Sports Person of the Week
Pavlovich Embraces Teamwork at Old Saybrook
Senior Cooper Pavlovich put in a lot of work while creating many strong relationships throughout his time as a football and baseball player at Old Saybrook High School. (Photo courtesy of Cooper Pavlovich )
Cooper Pavlovich put together a quality career as a two-sport athlete at Old Saybrook High School. A senior, Cooper competed for the Rams’ football and baseball teams and saw his fair share of success on both the gridiron and the diamond.
Cooper played all kinds of sports alongside his friends as a youngster. Football and baseball were the two sports that Cooper enjoyed the most and has stuck with through the years.
“I have been playing tackle football since the 5th grade. What brought me to the sport was a great group of friends who told me to give it a try,” says Cooper. “Ever since that moment of trying one practice with them, I was hooked. I love the camaraderie and team aspect to every portion of the game, and what makes this sport endlessly enjoyable for me are my friends.”
The team aspect is Cooper’s favorite part of both football and baseball. He knows that teamwork is necessary in order for any club to succeed. With so many moving parts constantly in motion, Cooper says that teamwork is especially essential on the football field.
“Football, in my opinion, is a sport that requires teamwork like no other. It is a sport that takes more than a few good players to win, and I’ve noticed throughout my high school career that the teams who win are those who can perform together,” Cooper says. “In a pregame, you can always get that sense of how everyone is doing just by the way the person next to you is coming off the ball. The feeling of being perfectly in sync with your teammates is like no other.”
The Old Saybrook-Westbrook (OS-W) football squad finished with a record of 3-7 last year, but all three of those wins were memorable for Cooper, who served as one of the team’s senior captains. Cooper will always cherish the Rams’ 35-6 victory over Morgan on Thanksgiving.
“The most thrilling moment for me was when the clock hit zero against Morgan High School,” says Cooper. “This win was more than a great way to end a season. This was a four-peat for my class, and the feeling my friends and I got knowing we beat our rivals every year of our high school career was outstanding. But what topped the thrill of the entire game was seeing the biggest smile on our head coach’s face.”
Cooper has a special relationship with OS-W coach Mike Marone and says that working with Marone made for a great experience with the football team. Just last week, Marone went out of his way to wish good luck to Cooper as Cooper gets ready to leave for the United States Coast Guard Academy.
“My coach is the most outgoing coach you will ever meet. He is one who will take the extra time to ensure every player on the field is thriving,” Cooper says of Marone. “But it’s more than his commitment to the team. In my relationship with my head coach, he taught me many life lessons that go much further than football. He taught me how to be a responsible captain of the football team and one who can look out for all his players. In short, my coach was more than just a coach to me—he is a dear friend of mine.”
Cooper lined up everywhere that Marone needed him to during the course of his football career, playing fullback, center, middle linebacker, defensive line, punter, and placekicker. Cooper was selected to the All-Pequot Conference Team on behalf of the Rams in his junior and senior seasons.
Training was imperative in terms of Cooper’s commitment to become a better athlete in each of his sports. Cooper was constantly in the weight room to work on his strength and conditioning, and also did a lot of running to improve his cardio.
“I would be so excited in the winter to come together with my friends three days a week and get stronger for the upcoming season,” says Cooper. “During the summer, I would work out on my own, along with going to conditioning with the team, to prepare myself for the upcoming season. My trick to staying ready for the season and improving my play was my team and their ability to push me past my limits.”
As much as he loves football, Cooper also enjoyed his time with the Old Saybrook baseball team, for which he pitched and played the corner infield positions. Head Coach Nick Hahn appreciates all the effort that Cooper gave in order to sharpen his skills, describing Cooper as a relentless worker and a great teammate in the dugout. Cooper was named a captain for Coach Hahn’s squad heading into his senior year.
“Cooper is one of the most hardworking, passionate young men I’ve ever coached. His dedication to baseball is only surpassed by his dedication to his teammates,” Hahn says. “Cooper is not only a leader in the weight room, but in the classroom and on the baseball field, as well.”
Aside from his athletic accomplishments, one of Cooper’s proudest moments was when he was selected for appointment to the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. Cooper feels honored for the opportunity to represent the stars and stripes.
“It has been a goal of mine since the 8th grade to attend this prestigious academy, and being able to go there is an outstanding feeling,” says Cooper. “In attending the academy, it allows me to serve our country, which I have wanted to do since I was a kid.”