Sport

Stamford’s sports girls are outstanding this winter

Stamford's sports girls are outstanding this winter

When the Stamford girls’ basketball team opened the CIAC Class LL tournament at home against Warde on Monday night, in the stands cheering them front and center were members of the girls’ hockey team from school.

The previous Saturday, during the FCCIAC Women’s Hockey Championship game against Darien, the basketball team was on the ice providing vocal support for the Stamford/Westhill/Staples hockey team, which includes athletes of the three schools.

“It’s crazy because Stamford High teams never make it to the FCIAC finals and two women’s teams did this winter,” said Stamford senior basketball player Charlie Karukas. “We had a dry spell, but having two teams in the same week in the final is pretty crazy.”

This FCIAC final was the second league game for a Stamford women’s team in three days as the women’s basketball team faced St. Joseph in the basketball championship game, again with the team women’s hockey among the large student section of the game.

“The hockey team comes to our games and we all go to their games. It’s cool to see that,” Stamford women’s basketball coach Diane Burns said. “Our girls were all at the hockey rink for the FCIAC games and after they told us they would be at our game. It’s great to see these kids supporting each other.

It was the first appearance in the FCIAC final for the hockey team. The basketball team won the FCIAC in 2016 and lost in the championship game in 2017.

Although both teams have failed in championship games this season, the success on the field and on the ice has been a source of pride, not just for the girls, but for the entire school.

“It was a Cinderella season for hockey and it was great to see both of our teams play for the FCIAC Championships,” said Stamford/Westhill/Staples senior Sydney Butler. “It was great to see women’s sport take off at Stamford. Darien and New Canaan always have so many great girls’ teams, it’s great to see us now with those schools.

Hockey and basketball are still alive in their respective state tournaments at press time.

The hockey and basketball teams aren’t the only girls doing impressive things this winter.

Junior Samantha Yap won her second State Open wrestling title last weekend in the 106-pound division, making her the first girl to win two State Open titles after also winning as a freshman in 2020.

“I don’t know Samantha, but I’m so proud of her to see her excel in a male-dominated sport,” Butler said. “It’s a great time, not just in high school, but also in college and in professional sports, because there are so many great things that women can do in sports and the community that is forming around sports for women. women.”

Yap beat Taylor McCormick of Somers 9-3 by decision to claim the State Open title.

A few weeks earlier, Yap placed fourth in the FCIAC wrestling finals, wrestling all the boys in the 106-pound weight class.

“Samantha Yap is unbelievably amazing,” Burns said. “We have very good female athletes at this school. Not just in the winter, our softball and lacrosse teams also have some great athletes. But it’s been fun this winter with multiple girl teams and Samantha being successful. It’s so cool. It’s so cool that all the women’s teams are doing well this winter and they’re all supporting each other.

By winning the State Open in 2020, Yap became just the sixth Stamford Wrestling Wall of Champions name to appear on the State Open placard, and the only girl.

“It’s pretty good to know that I’m one of those people,” Yap said. “Being a champion and going to that wall wasn’t something I thought about when I started here. It’s a tough sport and being able to go through all three periods takes hard work. Crossing the states takes more than work than in other sports. I like that in wrestling. It ripples through everything. If you work hard on the mats, you can do it in school and do it in life.

This winter was the first time students could attend each other’s games, as fans last winter were limited to parents only due to COVID-19 restrictions.

The students were thrilled to be back in the stands and having winning teams to cheer on was even more fun.

“It’s really nice and it’s super cool,” Karukas said. “It’s a little annoying that it took until our senior year for this to happen, but it shows that our school is a great community. Since COVID we haven’t really been able to go to each other’s games and this year we finally got the chance.

Karukas, who also plays varsity softball at Stamford, said she was in awe of the school’s female athletes.

“I feel very unsportsmanlike with all these great athletes,” Karukas said. “Both teams have great athletes and what Samantha Yap is doing is so crazy. Some of our girls on the basketball team can jump out of the gym and they’re so fast. It’s crazy how athletic some of them are.

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