Thursday, January 27, 2022

Sports Person of the Week

Chieffo Never Stops Working on the Field


Nick Chieffo has constantly worked hard to become a better lacrosse player, and that work ethic earned him the title of senior captain for the Hornets’ boys’ lacrosse team this spring. Photo courtesy of Jim May

Nick Chieffo has constantly worked hard to become a better lacrosse player, and that work ethic earned him the title of senior captain for the Hornets’ boys’ lacrosse team this spring. (Photo courtesy of Jim May)

While growing up playing football, Nick Chieffo decided that he wanted to try out lacrosse during as a 6th-grader in Branford. Nick developed quite a liking for the sport over the next few years and went on to enjoy a nice career with the Hornets’ boys’ lacrosse squad, leading the team as a senior captain this season.

Nick began playing lacrosse at Walsh Intermediate School. Several of Nick’s friends were playing the sport, and they encouraged him to give it a shot. After his 8th-grade season, Nick really started to take lacrosse seriously and realized that it was a sport he could excel at.

“I started seeing a lot of improvement. I was always a football kid. I never thought lacrosse would be something that I really like to play,” says Nick. “But after 8th grade, I started looking at it differently. I started enjoying it and wanted to play more.”

As a freshman, Nick joined the Branford boys’ lacrosse program and played midfielder on the second line for the varsity squad. Nick felt ready for the challenge of playing varsity right away and was prepared to work as hard as necessary to succeed.

“I was more of a defensive player rather than offense. But I thought I played pretty well my freshman year,” Nick says. “I was able to put in the work as a freshman and was able to succeed.”

At the beginning of his sophomore season, Nick was elevated to the first line and began taking the Hornets’ face-offs. He continued to put in extra work before and after practice to improve his craft and help the team in any way possible.

With a year of varsity experience under his belt, Nick was more comfortable on the field as a sophomore and felt that the game was slowing down for him.

After seeing his junior season get canceled due to COVID-19, Nick returned to his starting varsity role as a senior this year. Nick says that during his tenure with the Hornets, he’s realized the importance of putting in time and effort in order to get better and also how he needed to treat practices just like they were a game.

Nick entered the 2021 season as a captain for the Hornets alongside fellow seniors Luke Volpe, Markus Indeck, and Connor Erickson. Nick felt honored that the coaching staff gave him the nod to lead the team as a captain, especially since that had been his goal since he was a freshman.

“It has been great. I’ve always wanted to be a captain for lacrosse since my freshman year,” Nick says. “It’s great that they picked me, and I’m very excited they did.”

Head Coach Jim May says that Nick is an ideal captain due to his work ethic on and off the field. May has certainly seen Nick grow as an athlete throughout the past few years, but he believes that Nick’s growth as a person is what stands out the most.

“Having a Nick as a starter for four-straight years has been a blessing. He is absolutely the most coachable, humble, and well-mannered player that I’ve had in maybe all of my 26 years,” says May. “We’re all in the process of transforming and becoming better versions of ourselves. That’s the epitome of Nick Chieffo.

“He became a better version of himself every day, every game, every practice,” May says. “Nick’s parents and the coaching staff have been blessed to have a kid who has great ears, great eyes, and a great heart.”

As he was playing lacrosse, Nick also joined the Branford football team as a freshman. Nick started football in the 4th grade and went on to play wide receiver and safety for the Hornets. Nick ultimately stuck with both sports at Branford in large part due to the many friendships that he made through athletics.

After graduating from Branford, Nick will be attending the University of New Haven to pursue a degree in criminal justice. He also plans to play club lacrosse at the school.

It was seven years ago that Nick first picked up a lacrosse stick. In the years that have passed, Nick has made big strides in the sport and become a key member of the Hornets. More than the wins and losses, Nick says that playing lacrosse has taught him numerous life lessons that he will carry with him long after high school.

“Coach May didn’t care about the wins and the losses. He just taught you how to be a man and teach you how life is,” says Nick. “That’s how lacrosse stuck with me. It wasn’t just about the sport. He taught everyone how to become a better man.”

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