Bristol Press Athletes of the Week are Bristol Eastern's Brianna Ogonowski and Bristol Central's Devon Dawson

Published on Monday, 27 November 2017 22:40


When the going gets tough, the tough get going. And that’s the case of Bristol Eastern swimmer Brianna Ogonowski and Bristol Central football player Devon Dawson.

In the case of Ogonowski, a junior and the daughter of Jason and Jennifer Ogonowski, it was being the lone representative from Bristol to compete in the State Open last week. And en-route, Ogonowski set a new school mark of 1:07.93 in the 100 breaststroke last Wednesday at the Class L state championships at Yale. The following day, she clocked in 1:09.80 to finish 19th overall in the State Open at Yale.

“She is a very hard worker who always strives to get better,” Lancers head coach Nick Daddabbo said. “She has a great personality and is a great help to newer athletes on the team. Brianna has earned all-conference this season in three events, including the 100 breast[stroke].”

Ogonowski said the state meets were a good experience for her.

“It was great to see all the great swimmers who worked so hard to get there,” Ogonowski said. “I was ranked 12th going in [the State Open] and came in 19th, which is kind of disappointing. But it was still fun and I tried my best.”

She’s also pleased in setting the new school record in the 100 breaststroke.

“I was fourth in the state finals and I wasn’t expecting [the record] because I had done so well before and I was ranked 17th going into the finals,” Ogonowski said. “But, I went there, had fun and really worked hard.”

With another year of scholastic swimming, Ogonowski, who comes from a family of swimmers, has set goals before she graduates from Bristol Eastern.

“It’s to make it to the State Open again and do better, to make it as far as I can to the top,” Ogonowski said. “Also to try and break the school record in the 200 IM as well. My sister, Georgia, holds the school record in that. She has done 2:17-something and my best is 2:21.”

Following high school, Ogonowski plans to major in forensic science in college. She wants to swim at that level, too.

Dawson, a senior, is the son of Connie and Cornelius Dawson. He plays both defensive and offensive tackle for the Rams and was chosen as his team’s defensive player of the game following the team’s 33-27 Battle for the Bell win over Bristol Eastern. His coach, Jeff Papazian, said the senior tackler finished his high school career with his best game.

“Devon played great for us on Thursday,” Papazian said. “He’s been really good all season at both offensive and defensive tackle. I thought Thanksgiving was his best effort of the year. Clearly, Eastern wanted to establish their run game, and they did to a certain degree. But they had a hard time with Devon all morning.

“When Devon came over to us last season, it really solidified both our lines. He’s a heck of a player and he fit in with the rest of our guys. He’s a ‘yes coach’ kid, who does whatever is asked of him. He’s got a motor that never stops running out there. He’s been a huge part of our success this season and a pleasure to have coached.”

For Dawson, it was about as much as a team effort as an individual one.

“We had a lot of heart,” Dawson said. “When things got tough, we never gave up. I think it was a good experience for my first [game at] Muzzy game. To play against a lot of people I played with for years is something I’ll remember the rest of my life.”

But he also added how tough the Lancers had played.

“Eastern was well improved,” Dawson said. “We came in with the mindset that this was going to be an easy one, but they kept up with the fight. I wish them luck next year.”

When asked what he liked about playing football, he said it was an invaluable experience.

“I like the atmosphere,” Dawson said. “The team is like a second family to me. I didn’t realize how football was so much a part of my life until the game was over. It’s taught me a lot of life lessons.”

And like others who have played in the Thanksgiving Day Game in Bristol as a senior, he knows he’ll never go back and play [a high school football game] again. With this, he leaves advice for the younger players.

“The four years go by so fast, so enjoy every minute.”

In addition to football, Dawson will be on the school’s lacrosse team this spring as a defender. As far as his future goes, he is currently talking to the football coach at Hobart College in New York and would like to study something like business/construction management.

Posted in The Bristol Press, Athletes of the Week, Bristol Central, Bristol Eastern, General Sports on Monday, 27 November 2017 22:40. Updated: Monday, 27 November 2017 22:42.