By Hal Levy, Shore Line Newspapers
Special to MaxPreps.com
The Cheshire High girls' swim team defeated Branford, 122-66, Monday to set a new national record for consecutive wins.
The Rams have now won 235 straight dual meets, a streak which began in 1986, also against Branford. The old mark of 234 was set by Elkhart (Ind.) Central.
The one constant in the streak is coach Ed Aston, who has been there since the beginning. "It's just so hard to describe," he told John Pettit of the Meriden Record-Journal. "I'm just so happy to see this for all our girls. The outpouring was just incredible. We've never had anything like this before."
Former Cheshire swimmers from up and down the east coast returned for the meet at the pool they call The Bubble. Each team member was accompanied by an alumna as she emerged from the locker room before the meet.
Former all-America swimmer Carolyn Bowman, now residing in Boston, credited Aston with being the impetus for the mark. "You have to give a lot of credit to him," she told Pettit. "There's so much pride in the team. You know when you join the team there are certain things that are necessary. It's hard work and it's determination. You put in the hours and you get the results. That's one of Ed's philosophies: "don't waste his time and don't waste your time."
"If anyone could do this, it would be Ed Aston," said Washington, D.C., resident Elaine Easton, who was there for the beginning of the streak. "He produces swimming dynasties, he really does. It was the hardest I ever worked in my life for anything. It was the most rigorous training, requiring the most discipline and structure."
Aston's teams have more than two dozen CIAC state championships, he has over 700 coaching wins between the Cheshire boys' and girls' teams and he is a member of various halls of fame, including that of the Connecticut High School Coaches Association.
With the high school football season at its midpoint, the top five teams in the state's media and coaches' polls are the same. Ansonia leads Greenwich, Shelton, Southington and Staples-Westport, in that order.
Four of the next five teams are the same in both polls, albeit in a different order. The writers have New London sixth, followed by Bunnell-Stratford, Stratford High, Daniel Hand-Madison and Seymour. The coaches went with Bunnell, New London, Hand, Stratford and Berlin.
Berlin became the first team in 2007 to run afoul of the state's 50-point rule. Coach Jon Capodice, who, ironically, is a member of the state's coaching committee, faces a one-game suspension after his team defeated Farmington, 57-0, last weekend.
Capodice had some mitigating factors in his favor including the fact he substituted liberally in the second half, did not attempt a second-half pass, had his team running in the middle and suggested the use of running time. All those factors are part of the informal code the football committee put into place when judging whether a coach should be suspended.
Thursday, a five-member panel voted, 3-2, to exonerate Capodice. The group was not unanimous in its belief he should have instituted score-control methods earlier in the game than he did (it was 42-0 when he suggested running time, the football committee suggests a 35-point second-half lead). In the two years the policy has been in place, three games have been decided by 50 or more and in two of the three, the coach avoided suspension.
Berlin plays Northwest Catholic Saturday in a big Nutmeg Conference game.
Another new leader has emerged at the top of the state boys' soccer poll. Westhill-Stamford took over the top spot after Wethersfield lost to Bristol Central. Westhill is 12-0-0. Simsbury (10-0-1) moved into second place with Farmington (9-0-0) third and Wethersfield (10-1-0) fourth.
In girls' soccer, St. Joseph-Trumbull (10-0-1) remained first despite a tie with Ridgefield. Second is Daniel Hand-Madison (11-0-0) while Cheshire (10-0-1) is third. Hand and Cheshire appear headed for a showdown in the Southern Connecticut Conference tournament. The two do not play during the regular season. Newtown (11-0-1) and Farmington (8-0-2) round out the top five.
Daniel Hand-Madison (9-0-0) leads the field hockey poll with Granby Memorial second. Hand defeated Granby, 1-0, in overtime, last week. New Milford, Pomperaug-Southbury and Branford round out the top five. Hand and Branford meet Oct. 29. Hand won the first time the two played.
Darien (13-0) retains the lead in the girls' volleyball poll with Coventry, Newtown, Cheshire and Amity Regional of Woodbridge following. Amity and Cheshire play one another next Friday. Cheshire won the first meeting between the two.
Danbury, which has spent time as the top-ranked team in the nation, leads the state boys' cross country poll. Glastonbury is second with William Hall-West Hartford third, New Milford fourth and Norwich Free Academy fifth.
In the girls' poll, Glastonbury is first with Guilford second, Norwich Free Academy third, William Hall-West Hartford fourth and Ridgefield fifth.
The state divisional championships will be contested Saturday, Oct. 27 at Wickham Park with the state open the following Friday.