Two high-scoring athletes who rank among the all-time best in their sport at school, are the Athlete of the Week picks for area high school sports. They are St. Paul senior tri-captain Catherine Ciampi of the girls lacrosse team and junior Jose Ramirez of the Bristol Central boys track team.
Ciampi, the daughter of Donald and Ellen Ciampi of Cheshire, has been exceptional week in and week out for coach Elaine Bowman’s Falcons this spring.
“Catherine has already netted 26 goals this season and is currently our leading scorer,” Bowman said. “Catherine plays both offense and defense and is an integral part of our team’s success. She has an incredible drive and hustle and never gives up. She is one of the hardest-working athletes I have ever come across.
“She is also a great captain and motivator for the other players. She pushes them to do their best. With her speed and tenacity Catherine has helped us in many tough games, like Lewis Mills and Watertown, and is part of the reason why we came out on top.”
The Falcons are 10-2 coming into this week after finishing with a record of 11-6 last season. They lost captain and defensive stalwart Taylor Connor from last season, but returning this season have been Greta Panke and Emma Cretella, 2018 all-conference players along with Ciampi.
“We’re really doing well this year and I think we had a great year last year,” Ciampi said. “We’re trying to prove ourselves, we’re better than last year and so far we’ve beaten every team in the conference this year.”
She added that the team goals are to win the conference title and go as far as possible in the state tournament.
And as far as her coach goes, Ciampi says Bowman’s the best.
“She’s been a really great coach so far,” Ciampi said. “She’s very motivating and always has a positive attitude and wants us to be our best everyday. She’s knowledgeable about the game and played in college. She has set goals for each of us individually and as a team.”
Ciampi, a midfielder, was originally going to go out for outdoor track as a freshman. However, she had friends talk her into lacrosse and now she is glad they did. In addition to lacrosse, she has also played soccer and basketball at St. Paul.
Ciampi’s plans for next year include attending Providence College, but she says she won’t be playing any sport on the varsity level. She may, though, consider club lacrosse.
Ramirez, the son of Efrian and Marcia Ramirez, etched his name into the school and Middletown Invitational record books last week. He went 1:54.95 in the 800 meters at the invitational, breaking the mark of 1:55.61 set by Jacob Eschner in 2011. He also ran on the Rams’ third place 4x800 and fourth place 4x400 relays in Middletown.
“Jose is a naturally gifted runner and his work ethic and positive attitude make him very coachable,” Rams coach Tamara Stafford-Kirk said. “I just love watching Jose run. It is effortless and exciting. The race he ran at Middletown to break the school record was unbelievable. After getting off to what he and I would consider a mediocre start, he stormed back to capture the win and meet record.
“My fellow coaches and I were literally in awe of the resulting time, but mostly in awe of Jose’s composure to get himself in the right position for the finishing stretch of that race. Jose is really deserving of this honor. I am honored to coach him.”
Ramirez gave his take.
“It was good running weather, kind of cloudy and I was feeling it,” Ramirez said. “I had good guys running in front of me, so I was pacing off of them. I was seeded sixth and my goal was to get between 1:56 and 1:57 and I just stayed with the top kids the first half and I was going faster than my [normal] half pace.
“I was holding on and in the stretch, I said to myself, ‘Yah, I’m seeded sixth, but I didn’t come here to lose.’ After I heard the time, I knew I had the record. I was trying to hit 1:56. So, 1:54 to me is crazy. I’m still in shock I got it.”
Ramirez has now qualified to compete in the 800 at the nationals in North Carolina in June.
“It’s a very strategic race,” Ramirez said. “It’s really a battle of who lasts longer. That’s what I like about it. You’ve got to have to want it. Nothing’s determined just because someone said so.”
As far as the two relays go, he will also be working with teammates on the 4x400 and 4x800 in aiming for state and New England meets. Those runners are Ramon Ambert, David Bowes and Jose Navedo, and Devin Flores, Pacifico Flores and Austin Freve, respectively.
In the meantime, there’s more to come from Ramirez this spring before his senior year.
Contact Bob Montgomery at or by calling 860-973-1808.