Two seniors from Bristol Eastern, point guard Hannah Maghini of the Lancers girls basketball team, and Jordon Champagne, one of the leaders of the school’s wrestling team, share “Athlete of the Week” honors.
Maghini, the daughter of Michele and Paul Maghini, led coach Tony Floyd’s charges in two losses last week. The season-opener saw the Plainville take down the visiting Lancers 61-55 on Thursday while E. O. Smith beat them 54-45 on Saturday in Storrs. Maghini was a bright spot for the Lancers in scoring a team-best 20 and a game-high 24 points, respectively.
Floyd has called her an all-round player who is one of the best 3-point shooters in school history after hitting seven in a game last season. Maghini helped lead the Lancers last season, showcasing the team’s best overall statistics, 15.2 points per game, 4.0 assists, 2.1 steals and 5.0 rebounds.
“The past two games have been a learning experience for us and we definitely are working on defense and communications,” Maghini said. “I feel we’re still learning how to play together as a new team. I think we have to take it one game at a time.”
Despite the opening week losses, Maghini is upbeat of what will follow.
“We’re hoping to head to the [state] tournament,” Maghini said. “I think that’s possible. As the season goes on, we’ll achieve some goals and create more.”
When asked what she likes about the sport, she had different reasons including helping her prepare herself for the future.
“I’ve been playing it most of my life and have made my closest friends through [basketball],” Maghini said. “It’s taught me, just like Floyd [has], a lot of lessons I’ll take with me. I’ve had him for a coach for four years and he’s definitely taught me lessons that I’ll take with me after high school in the outside world.”
Next year, Maghini, a 2017 three-time all-conference player for the Lancers, plans to study nursing in college, and, if possible, play basketball at that next level.
Champagne, the son of Dayna and Joey Champagne, wrestles at 113 pounds for Eastern coach Bryant Lishness.
Starting out solid this winter, Champagne finished first on Saturday when he and his teammates captured the six-school C.J. Memorial Tournament at Berlin High. Not only did they walk away with the top hardware, but in doing so, edged out Vermont’s Mount Academy Union (MAU) for the title 237-221, a team that’s currently on a national record run of 29 consecutive state titles. The streak began during the 1988-89 season and also yielded MAU eight New England championships, including includes three in the past four years.
Champagne was one of three Eastern grapplers to win in the finals.
“Jordon is one of our senior leaders and is one of our most experienced wrestlers on the team,” Lishness said. “He has been in the varsity lineup all four years he has been with the program and is one our biggest producers of team points as he earns bonus points consistently with pins, majors or techs almost every match.
“Jordon is a great kid overall. He works hard and cares about his teammates and this program. [Sunday] he was one of many of our kids who gave back all day scoring tables for the Gladiator Youth Program. He really is a pleasure to coach.”
For Champagne, the win over the Vermont representatives was an important win for this year’s team.
“They haven’t lost a tournament in Connecticut in six years,” Champagne said. “I felt good because I was healthy and was confident in myself and my team and that I would win or so would team. I’m hoping to have an undefeated season and be able to go as far as the New England’s and place, and maybe go further than that.”
When asked what he liked about the sport, he listed a number of reasons.
“I just like the physical aspect of it and how it’s a 1-on-1 sport,” Champagne said. “If you make a mistake, it’s all on yourself to be able to get better as an individual. I like my coaches, they make me better each and every day. I also like the aspect of winning. It’s a very competitive sport.”
In closing his interview, Champagne left advice for the younger wrestlers.
“Stick with it,” Champagne said. “I know it can be hard at first with a lot of moves coming at you. The coaches will show you the basics and then they’ll start working a lot more on techniques and hitting the moves precisely. When I lose it makes me want to bounce back and get a win. That’s what I do.”
Champagne’s plan following graduation is to enter the military. He’s thinking Coast Guard first with the U.S. Navy also being a possibility.