Students from Bristolâ€™s two cross-town public high schools are the â€śAthlete of the Weekâ€ť picks for area scholastic sports. They are first-year varsity girls volleyball player Leah Chipman, a junior setter from Bristol Eastern, and sophomore Victor Rosa, the first-year quarterback of the Bristol Central football team.Â
Chipman, the daughter of Rick and Renee Chipman, was instrumental in two victories last week for the Lancers, including over the rival Rams.
â€śShe has stepped in as our main setter this season and is having a fantastic season so far,â€ť Bristol Eastern head coach Stefanie Reay said. â€śLeah is currently ranked second in the state in assists with 334 to date. Last week alone she had 52 assists in our match with Bristol Central and 29 assists in our match with Southington.â€ť
Carrying an 11-0 mark coming into this week while ranked No. 2 in the state, the Lancers beat Bristol Central in a tough 3-2 match on Tuesday and Southington 3-0 tally on Friday.
â€śThey played well and that was not one of the best games,â€ť Chipman said of the win over the Rams. â€śAs a team, we all had errors. We went into that game kind of underestimating them. The next time we play them, I hope we play like we did against Southington.â€ť
Interesting to note, Chipman only took up the sport as a freshman. She said that itâ€™s fun playing and she enjoys everything about the sport. She also realizes she has a big impact on the team as a setter. Itâ€™s an important role. As far as the team goal goes, itâ€™s the same as it is year-in and year-out, a state title.
â€śPersonally, itâ€™s just to get better as a player and to connect better with everyone on the team,â€ť Chipman said.
In addition to volleyball, Chipman plays varsity tennis for the school and was as the teamâ€™s No. 4 singles player last spring.Â
â€śI started my sophomore year,â€ť Chipman said. â€śMy father plays and has always wanted me to play. I tried all the sports. Tennis is fun and I get along with everybody. I like how the matches are fast-paced, thereâ€™s always something going on.â€ť
And, although she has another season and a half of high school volleyball left at the high school level, sheâ€™s already planning her future and that is to play college volleyball and study in the area of physical therapy or sports medicine.
Rosa returns this fall after a strong freshman season, where he earned all-conference as a defensive back. The son of Deanna and Glenn Rosa, he is one of the Ramsâ€™ leaders as a solid two-way player.
When the Rams, now 2-3, faced Windsor two weeks ago, Rosa was the offense. He had a hand in all but two of his teamâ€™s 34 winning points, which included four touchdown runs, a touchdown pass and a two-point conversion.
In a 33-8 loss to visiting Wethersfield on Friday, Rosa scored Centralâ€™s lone touchdown. He went 5-for-13 passing for 62 yards and rushed for 82 on 21 carries. He has 652 yards rushing this first half of the season to go along with 13 touchdowns.
â€śVic has played really well for us this year,â€ť Central head coach Jeff Papazian said. â€śHeâ€™s a dual threat quarterback who can hurt you with his arm or legs. Heâ€™s got a whole lot of ability and heâ€™s really starting to show everyone how good heâ€™s going to be.â€ť
For Rosa, itâ€™s all about team success.
â€śWeâ€™re very young and underrated, but we all have a love for the game,â€ť Rosa said. â€śWe know if we work hard as a team we can do good things. Last year (a 5-5 season) with the heart-breaking losses, we didnâ€™t make the playoffs and we plan to this year. Even though we have a tough schedule, we know what we are capable of when we come together as a team.â€ť
Football isnâ€™t the only sport Rosa has found some success in. He also played varsity basketball and baseball for Bristol Central as a freshman.
â€śFootball is my favorite, Iâ€™ve played it all my life,â€ť Rosa said. â€śI used to be a running quarterback (with the Midget Football Bristol Blue Dogs). Then I started out in high school as a slot receiver. I love the sport, because thereâ€™s no other sport where you form the bonds that you do.â€ť
He added that before he finishes his high school career, heâ€™d like to see the Rams win a state crown.
â€śThat is always the goal,â€ť Rosa said, â€śto put a banner up.â€ť