Bristol Press Athletes of the Week are St. Paul's Emma Cretella and Bristol Eastern's Ben Chiasson

Published on Monday, 20 May 2019 20:41
Written by BOB MONTGOMERY

Correspondent

Team captains who are three-sport participants are this week’s Athlete of the Week selectees for area high school sports: Emma Cretella of the girls lacrosse team at St. Paul and Ben Chiasson, who plays golf for Bristol Eastern.

Cretella, the daughter of Donald and Alisa Cretella of Cheshire, plays attack for the Falcons, who come into this week with a 12-2 record, the best the program has seen since first competing at the varsity level when she was a freshman.

Cretella is her team’s all-time point producer.

“Emma is an offensive powerhouse,” St. Paul coach Elaine Bowman said. “She is hard to stop when she makes up her mind to go to goal. Recently, she scored her 100th goal and is the first girls lacrosse player to do so. So far this season she has 33 goals, 14 assists and a 56 percent shooting percentage. She has been an integral part of the team since its beginning four years ago and I have seen her blossom into a truly great lacrosse player. She is an incredible athlete and I know she will do great things next year at Westfield State University, playing both lacrosse and basketball.”

Cretella is pleased with the Falcons’ season so far.

“I think this season we’ve really developed as a team,” Cretella said. “We’ve come together for a common goal, to win our conference for the first time ever. Every player has stepped up this season and has filled their role.

“Last year, we made it to the conference tournament and we lost to Housatonic. At the states, we made it to the second round and lost to North Branford and that was our first time in the tournament. We have a lot more experience this year and we have been practicing on the off-season.”

As far as individual success, 10 minutes prior to her “AOW” interview she received a call to inform her that she was chosen all-conference for the second straight year.

“It feels good that all the hard work has paid off,” Cretella said.

Thank a former St. Paul athlete for getting Cretella to give the sport a try.

“One of the players on the team said I should play it as a sport, so I said, ‘OK,’” said Cretella. “It was Stephanie Speaker. I’m glad I stayed with it, definitely. I’m looking forward to playing in college. I’ll be busy.”

Busy with studies and playing two sports. Just three months ago, Cretella earned “AOW” honors in basketball.

Chiasson is receiving his first AOW recognition, but has been a viable candidate on occasion in playing soccer, basketball and tennis for the Lancers.

His AOW honor comes by way of last week’s team win over Bristol Central. Chiasson led the charge as the winning No. 1 singles player. The Lancers’ 5-2 win gave them the CCC South title.

“As a captain in his fourth season, Ben leads by example and sets the standard with respect to both hard work and sportsmanship,” Eastern coach Logan Bourke said. “Early on, Ben set his mind on becoming our team’s No. 1 player. He began training in the off-season and has worked tirelessly during the season ever since to realize that goal.

“He relished the chance to compete and always treats his opponent with the utmost respect. This year he helped lead our team to a conference championship and he is eager once more to test his ability at the state tournament where last year he got to the second round.”

Chiasson talked about the match-up with cross-town Bristol Central, his teammates and his goals.

“They’re a good team,” Chiasson said. “In the past we’ve struggled against them. I feel more people were practicing before the season started.

“This year we have a second coach, (Eric) Henne, and I feel with two coaches we’ve split up players and individually players get more attention. Last year we made it to the states as a team and personally in the states, I want to go further. I only made it to the second round.

“I’ve been practicing more since last season and have gotten a lot of help along the way. Usually I go to the courts by myself and practice serving and sometimes ask someone from the team if they want to hit with me too.”

He added that his favorite and strongest part of his game is volleying, especially when he’s closer to the net. And it all started when he was a young man.

“Through the Parks and Rec. Department as a kid,” Chiasson said. “I took it more seriously as a freshman in high school. I picked it up because it was a lot of fun.”

Chiasson will attend Roger Williams University in Bristol, R.I., next year to study marine biology. As far as sports go, he’s contemplating the idea of trying out for the men’s tennis team at the school.

Contact Bob Montgomery at



Posted in The Bristol Press, Athletes of the Week, Bristol Eastern, St. Paul on Monday, 20 May 2019 20:41. Updated: Monday, 20 May 2019 20:44.