RECORD-JOURNAL SCHOLAR-ATHLETES: Southington’s Wolff will be on the prowl for cyber threats

RECORD-JOURNAL SCHOLAR-ATHLETES: Southington’s Wolff will be on the prowl for cyber threats

SOUTHINGTON — If you’ve been following the Record-Journal Scholar-Athlete spring series this week, you’ve noticed many seniors are going on to college to prepare for job markets unlikely to slow any time soon.

Biochemistry. Pre-Med. Nursing.

Here’s one to add to the list: Cyber Security.

That’s the major Southington’s Brett Wolff will pursue when he heads to Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va. in the fall.

Wolff has received an Air Force ROTC scholarship to help him on his way. His dream? To fly drones in the Air Force.

While at Southington High, Wolff played four years of lacrosse. He was a defenseman (naturally) for coach Ron Chase.

A hiker and a biker, Wolff also played tenor saxophone in the school band.

Wolff graduated with a 100.14 grade-point average and was one of 10 Record-Journal Scholar-Athletes selected by their coaches at Southington High School for the 2018 spring season. All 10 are invited to the Record-Journal’s “Best of the Bunch” awards brunch, which will be held at the Aqua Turf Club tomorrow morning, Sunday, June 24.

Carolyn Callahan, girls tennis: In her four years at Southington, Carolyn Callahan went from a freshman with no tennis experience to one-half of the All-Conference No. 1 doubles tandem that qualified for the State Open.

In those same four years, Callahan rose to No. 29 in her class with a 108.01 GPA. As a junior, she was inducted into the National and World Language Honor societies.

Callahan’s extracurricular resume featured Key Club, Interact Club, Spanish Club and the Sports Leadership Council.

She also occupied the second violin chair in the Southington High orchestra. She serves in youth ministry at her church and volunteers at Camp Invention.

Her recognitions include “Make My Day” awards in English and from the Southington High library staff. She earned a Michael Casale, Jr. Education Award and PTO Volunteer Service Award.

In tennis, Callahan cracked the varsity ranks as a sophomore, going 11-6 that season at No. 2 doubles. She was 10-8 a year ago at No. 4 singles.

This year, as a senior captain, she and partner Chantelle Gimenez went 14-4 at No. 1 doubles.

”Carolyn, since she joined our team as a freshman, has been special,” said coach Robin Thompson. “She entered our team with no prior experience and immediately fell in love with the sport.  

”While continuing to improve her game, Carolyn has always been willing to help with drills, set up/break down equipment and mentor the younger members of our team,” Thompson added. “These girls look up to Carolyn and she serves a very fine role model for all of them.”

Callahan is going the University of Saint Joseph to pursue a degree in Child Studies. She will also continue playing tennis.

Kevin Chudy, boys tennis: Kevin Chudy was one of the top students in Southington’s Class of 2018, graduating No. 6 with a 112.4 academic average.

He was also one of Southington’s top tennis players this spring, going 2-0 at singles and 13-1 at No. 1 doubles with playing partner Jon Kryzanski and earning All-Conference recognition.

Chudy finished his Southington tennis career with a record of 42-8. Now it’s off to Johns Hopkins to pursue a career in medicine.

”Kevin is ‘Most Likely To Succeed’ in any endeavor that he would choose to undertake,” said Southington boys tennis coach Tony Mauro. “He is an absolute model of ethics, fair play and behavior.

”Of all the kids that I have had — and I have been fortunate to have had some great ones — I would say that he is the most likely to achieve his goal. He will be a doctor some day. A great doctor.”

Abigail Connolly, girls track: Abby Connolly is probably best known for her accomplishments in soccer, where she was a two-time All-Conference and All-Record-Journal defender, including last fall, when the Lady Knights notched 10 shutouts and allowed only 10 goals in the regular season.

Connolly also had All-Conference wheels in track. A sprinter, the senior qualified for the Class LL championship meet during the indoor season as part of the 4x200 relay team.

She qualified in Class LL again this spring on the 4x100 team. Individually, she made it in the 100 meters (13.44 seconds) and 200 (27.15).

Connolly graduated with a 107.9 GPA. She’ll be attending the University of South Carolina.

Jack Herms, boys track: A two-year performer in track, Jack Herms was the jack of all field trades. He threw javelin (139-4) and also competed in high jump (5-2) and long jump (17-3).

Herms also played football and basketball in his time in Blue & White and he participated in Project Lead the Way.

A High Honors student every semester, Herms graduated with a 107.0 academic average.

”Jack is a diligent worker in multiple events. He’s come a long way in a short time with the javelin,” remarked coach Colleen Roarty. “He’s been a great role model for the younger kids over the last few years.”

William Pfanzelt, boys volleyball: Senior William Pfanzelt posed multiple headaches to Southington’s volleyball opponents this spring.

He both set (281 assists) and was set (164 kills). Pfanzelt also chalked up 149 digs and 31 blocks on defense and came away with All-Conference honors.

Outside of volleyball, Pfanzelt is involved in robotics and has attained the rank of Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America.

He graduated with a 100.3 academic average.

Dan Topper, baseball: If you want to get an idea of what Dan Topper is all about, consider this scholar-athlete award as well as the one he received earlier this month from the Southern Connecticut Diamond Club.

Topper earned one of the Diamond Club’s “There’s No ‘I’ In Team” awards. The honor is bestowed upon one member from each high school baseball team in the greater New Haven area who gives most unselfishly to his program.

Topper, Southington’s senior second baseman, started all 22 games this spring for the 13-9 Blue Knights, who pulled a first-round Class LL state tournament upset in Trumbull before falling to top-seeded Fairfield Prep in the second round.

Topper batted .350 and led the team in runs scored (25) and stolen bases (16). He had a .912 fielding percentage at second.

Also a veteran standout in soccer, Topper graduated with a 103.9 academic average. He’s going to Western New England University and will continue playing baseball.

Kara Zazzaro, softball: Most folks are familiar with Kara Zazzaro’s softball exploits. Southington’s Iona-bound ace went 19-1 this season with a 0.32 ERA, striking out 177 batters in 110 innings while batting .475.

In the postseason, she and the Lady Knights reached the Class LL semifinals.

There is more to the Zazzaro File, though. The All-State pitcher has also been a competitive swimmer for seven years, starting with the Southington YMCA Rays team and continuing with the Southington High squad. She was part of the school-record-setting 400 freestyle relay that went to the 2016 State Open.

In class, Zazzaro attained an academic average of 106.53 and was inducted into the National Honor Society. She tutored underclassmen and worked with elementary school kids in the YMCA’s after-school program.

A member of St. Thomas Church, Zazzaro participates in youth ministry and is also an altar server.

At the high school, Zazzaro was a member of the Latin Club and Student Council Think Tank. She was involved in the latter organization’s food and toiletry drives as well as its annual charity tournament for Southington Services.

With the softball team, she helped stage the “Put on Purple” game to raise money for lupus research.

“Kara is one of the most athletically and academically talented students I’ve ever had the opportunity to coach,” remarked softball coach Davina Hernandez. “She has been a phenomenal captain for the last two seasons.”

Cam Zegzdryn, golf: Returning senior Cam Zegzdryn was the elder statesman on the five-headed beast that was the Southington golf team this spring.

In combination with fellow senior C.J. McManus and sophomores Austin Carta, Max Chubet and Shawn McKnerney, Zegzdryn led a contingent that went 10-5-1 during the dual-meet season, compiled an area-low team stroke average of 154 and qualified for the Division I state tournament for a 13th straight year.

Zegzdryn finished the regular season ranked No. 21 in the state. Among his highlight’s were a season-low 33 shot at Hawks Landing against Avon (that’s 2-under par) and two even-par rounds of 35.

The senior shot a 79 in the 18-hole CCC Championship at Stanley Golf Course. He also qualified for the inaugural State Open, where he shot an 83. 

Stephanie Zera, girls lacrosse: Come the fall, Stephanie Zera will be the University of Delaware studying exercise science. If she goes on to work in sports rehab, she’ll be able to fully relate to her clients.

ACL injuries stole a good portion of Zera’s athletic career at Southington High. And yet she still had a good one, especially as a senior setter in volleyball, where she earned All-State and All-Record-Journal status after dishing out 979 assists for the 21-4 Blue Knights.

A recurrence of the injury limited Zera to five games this spring in lacrosse, a sport in which she’d already lost her sophomore and junior seasons. She still stuck with the program, showing up every day to practice and keeping stats during games. She got back on the field by season’s end and wound up scoring five goals on just six shots.

“She continued to be a dedicated member of the team and was able to finish her career playing,” said lacrosse coach Jillian Pomposi. “Steph is one of the most determined and dedicated student-athletes that we have in our program.”

Zera graduated with an academic average of 101.6. She was an officer in Future Business Leaders of America and a member of Unified Theater.



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