Two multi-sports participants at Bristol Central share area high school â€śAthlete of the Weekâ€ť honors. They are senior Meghan Curtis, a captain of coach Adrienne Bentleyâ€™s girls swimming team, and Justus Fitzpatrick, a junior receiver and cornerback for coach Jeff Papazianâ€™s 4-3 football team.
Curtis, the daughter of Eric and Michelle Curtis, was one of the standouts for the Rams a week ago when they edged out cross-town rival Bristol Eastern, 94-92. Curtis, who had been diving earlier in the season, skipped that portion of the competition to concentrate on swimming events to help score points for the Rams. She showcased her versatility by capturing both the 50 freestyle and 100 backstroke, while finishing first with the 200 medley relay team and second as a member of the 200 freestyle relay. She has also competed in the 400 free relay in other meets.
â€śMeghan has been an asset to the team in both diving and swimming,â€ť Bentley said. â€śThis is her second year as captain and she has been a great role model. She is a true athlete and competitor.â€ť
Curtis was pleased with the Eastern meet, one where Central had to win the last event of the meet, the 400 freestyle relay, to return home the victors.
â€śHonestly, it felt amazing,â€ť Curtis said. â€śOnce I saw the score I had no words. All I could say is that I was proud of my team. I have a lot of respect for Eastern, especially since I know so many on the team and have swam with them in the past.â€ť
Up next for Curtis is the CCC Meet on Friday and right now she believes she will dive and compete in the 100 backstroke.
â€śI would like to be the [CCC South Blue Division] conference champion in the back and help my team win the conference championship,â€ť Curtis said. â€śThe chances of me being conference champion are very high because I work really hard for what I want and I think the team will have a close chance to be conference champions. Weâ€™ve gotten so far this season that we can get further.â€ť
Curtis, who may be studying pre-med studies next year, added that she has benefited from taking part in sports for Bristol Central, and that also includes both indoor and outdoor track.
â€śIf I wasnâ€™t doing sports, I wouldnâ€™t be social and fit,â€ť Curtis said. â€śAnd, I wouldnâ€™t know the concept of hard work, because doing these sports takes a lot of hard work and determination.â€ť
Fitzpatrick, the son of Marvin and Mariliz Fitzpatrick, was one of Centralâ€™s offensive leaders Friday evening in a 35-28 win over visiting Capital Prep/Achievement First (3-4). Fitzpatrick rushed for a career-high 131 yards and scored a touchdown.
â€śJustus had a big night for us on Friday,â€ť Papazian said. â€śWe thought Capital would focus on Dathan (Hickey) and try to take his ability to run the ball away. To some extent they were successful, but it opened up some room for Justus and Darrell (Payton) on the ground. Our offensive line and receivers blocked real well and Justus ran hard all night.
â€śThen defensively, we had Justus follow their big play receiver Oâ€™Neil Robinson all night. That kidâ€™s a good player, a UConn commit, heâ€™s been putting up big numbers all year. The quarterback [Kyle Zajack], in my opinion, is going to end up being a Division I player, too. And Justus holds him to three catches for 24 yards and an interception. Big time game for him at corner against that kid.â€ť
Fitzpatrick added his performance was the result of a full-team effort.
â€śEveryone did their job and we played as a family,â€ť said Fitzpatrick. â€śDarrell Payton had a good game both ways and Dathan Hickey always leads our team well. We knew we were playing a big athletic team and with a good week of practice, we were prepared for them.â€ť
Up next itâ€™ll be host Platt (4-3) and the Rams will face them on Friday.
â€śThey have a very strong running game, so our defense will have to step up,â€ť Fitzpatrick said. â€śOur linebackers have to have a successful game. We know they have a pretty good quarterback who can throw and a strong junior running back.â€ť
Despite the shaky start to the season, Fitzpatrick added the teamâ€™s goal is to get to the playoffs.
â€śWe have to win out,â€ť said Fitzpatrick. â€śWith the athletes we have, itâ€™s very possible for us to make the playoffs.â€ť
Fitzpatrick also had some advice for younger athletes, something his father, a standout former Bristol Central quarterback, shared with him.
â€śTake every game, every practice very seriously, because high school football goes by very fast,â€ť Fitzpatrick said.