Up North Report: Wolcott Tech, Gilbert/Northwestern
TORRINGTON — The Wolcott Tech football team is used to adversity.
The team didn’t play a true home game in its first varsity season, 2008. The Wildcats played at Torrington’s Pop Warner field for its home games, with one final game on Thanksgiving against Lewis Mills’ junior varsity team.
In 2009, the home games were played at Oliver Wolcott Technical High School. There have been points since then where Wolcott Tech has had to move its home games to the road because of poor field conditions. Wildcat athletic director Ray Tanguay is hoping that the new softball field and drainage systems being installed on the athletic complex remedy that issue. The project comes from the State of Connecticut, as can be seen by the giant sign with Gov. Dannel Malloy’s name on it that sits just inside the property fence on Winthrop Street.
“It’s just a waiting game,” Tanguay said in an interview on Wednesday night.
Gilbert/Northwestern, another team that started Wednesday, has around 45 players, according to head coach Scott Salius. The Yellowjackets went inside The Gilbert School’s gymnasium until the lightning cleared in the evening, then went back out to the practice field behind the school to work.
“There always seems to be something,” Salius said. “Fight against the weather, fight against time, everything else, but first day, we’re just trying to hit them with the very, very, very, very basics, either brand new for the new guys or just a review for the old guys.”
Gilbert/Northwestern doesn’t have time to waste, given it will be facing the same five games that it had to open the 2011 season. The Yellowjackets went 3-2 against Coventry/Windham Tech (loss), Enfield (win), Ellington/Somers (loss), SMSA/University (win) and Avon (win). GN finished 7-3 and was a mere two-point conversion away against Stafford/East Windsor (a 22-21 loss) from a second straight Class M playoff berth. The Yellowjackets went 8-2 in the regular season in 2010 before going 1-1 in the ‘M’ playoffs.
“This year’s kind of pivotal for us,” Salius said. “The future’s looking really good for us.”
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