Two of last weekâ€™s best performances in high school sports came from Bristol Eastern senior diver Zoe DiChello and St. Paul junior fullback Connor Bogdanski.
DiChello, the daughter of Michael and Deanna DiChello, capped the final dive of her scholastic career with a third place finish on Thursday at the Class L state girls diving championships at Middletown High School.
â€śZoe is our school record-holder and has worked hard over the last four years to improve on her skills to get there,â€ť Eastern coach Nick Daddabbo said. â€śZoe has performed dives that challenged her each season sheâ€™s been a part of the Lancersâ€™ team.â€ť
Going into the Class L event, DiChello had no idea she would do so well in upping her school mark of 383.00 points for 11 dives. She also holds Easternâ€™s six-dive record with 270 points.
â€śGoing in (the Class Lâ€™s), I expected to do my best and just execute my dives as I normally do,â€ť DiChello said. â€śI never thought that I would move up 24 places from last year. I found out I was third at the last round when they announced it. Prior to that, I had no clue. I knew I was moving up to where I was seeded, but didnâ€™t know it was that far.â€ť
Besides school, DiChello took up diving in May of this year with the River City West Club out of Trinity College.
â€śI like the fact that itâ€™s individual, but it is also team and I have them behind me,â€ť DiChello said.
Prior to taking up diving, DiChello competed as a gymnast for many years, and says she has benefitted from taking up the water sport.
â€śItâ€™s taught me obedience and respect,â€ť said DiChello. â€śItâ€™s taught me about sportsmanship and that it is OK to lose. Itâ€™s helped me gain lifetime friendships and they are the people who experience the high athleticism and school balance with you.â€ť
DiChelloâ€™s plans for next year include diving and studying mechanical engineering, and is pretty much down to picking either UConn or West Point Academy.
Bogdanski, the male â€śAthlete of the Weekâ€ť is the son of Craig and Elaine Bogdanski of Southington. He had a career game on Thursday in the Falconsâ€™ 46-8 rout of host Wilby. Connor Bogdanski scored on runs of 56 and 38 yards and followed each with a two-point conversation. He ran for a game-high 190 yards on 11 carries and it helped St. Paul, 6-3 on the season, end its three-game losing streak.
â€śNo. 28 played only the first half and rushed for over 150 yards,â€ť St. Paul coach Jude Kelly said. â€śHeâ€™s been a hard-running fullback all year with good speed as well. Heâ€™s also a key player in our defense.â€ť
Preparation was the word Bogdanski used in describing Thursdayâ€™s victory.
â€śIâ€™d say that after a difficult loss weâ€™d always look back at our week of practice and how we prepared for the game,â€ť Bogdansk said. â€śDue to a good week of practice, that was the main factor in our win.â€ť
In hosting Oxford the day before Thanksgiving, the final contest of the fall, Bogdanski reflects on the season so far after going 6-4 altogether in 2016.
â€śThis year we made some good advances and stepped forward in the way we execute our defense and offense,â€ť Bogdanski said. â€śWe started out really strong with our 5-0 record, but then after the Ansonia loss we let ourselves get in our own way and let the Woodland game get away from us.
â€śThen after the Seymour week, we all got together and decided to make a change in the way we practice and our attitude. After the Wilby game, we want to continue our momentum in the way we played the last two weeks and over the last game.â€ť
Asked about the 2018 season, he said it is just about trying to build off what the Falcons have been able to do this season.
â€śWeâ€™re losing key parts to our offense and defense, as well as some influential captains who have been with the team for a while,â€ť Bogdanski said. â€śWeâ€™ll need our juniors and sophomores to step up and fill the roles. As a team goal, we look to improve our record every year. Despite what our record is at the end of the year, next year weâ€™ll try to improve on that.â€ť