Silas Redd is no stranger to challenges. His life the past five years has been like that of a hurdler, clearing obstacles represented by life decisions and setbacks.
So as Redd left Norwalk on Tuesday for training camp as a free agent running back with the Redskins, he was not ill-equipped for his most formidable quest yet.
“It’s all learning experiences,” Redd said on Monday. “Stuff I appreciate and stuff I don’t take for granted.”
It all started when Redd graduated from King and decided to take the next step toward his professional aspirations at Penn State.
Efthimia Kutrubis got to experience something her freshman year of college that most athletes will never realize: winning a national championship title. The former Norwalk High School field hockey standout decided to take her talents to the next level at the University of Connecticut. Kutrubis, who will be a sophomore at UConn this fall, was part of the program’s third national championship. The team defeated Duke, 2-0, at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virg., in the final. The Huskies finished the season with an impressive record of 21-4.
Kutrubis was a decorated athlete at Norwalk. She excelled at both lacrosse and field hockey, and I had the pleasure of playing with her in both sports. She was an All-State second team selection during her senior year. Kutrubis was also selected to the All-FCIAC team.
When the moment finally arrived, and Curt Casali came up to bat as a major league player for the first time, there was a sense of ease, a feeling of accomplishment rather than fear.
“I don’t want to sound conceited, but the only time I was nervous was when I went out to warm up the pitcher,” said Casali, the New Canaan High School graduate who made his major league debut as a member of the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday night against the Twins. “As soon as I got into the batter’s box, I felt comfortable.”
Those emotions were soon roused, as Casali hit a line drive into right-center for a base hit, and again when he scored his first run.
“I think I mumbled to myself, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me,” Casali said. “I saw the third-base coach throw the ball into the dugout and I remembered all the time seeing that on TV whenever someone got their first hit. It’s pretty cool to see it happen to you.”