Two seniors share â€śAthlete of the Weekâ€ť honors and they are basketball forward Kayla Beaulieu of Bristol Central and wrestler Gabe Soucy of Bristol Eastern.
Beaulieu, the daughter of Keith Beaulieu and Angela Ouellette, is a team captain for coach Steve Gaudetâ€™s Rams. Her recognition comes after Bristol Central captured its first win of the season, a 57-20 dominating performance over Maloney two days after Christmas. She and Ashley Watson each recorded a game-high 14 points in the victory.
With the win, the Rams enter this week having already equaled their total from last season and are currently 1-7 on the year.
â€śI think just from having rough seasons in past years, I think the game we won built up our confidence,â€ť Beaulieu said. â€śThe chemistry on the court is good, we work well together and we have a lot more wins to come.
â€śI think that [the Maloney win] was well-served,â€ť she added. â€śWe played against some hard teams in the beginning and it was a great feeling to feel victory. I hope our intensity from that game carries on.â€ť
In addition to basketball, Beaulieu also plays softball for her school as a first baseman and just enjoys being around her teammates.
â€śIâ€™ve been playing all my life,â€ť Beaulieu said. â€śIâ€™ve been playing with the same girls for life and being with them is family.â€ť
And with this two-sport experience, her advice to younger athletes would be to always remain as upbeat as possible, no matter the circumstances.
â€śKeep your head up through anything and always have a positive attitude with coaches and teammates,â€ť Beaulieu said. â€śThe four years go by fast, make sure you enjoy everything. We only have so many games left, and you know itâ€™s your last time on the court.â€ť
Beaulieuâ€™s plans as a college freshman in the fall of 2019 do not include sports. Sheâ€™ll attend CCSU to study criminal justice.
Soucy is the son of Kathy and Phil Soucy, a wrestler himself when at Bristol Eastern. The younger Soucy is currently unbeaten this season, wresting at 138 pounds.
â€śGabe is a senior and this is his third year on the team, second year in the varsity line-up,â€ť Lancers head coach Bryant Lishness said. â€śSo far this year he is 4-0 and he won the CJ McCormack Tournament in Berlin.
â€śWe love having Gabe on the team,â€ť Lishness added. â€śHe is a pretty loose kid who has fun with everyone. Heâ€™s wrestling well this year so far. What has been impressive is his maturity. He is going 138 and is not cutting any weight. He is just focusing on being competitive and wrestling. He has been on the mats for a long time and knows how to control matches. We have some high expectations for him with this being his senior year, and so far he is doing great.â€ť
The Lancers are currently the back-to-back state Class L champions and that includes two consecutive undefeated dual meet seasons. That of course means expectations are high, but Soucy and the team have embraced that challenge.
â€śSo far this season, our team has continued the success that weâ€™ve had the past few years and we hope we can go undefeated another year,â€ť Soucy said. â€śWe definitely have the experience and skills. We just have to keep our focus throughout the season.
â€śI want to make it to the State Open and to place there,â€ť he added. â€śLast year, I didnâ€™t qualify for the Opens. I also want to make it to the finals of Class L..â€ť
A two-sport athlete like Beaulieu, Soucy also played soccer for the Lancers as a center/midfielder.
â€śI started when I was six or seven at the Bristol Soccer Club,â€ť Soucy said. â€śI like the feeling of winning, to celebrate with your team. And if one person makes a mistake, his teammates will have his back on the play.
â€śWrestling teaches me pretty-much the opposite, pretty-much how to deal with a situation where you are on your own. Itâ€™s a good mix having those two sports.â€ť
His plans for the next school year are college where heâ€™ll study business management.