Two previous â€śAthlete of the Weekâ€ť honorees have been chosen once again for the recognition and they are Bristol Easternâ€™s Avery Braccia and Justin Marshall.
The choice of Braccia, the daughter Melinda and Rick Braccia, comes after being the leading girls indoor track performer for coach Kyle Fuller.
Braccia finished seventh in the 1,000-meter run with a time of 3:14.02 at the Class L Indoor Track and Field Championships at the Floyd Little Athletic Center in New Haven, while placing 16th in the 1,600 with a time of 5:47.78.
Prior to this at the CCC South Championships, Braccia, a freshman, was 18th in the 1,000 thanks to her time of 3:18.68, while placing ninth as the anchor in the 4x800 relay with teammates Kelsie St. Germain, Maggie Santacroce and Sophie Andrade, and 15th in the 4x200 with Yaleska Santiago, Megan Perry and Alyssa Lavoie.
Fuller has been pleased with the freshman standout during her first varsity season and sees Braccia as an upcoming leader
â€śAvery is a good runner,â€ť said Fuller. â€śShe has gelled perfectly into our system.â€ť
And while itâ€™s cross country Braccia enjoys most, she is now looking forward to the outdoor track season, one where she will likely run the 800-meters, mile, two-mile and perhaps a relay. Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â
â€śIâ€™m excited,â€ť Braccia said. â€śI liked indoor [track] so Iâ€™m looking forward to it again. Iâ€™d like to do my best, maybe make the State Opens.â€ť
During the cross country season, Braccia proved to be the best girls runners in the city in taking first place at Rockwell Park in competition with her teammates, Bristol Central and St. Paul. In doing so, she was clocked in an impressive 22:52.
Marshall, a junior who wrestles at 152 pounds, is the son of Greg and Maureen Marshall. He comes off another solid season in capturing the Class L crown in his weight class, while finishing sixth at the State Open.
â€śJustin is very quiet, respectful and unassuming kid,â€ť Eastern head coach Bryant Lishness said. â€śHe is always humble. He works extremely hard and when you combine his work ethic with his wrestling ability, the skyâ€™s the limit. Sometimes we are more confident in him than he is, but hopefully that has changed now that he has won a state championship and placed in the Open. Justin is never cocky. Heâ€™s just a great kid.â€ť
Marshall called it a great experience.
â€śGoing into the tournament, I was excited just to have a chance to be the champion,â€ť Marshall said. â€śI was the third seed and I knew I had to wrestle real strong. My semifinal and finals matches were my toughest and I pulled them out at the end. Itâ€™s a great feeling when the whistle sounds at the end of the third period and you are the state champion.â€ť
He also called the State Open a learning experience.
â€śI came in knowing I had a tough quarterfinals match,â€ť Marshall said. â€śI wrestled Southingtonâ€™s [Tagan Welch] and he beat me earlier this year. I beat him in the quarterfinals and made it to the semifinals. After I lost [in the semifinals], I lost it mentally and didnâ€™t wrestle to my potential. Next year will be a better year, because all of the kids that beat me were seniors, so Iâ€™ll be the senior next year.â€ť
In addition to wrestling, Marshall is the starting quarterback for the schoolâ€™s football team. He threw for over 1,000 yards, recorded double-digit touchdowns and also played defense this past fall.
Despite his success in both, Marshall likes both equally.
â€śWrestling makes you tough and mentally strong no matter at how much pain you are in, youâ€™ll get over it at one point,â€ť Marshall said. â€śIn football, I like how itâ€™s a great sport and how you have to come as a team and play together. It makes you a better person in playing together.â€ť
Marshall has also benefited from playing both.
â€śItâ€™s given me a good deal of responsibility and knowing you have to be there for your teammates,â€ť Marshall said. â€śIt makes you a stronger person. No matter what happens you have the team. The team is the most important thing.â€ť