a positive team atmosphere and morale,” baseball coach Tim Redican noted during the season. “He is a player who works hard to improve with every practice, every at-bat, and every play.”
Watford was one of seven Record-Journal Scholar-Athletes selected for the 2014 spring scholastic season at Platt High School. The others were as follows.
Ahmad Hamdan, boys track: The senior captain was the Salutatorian of the Class of 2014 with a 4.88 GPA. His specialty event in track was the pole vault.
Hamdan was also a key member of the Meriden co-op swimming team.
“Ahmad brings a strong leadership to the boys track team,” said coach Bob Angiletta. “He also has a strong work ethic and has been dedicated to improving all of our athletes. His work in the pole vault will be missed.”
Steven Kennedy, boys tennis: The senior competed at No. 1 doubles this spring for the Panthers and signed off with a second straight appearance in a CIAC class tournament.
Kennedy was a member of the National Honor Society. His GPA was 3.9.
“It’s been a pleasure to watch Steven grow as a student-athlete,” remarked coach Chris Hanson. “Steven will always have a home in the Platt tennis family.”
Jasmine McLeish, girls track: The All-Conference sprinter finished fourth in Class MM in the 100 meters in 12.69. That time qualified her for the State Open.
She also competed in the CIAC heptathlon last week at the Coast Guard Academy.
Academically, the junior is carrying a 3.91 GPA.
“Jasmine is a very talented and hard working athlete,” noted coach Cody Maresh. “She brings enthusiasm and a positive attitude to the track every day. She is a role model for our younger athletes.”
Jason Nelson, golf: The senior co-captain of a young squad, Nelson helped to lead the Panthers to a 9-12 season on the links.
He graduated this month with a 4.00 GPA and now heads to Union College in New York, where he will play Division III football while pursuing a career in medicine.
“Jason Nelson had an excellent year on the golf course,” said coach Jim Siebert. “He excels in the classroom.”
Michaela Phonkhoumphon, girls tennis: A swimmer and a tennis player, Phonkhoumphon graduated in the top 40 of the Class of 2014. She’s headed to Central Connecticut State University in the fall.
“She was our senior captain and did a wonderful job leading by example in the classroom and on the tennis court,” said tennis coach Michael Greenberg. “She played many challenging three-set matches at No. 4 singles and always gave her best effort with excellent sportsmanship. She capped off her career winning a three-set match against arch-rival Maloney 7-5 in the third set.”
Emily Stratton, softball: The junior has been a cornerstone of Platt softball for the past several seasons.
Strike that: She’s a middle infielder, but certainly vital no matter where she plays or bats in the order. She was chosen to play in this year’s Junior Select game.
The daughter of Jimmy and Tracy Stratton takes that All-Star plum, as well as a 4.56 GPA, into her senior year.
“Emily is a well-rounded, very talented student-athlete,” said coach Trish Wodatch. “She is a true leader and role model on and off the field. She commits herself to excellence in every sense of the word.”