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Enfield High's Female Athletes Lead Renaissance Of Girl's Sports

Mary Baskerville is going to Providence to play basketball. Cat Fonseca will go to Assumption to play basketball. Danielle Delano is going to play basketball at Central Connecticut. Taylor Geaglone will head to the University of New Haven to play field hockey.

All four girls go to Enfield High. They sat at a table in the gym Wednesday afternoon, in front of a crowd of family and friends, and signed their letters of intent.

Two other girls — Delaney Lawler and Sarah Marino — sat in the bleachers and watched. They can’t sign letters of intent to play soccer until February. Lawler is going to Central; Marino is going to Queens College.

This group has been part of a renaissance, of sorts, in girls sports at Enfield High.

In 2010 and 2011, the girls basketball team did not win a game. In 2012, the team won three games. The last three years, the Eagles have gone to the state tournament semifinals.

From 2010 to 2012, the Enfield field hockey team won a total of four games. Last year, the field hockey team advanced to the Class L semifinals, losing 2-1 to Staples. The Eagles beat Fairfield Ludlowe 1-0 Saturday to advance to the Class L semifinals against Darien.

Girls soccer also has had recent success: in 2015, the team was the Class M runner-up. The Eagles lost to Ridgefield 1-0 Saturday in the Class LL quarterfinals.

Part of that success is due to the merger of Fermi and Enfield high schools, creating a bigger pool of athletes. But part of it is also due to this particular class.

“I’ve been here since 2001. I don’t remember seeing a class like this, male or female,” said Cory O’Connell, who became the Enfield athletic director over the summer, coached the boys basketball team for eight years and teaches business classes.

“Athletics fluctuates here. Sometimes the girls are good; sometimes the boys are good. I heard about these girls in fifth grade. Then to have them live up to the hype is great to see, and they’re all great kids.”

Jay Gaucher coaches three of the girls in basketball. Delano and Baskerville each has scored more than 1,000 points for the Eagles.

“It’s a very special group of young ladies, on the field, on the court, in the classroom, in the community,” Gaucher said. “They’re going to be missed. They set a great foundation for all women’s sports here and even boys sports here, they set the bar really high.

“The only class I can think of was in ’94, when I was [a student] here, we had Karen Hebert, Erica Johnston. Brenda Beaudry went to Michigan and played field hockey. Karen’s sister Erica was a freshman that year and she went to Providence. That’s the only group that I could think of that could match this group.”

Those were all field hockey players; Enfield won state titles in 1993 and 1994. The current group spans a variety of sports; many of them play multiple sports.

Geaglone plays ice hockey for the co-op team based in Suffield in the winter and she plays golf in the spring. Fonseca is the soccer goalkeeper. Lawler plays soccer and basketball. So does Delano.

Baskerville, Delano, Fonseca and Lawler, four of the basketball team’s starters, have played together since fifth grade.

“I think it started in travel basketball,” Delano said. “We all played each other in rec basketball. Travel was when we started to get to know each other. We already had the momentum when we came to high school. I think that was a key factor to how successful we’ve been. We’ve been playing for so long together. We know each other on and off the court. We’re all close. I’m playing with my best friends.”

Even though Geaglone doesn’t play the same sports as the others, they all know each other.

“We all fell in love with sports when we were younger,” she said. “A lot of us played together. I’ve grown up with these girls, watching them play. Our parents have had a big aspect in it too because they all played sports in high school.”

There are more on the way; still more are watching. Geaglone’s younger sister Tori is a talented junior on the field hockey team. Their 7-year-old sister Ryan excitedly watched as Taylor signed her letter Wednesday.

“I’ve only been the varsity coach for three years, but I’ve been here for a total of six and they are by far the most talented class that we’ve seen across the school,” girls soccer coach Kate Battista said. “It could be an anomaly but we hope not.

“I hope they are the first, setting an example for young kids who will see what you can achieve if you work hard and play together as a team and do well in school.”

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