Nonnewaug Winter Sports State Tournament Results and Season Review


Noreen Chung

The Nonnewaug boys basketball team experienced a couple of tough postseason defeats this season.

Ben Stewart, Sports Reporter

WOODBURY — The winter sports season ends as the snow at Nonnewaug begins to finally melt off the rooftops. This winter sports season had some great moments and historic achievements. Here’s a roundup of each team’s postseason performances.

Boys Basketball

In the opening round of the Berkshire League tournament, the Chiefs met the Gilbert Yellowjackets and suffered a loss after leading the whole game. The Chiefs fell short in overtime, 59-58.

On March 6, 19th-ranked Nonnewaug faced off against Bolton in the Division V state tournament. For the Chiefs, this game had a lot of significance since both the coaches and the players wanted to win a state tournament game for the first time in seven years.

The Chiefs lost, 52-48, in a heartbreaking defeat. Due to foul trouble and several cold streaks in the fourth quarter, Nonnewaug, which had been ahead for the majority of the game, was unable to secure the victory.

The Nonnewaug girls basketball team reached the Berkshire League semifinals. (Kim Calabrese)

Girls Basketball

The Chiefs faced the Northwestern Highlanders in the semifinals of the annual BL tournament, a third matchup against team they had previously lost to twice during the regular season.

The result was the same, a 52-39 defeat to the Highlanders.

Nonnewaug trailed 30-19 at the break. Before staging a fleeting comeback in the fourth quarter, the Chiefs fell behind by as many as 17 points in the third. Nonnewaug got to within 10 points, powered by senior Mallory Tomkalski (15 points) and junior Juliette Nichols (11 points).

The Chiefs then went to take on the 21st-ranked Suffield in the state tournament as the 12th-ranked team in the Class MM division. The Chiefs defeated Suffield, 59-53, in the first round before losing 45-34 to Foran in the second round. 


Jack Wendel, a senior at Nonnewaug, won his second consecutive Class S state title after a two-day tournament that tested his endurance.

The top seed, Wendel, arrived at Killingly High bright and early on Feb. 18 at 9 a.m. and left close to 8:30 p.m.

Wendel defeated No. 2-seeded Andrew Johnson of Portland to win the 182-pound division’s championship match in 26 seconds.

Most impressively, Wendel had the fastest fall of the competition (16 seconds), which helped him win the Most Outstanding Wrestler title.

Wendel finished third at the State Open last year and won the Class S championship at 170 pounds. He suffered an injury in practice prior to this year’s State Open that prevented him from competing.


Several spectators at the annual Splash Classic were impressed by the Nonnewaug girls’ swimming performance in February. It was Nonnewaug’s most outstanding result in the eighth season as a program, surpassing the previous best mark of ninth place, to take second place in the competition.

In a time of 4:16.88, the Nonnewaug 400 freestyle relay team of Olivia Bernardi, Amelia Pillis, Julia Longoria, and Grace Walkup came in second. Bernardi finished third (1:02.55) in the 100-yard freestyle, while teammate Juliana Bailey finished fourth (1:03.34).

In the 500-yard freestyle, Grace Walkup of Nonnewaug set a school record and finished third in a time of 5:48.28. 

The Chiefs finished third at the BL championships with medalists including Walkup (second, 500 free; third, girls 200 free), Pillis (third, 200 IM), Longoria (first, girls 50 free; third, girls 100 free), Emily Stewart (second, girls 50 free), Madelynn Orosz (second, girls 100 butterfly), Bernardi (second, girls 100 free), and Kyle Viveros (third, 100 breaststroke). 

At the Class S state competition, Viveros placed 13th in the 200 IM and 20th in the 100 breast. Walkup placed 20th in the 500 free, Orosz was 32nd in the 100 fly, Longoria finished 33rd in the 500 free, Pillis finished 23rd in the 500 free. The medley relay finished 18th, the 200 free relay finished 17th and the 400 free relays placed 16th. 

Indoor Track

Many individuals from the Nonnewaug’s indoor track team qualified for states, making it another historically significant season. In Class M, Sophia Garguilo was the top individual finisher, placing eighth in the 300 meters (45.04 seconds). Gianna Lodice finished the girls 55-meter hurdles event in 9.89 seconds (13th place), while Ella Quinn placed 25th in 10.28 seconds. Lodice also ran the 300 in 46 seconds flat, good for 15th place.

In the boys 600, Liam Sandor finished with a time of 1:34.04, good for 20th place in Class S.


The Nonnewaug gymnastics team finished seventh in the Class S championships, ended with 120.35 points. Leah Murphy was the Chiefs’ top performer in Class S, earning a 9.1 on vault and a 9.0 on balance beam. She qualified for the State Open, where she finished 10th in the all-around.