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RECORD-JOURNAL SCHOLAR-ATHLETES: At Cheshire High, a farewell to one of the best

RECORD-JOURNAL SCHOLAR-ATHLETES: At Cheshire High, a farewell to one of the best

CHESHIRE — Kristine Drust said it at the end of the softball campaign and her Cheshire coaching colleagues from other seasons — Sue Bavone of volleyball and Michelle Viera of basketball — would no doubt agree.

As we bid farewell to Mia Juodaitis, we bid farewell to one of the best student-athletes to ever come through Cheshire High School.

Juodaitis, a varsity standout dating back to her freshman year, will be soon on her way to Division I Providence College. As testament to her talent, it’s not out of line to ask, “to play which sport?”

Answer: Softball. Volleyball and basketball, though, aren’t far behind.

This year, as a senior, Juodaitis became the first athlete to be named All-Record-Journal in three different sports in the same year. She was our Female Athlete of the Year.

Juodaitis also capped her career as a Record-Journal Scholar-Athlete with a 3.65 grade-point average.

“Mia will go down as one of the best athletes to ever come out of Cheshire High School and, with such a rich history in athletes, that speaks for itself,” said Botto Drust. “Mia has found success and excellence in not just one sport, but in all three. She will be a name that is spoken about for many years.”

So, for posterity’s sake, let’s line it up right here.

Softball: Two-time All-State, two-time All-SCC First Team, two-time All-RJ; Cheshire Offensive MVP 2018; SCC Player of the Year 2019; Connecticut Positional Player of the Year 2019;

Basketball: Two-time All-SCC First Team, two-time All-RJ, Coach’s Award 2019;

Volleyball: All-SCC First Team, All-RJ and Cheshire Offensive MVP 2018.

Juodaitis scored more than 1,000 points in basketball and amassed more than 100 hits in softball. Her 12 home runs this spring were a program record.

She was also a tremendous teammate. Juodaitis played on Cheshire’s 2016 Class LL state championship softball team and on Cheshire’s 2017 and 2018 SCC conference championship volleyball teams and Cheshire’s 2019 SCC championship volleyball team.

Juodaitis was also one of 11 Record-Journal Scholar-Athletes selected by their coaches at Cheshire High School for the 2019 spring season.

Amanda Addesso, girls track and field: Cheshire’s distance running corps will feel the absence of Amanda Addesso next year.

A year-round runner throughout her Cheshire High career, Addesso was a four-time All-SCC cross country runner and a staple of Cheshire’s distance relays teams in indoor and outdoor track. This year, was senior captain of all three teams.

Addesso was also All-SCC Academic with a 4.589 GPA. The National Honor Society student will major in International Affairs and French in college.

“Amanda has made a tremendous impact on our team. Her leadership, sportsmanship, work ethic and pride in performance have been exemplary,” said outdoor track coach Barbara Hedden. “She is the athlete the up-and-coming undercssmen look to as a role modeal.

“As a captain, she has led by example and has always been there for her teammates, supporting them and encouraging everyone. She is always willing to take time out from her practice to help another.”

Addesso also volunteered at the CIAC Kids Marathon, the Cheshire Rotary Club Breakfast and the Cheshire Half Marathon.

“She is the athlete every coach dreams of having,” Hedden said. “She works hard, is coachable, is a leader and does it all with a postivie attitude every day.”

Mikayla Crowley, girls lacrosse: Mikayla Crowley made a name for herself in field hockey. She was chosen the SCC and Record-Journal Player of the Year in that sport and finished her career with 32 goals and 31 assists.

Crowley was also an excellent lacrosse player, too, earning a spot on the All-SCC Second Team while helping the Rams go 17-3 this spring and reach the Class L state semifinals.

Crowley graduated in the top four percent of Cheshire’s Class of 2019 with a 4.6 GPA. She’ll be studying Bio-Medical Engineering in college.

“Mikayla is the role modeal ofr a student-athlete,” said Cheshire lacrosse coach Dan Warburton. “She is a leader on the field and in the classroom. She is a dedicated and driven player. She is our engine in the midfield.”

Ryan Cyr, baseball: Ryan Cyr’s resume is dotted with leadership awards — CIAC Scholar Leader, Kiwanis Club. He served on the Leadership Advisory Council and was Cheshire High’s Spirit Leader in athletics.

Cyr took the same approach on the baseball field. As a multi-position player and one of Cheshire’s top hitters (he batted .361 this spring), Cyr was a pivotal piece of the program that won the Class LL state championship in 2018 and won 25 straight in 2019 before falling in the Class LL state semifinals.

“Ryan as the ability to communicate with his teammates and coaching staff so that all parties involved benefit,” noted coach Mike Lussier. “Ryan has demonstrated outstanding work habits and is a self-motivated individual who is constantly striving to better himself so that he will succeed no matter what the obstacle.”

Cyr graduated with a 3.679 GPA. He participated in Peer Health and Best Buddies. He is going on to play at the University of Rhode Island.

Mark Dellostritto, boys golf: Here’s a guy who knows how to campaign. Mark Dellostritto was class president for all four of his years at Cheshire High.

He also spent six years volunteering for community service projects through the YMCA’s Leaders Club.

Now, after graduating with a 4.525 GPA, he’s on his way to Vanderbilt University, where he’ll major in Human and Organizational Development.

Dellostritto was Cheshire’s No. 2 golfer for much of the season, shooting a season-best 42 at The Farms.

A percussionist, he spent four years with Cheshire’s Marching Band and also served on the organization’s Student Executive Board. He was one of three coordinators for “Be One Day.”

"He's has success as a student and on the golf course," Cheshire coach Dan Lee said. "He's involved in many school activities and clubs. This is a well-deserving accolade."

Berkley Fang, boys volleyball: Here’s one of our favorite stories of the spring. Berkley is going to Berkeley.

After graduating No. 5 in Cheshire’s Class of 2019, Fang is heading to the University of California to study Business Management and Environmental Engineering.

He had a dynamic career at Cheshire, both academically and on the volleyball court, where he manned several positions for the Rams as they made their run to the SCC championship and the Class M state title game.

“Berkley was called upon to play several different positions for us this year and he was versatile enough to do well wherever we needed him to play,” noted coach Sue Bavone. “He is the epitome of a student-athlete as he excels in both areas.”

Fang was named to the All-SCC Second Team. He also played on the Mizuno East club team that won gold at the Northeast Volleyball Championships.

Outside of volleyball, Fang was concert master of the Symphony Orchestra and vice president of the Young Democrats Club.  He was captain of the Math League team and, as a sidelight, likes to perform magic.

His GPA was no illusion. It was 4.879.

Jay Halterman, boys track and field: This young man was so driven and accomplished in the classroom that he’s wrapped graduation requirements in three years with a 4.4 GPA. He’ll major in Computer Science in college.

“Jay is a dedicated young man with an outstanding understanding of himself and his role a team player,” said track coach Allen Dvarskas. “He is hard working and willing to put in the extra effort to excel.”

Halterman is an Eagle Scout. He’s been an All-State and All-SCC Scholar-Athlete. This is his first R-J Scholar-Athlete award.

Michael Papa, boys lacrosse: This senior midfielder was a veteran presence who also scored four goals as Cheshire boys lacrosse played its final season under veteran head coach Rich Pulisciano.

Academically, Papa graduated with a 3.199 GPA.

“Mike is an excellent student-athlete who works extremely hard on and off the field,” Pulisciano said. “Mike was a big-time player for us.”

Lucy Pellegrino, girls golf: Like fellow senior Jenny Wang, who you’ll meet in a moment, Lucy Pellegrino reached remarkable heights during her time at Cheshire High.

Pellegrino graduated with a 4.683 GPA and will now pursue a degree in Veterinary Medicine.

She was a member of the National Honor Society as well as Mu Alpha Theta, the national mathematics honor society. 

A Junior States of America participant, Pellegrino received Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony awards.

Pellegrino played four years of golf. She was co-captain this year and helped the Rams qualify for the CIAC girls state tournament.

“Lucy’s attitude and fine play have set a wonderful example of sportsmanship,” said coach John Williams.

Nate Pisani, boys tennis: Nate Pisani is on his way to the University of Delaware to major in Nursing and Health Services after graduating Cheshire High with a 3.66 GPA.

He was a two-sport athlete with the Rams, putting in four years of soccer and three seasons of tennis. He was senior captain in each.

As far as extra-curricular activities went, Pisani ran blood drives at CHS and assisted in running the annual Winter Festival.

“Nate is a talented athlete and leader on and off the court. He brings his competitive attitude and hard work ethic to every practice and match,” remarked tennis coach Nan Cunningham. “His sportsmanship to his opponents has been recognized by several coaches and opposing players. Well-liked by everyone.”

Jenny Wang, girls tennis: Hopefully, in bringing up the rear of this story, Jenny Wang’s Scholar-Athlete accomplishments will stick with you. They are certainly impressive.

Even before tennis season arrived, Wang had earned All-Conference and All-Record-Journal status in volleyball. The senior duplicated that in tennis in tandem with No. 1 doubles partner and fellow senior captain Kelsea Mann.

The partners pushed the envelope by reaching the quarterfinals of the State Open and, in the process, becoming All-State.

“Jenny is a great co-captain and keeps our team in order on many fronts,” remarked coach Bruce Levine. “She is there for her teammates and performs very well on the court.”

Off it, too. Among Wang’s extra-curricular achievements: a U.S. Congressional Award (bronze) and a Cheshire Superintendent’s Award. She participated in Junior State of America, serving as Northeast Governor.

Wang graduated with a 4.955 GPA. She will attend Wellesley College.

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