MERIDEN — There’s at least one score that works out in favor of senior student-athletes who lost their final high school season to the coronavirus pandemic.
The exponential reach of social media beats the minimum six feet of social distancing every time.
With Connecticut schools closed for the rest of the academic year, area athletic directors and coaches have been turning to the social platforms to highlight their graduating seniors.
On Monday, Maloney rolled out a video series on Twitter showcasing the 2020 Spartans going on to compete in college.
“We usually have a celebration at school for the student-athletes who are going to the next level,” said Athletic Director Bob McKee. “It usually happens around this time of year. Obviously, we’re social distancing right now, so it’s a way to give back to the kids and recognize them for their achievements.”
There were eight clips in the series, uploaded about 10 minutes apart. The eight seniors, appearing at home, introduced themselves and announced their next port of call.
Some were clad in garb from their future schools. Some stuck with Maloney green.
It was an eclectic mix. Five sports and all three levels of college sports were represented.
Two Division I athletes were in the mix: Trevor Santiago and Lea White.
Santiago, the 6-foot-6 anchor of the big Maloney lines that fueled three straight trips to the Class L football playoffs, is going to Central Connecticut State. White, an All-State shortstop, will play softball at UMass-Lowell.
Both have teammates going on to college, all of them at the Division III level. Santiago’s fellow lineman, Dan Roldan, is bound for Hartwick College in upstate New York, while defensive utility player and special teams cornerstone Eli Henderson is headed to Western Connecticut.
Haley Kennedy, a catcher third baseman, will be playing softball at the University of New England in Maine.
In baseball, 6-foot-3 right-hander Owen Papciak was denied a senior season of high expectation. He will, however, go on to pitch at Division II Post Univeristy in Waterbury.
Also staying in state is Emily Rhee. Described by Maloney coach Tim Sweigard as a silent leader with a strong work ethic, Rhee is going to the University of St. Joseph and will play tennis.
In doing so, Rhee will continue a Maloney connection the West Hartford school. Former Spartan Domonique Carnot was a four-year tennis player at St. Joe’s and this season’s senior captain.
Then there’s Kody Talento. An All-Record-Journal performer in both football and wrestling, Talento will stick with wrestling in college — at Division III Plymouth State in New Hampshire.
To a certain degree, it will be like old times. Talento will start college with the same coach with whom he launched his high school career: Eric Bergeron.
Bergeron, who also wrestled at both Maloney and Plymouth State, started his coaching career on the East Side before taking up the reins at his college alma mater two years ago.
Talento, a 100-match winner at Maloney, gave a double thumbs-up to punctuate his college announcement on Monday.
And Roldan jazzed his up, too, with, “Ya boy is going to Hartwick College and I will be majoring in Business Administration” as he hoisted a navy blue Hartwick jersey.