Two seniors from Bristol Eastern, David Bernier and Jordan Fitzsimons, have been chosen as the Athlete of the Week picks for area scholastic sports.
Fitzsimons, the daughter of Darcie and Mike Fitzsimons, is a team captain who plays shortstop for the Lancers.
Her coach, Scott Redman, says she has a great work ethic in getting where she is today. She’s batting .419 with three doubles, one triple, 16 RBI and 19 runs. The latter two numbers are second best on the team.
“She has been a four-year starter for us and has been the team’s leader this year,” Redman said. “She has hit in the middle the majority of her career and flourished. Fitz is driven to be successful and works relentlessly at her craft.
“She will take ground balls until you kick her off the field and she is the type of player that will go for extra batting practice after the team practice. As one of two seniors on the team, she has left a lasting impact on the program and will surely be missed on and off the field next season.”
The Lancers entered this week ranked ninth in Class LL and finished the regular season 14-4 after a win over Bristol Central on Monday.
“I think we did better than expected since we have such a young team,” Fitzsimons said. “Everyone has filled the positions from last year. We weren’t expected to have as great a season as we’ve had, so we’re very happy with it and we continue to grow.
“Last year we were ranked real high, but fell short in the first round. This year, we have a shot to go a couple of rounds, since we know our mistakes from last year.”
Fitzsimons is from a sports-minded family that goes deep. Among the most recent involved in sports is her cousin, pitcher Peyton Greger of Bristol Central, and her brother, Connor, a CCSU graduate who is in the Los Angeles Angels minor league system.
Her father coaches for the CT Titans, a team she’s played with since the age of eight. Her grandfather, Rick Fitzsimons, once served as a pitching instructor for the Titans.
And then there’s the Greger family, now in its third generation of Bristol sports. Two family members, Bill and Gerry Greger, have been enshrined into the Bristol Sports Hall of Fame.
Her plans for next year include softball and studying criminal justice at WCSU. Honors bestowed upon her in high school have come from both sports and her work in the classroom. She was all-conference in softball and played in the Junior Select All-Star Game in 2017, while a scholar-athlete honoree by the Bristol Sports Hall of Fame. Academically, she is in the Spanish National Honor Society.
Bernier, the son of Jim and Tammy Bernier, is a catcher for coach Mike Giovinazzo as a first-year varsity starter and a quad captain this season. He’s been with the school’s baseball program for four years, working his way up the ranks.
“Dave has been a rock behind the plate for us this year,” Giovinazzo said. “He blocks balls in the dirt, throws out runners and sets the tone for our defense with his heads-up play. He has done a great job in guiding an inexperienced pitching staff to a very good season. As one of our captains, his leadership and enthusiasm sets the tone for the rest of the team.”
The team was 9-8 to start this week.
“As a team, we are a solid roster,” Bernier said. “We just need to come together and play the way we should. We just need to make the simple mistakes go away and play a solid baseball game. If we play the way we should, we have a chance to go all the way in the state tournament.”
He added that he has benefitted from playing baseball and wrestling for the school. The Eastern grapplers won the 2018 Class L state crown.
“Sports has shown me what it’s like to come together with others and it’s given me perseverance towards my goals in life,” Bernier said. “It’s shown me my true character.”
As far as baseball goes, he’s been playing for 14 years and 13 of them have been behind the plate.
“You get to be a leader on the field and you see everything,” Bernier said. “As far as baseball goes, it’s America’s greatest pastime. What can you not like about it?”
Following graduation next month, Bernier will be gearing up for a six-year stint in the U.S. Navy.
“My dad was a Marine and it’s the best route for me in the future,” Bernier said. “I’ll be an air traffic controller.”
Contact Bob Montgomery at or by calling 860-973-1808.