Terryville girls basketball player Zoe Jabs and Bristol Central indoor track runner Kaynan Conrod have earned this week’s “Athletes of the Week” honors.
Jabs, the daughter of Alicia and Bob Jabs of Plymouth, is a co-captain for the Kangaroos and has played well this season.
“Zoe is a 5-8 forward/guard who has played for us for four years,” her head coach Tom Morgan said. “We have an unusual makeup to our team this year and last, in that we have lots of guards and three centers, but no real power forwards. Zoe is not very big, but she plays so hard, and with so much guts, that she has been our four-man for much of the season but can play guard when necessary.
“She leads our team in rebounding. She also leads in assists and is second in steals. She is one of the greatest hustlers that I have coached in my 35 years. She never gives up. She motivates others simply by her hard-nosed style of play. When we play man, she always gets the other team’s best player unless it’s a center. She makes opposing players work hard, because she is constantly up on them, getting in their face, and giving up nothing easily.”
It has been a tough year for Terryville, which has a 3-14 record entering this week, but the players continue to play hard.
“It was a rough season, but we have a better record than last year,” Jabs said. “We had a coaching change, which was good because coach Morgan was our JV coach before. Despite not winning a lot of games, we got out there and played hard every game. The Berkshire League is unpredictable, so we are waiting for upsets.”
In playing sports for Terryville, which includes being named All-Press by The Bristol Press in soccer this past fall as a defensive standout, Jabs, said she has grown as an individual in doing so.
“I gained a lot of confidence in myself,” Jabs said. “And there’s been [learning] determination and leadership.”
Of the two sports tough, basketball is her favorite.
“It’s the only sport that’s individual, but also a team sport,” Jabs said. “I like how it’s fast-paced, there’s always something going on. There’s never a moment where you aren’t running or playing defensive as a guard. I can’t get noticed for scoring, but for stealing the ball.”
As far as her next school year will go, she has been accepted at St. Mary College in Newburgh, N.Y., to study nursing. It’s a hard program of studies, but she hopes she can find her way into the school’s basketball program.
Conrod, senior, is a school record-holder in indoor track for the Rams. The highlight of his season to date was being the lone Bristol athlete to capture an individual first place at the CCC Indoor Track Championships at the Floyd Little Athletic Center in New Haven. That took place a week ago Saturday when he captured the 300-meters. Two weeks previous to this, he set a new school mark in the distance with a 36.72 run.
His head coach, Kevin Taylor, is appreciative of having him on the team not only for what he does on the track, but off it as well.
“Kaynan’s a hard worker,” Taylor said. “He deserves every accomplishment that he receives because of simply how hard he works, He broke the 300-meter record, which was owned by Drew Lee, and didn’t even realize it at first. He’s a humble kid who responds to challenges and steps up when his team needs him. The team does not win the conference championship without him…period.”
With the CCC South Blue Division crown in the Rams’ pocket, it’s now on to the Class L meet on Saturday. The Rams hope to make a solid showing and, again, Conrod will be a big part of any success.
“I’m trying to make the State Open and to qualify for a national time,” Conrod said. “The time is 35.8 in the 300-meters and my PR is 36.72 and that was a couple of weeks ago. Dree Lee had the previous record and it was 37-something. I’ll have three chances to qualify for the nationals at the Class L meet, the State Open and in the New Englands if I qualify. I’ll also be running in the 4x200 and 4x400 relays at the Class L meet.”
An all-conference selection in both indoor and outdoor track, he hopes he can earn All-State honors in one or both before graduating in June. In the meantime, he’s practicing and getting ready for Saturday, while appreciative of what cross country and both indoor and outdoor track have done for him.
“It’s shaped me into who I am today,” Conrod said. “I have good coaches who have inspired me to get good grades and get as much as I can out of my sport. I found my main friend group through track.”
As far as the 2017-2018 school years goes, Conrod has been accepted to Southern Connecticut State, where he will study either English or journalism. He added that he might also run for the school’s track teams.