Football UConn

UConn Football Announces Cancellation of 2020 Season Due to Risks Associated With COVID-19 – UConn Huskies

The University of Connecticut Department of Athletics today announced that its football program will cancel all competition for the 2020-21 school year.

“After receiving guidance from state and public health officials and consulting with football student-athletes, we’ve decided that we will not compete on the gridiron this season,” director of athletics David Benedict said. “The safety challenges created by COVID-19 place our football student-athletes at an unacceptable level of risk.”

Members of the team will remain enrolled in classes, either virtually or in person, as full-time students at UConn.  The team members will also retain access to facilities and support services in accordance with NCAA rules, ensuring that student-athletes remain on track academically and developmentally.      

While the Huskies began spring practice on February 4 and were one of the only teams in the country to complete a full spring schedule, the opportunities to condition and train as a team have been limited in recent months.  The team has been on campus since early July with zero student-athletes testing positive for COVID-19. 

This season’s games against Illinois, Indiana, Maine and Mississippi have already been taken off the schedule by those schools’ respective conferences and uncertainty surrounded the contests against North Carolina and Virginia.

“The necessary measures needed to mitigate risk of football student-athletes contracting the coronavirus are not conducive to delivering an optimal experience for our team,” Benedict said. “Ultimately, the student-athletes would rather preserve their year of eligibility with an eye to competing under more typical circumstances during the 2021 season.”  

Head football coach Randy Edsall concurred. “We engaged and listened to the concerns of our football student-athletes and feel this is the best decision for their health, safety, and well-being,” Edsall said.  “Our team is united in this approach and we will use this time to further player development within the program and gear ourselves to the 2021 season.”

The football student-athletes offered their thoughts in a statement.  “As a team we are in full support of the decision to not compete in 2020.  We have many health concerns and not enough is known about the potential long term effects of contracting COVID-19. Additionally, we have not had the optimal time to train mentally & physically to be properly prepared to compete this season.  We love this game and love competing.  We came to campus in the beginning of July knowing there would be challenges presented by the pandemic but it is apparent to us now that these challenges are impossible to overcome.”

“I am supportive of this decision and know that it was made in conjunction with and in the best interest of our football student-athletes, University President Thomas Katsouleas said.  “These young men love competing for UConn and our fans love cheering for them on Saturdays.  But the associated health risks are too much to overcome and I agree this is the best course of action.”    

UConn Athletics will be reaching out to season ticket holders and supporters in the coming days to further explain options and provide individualized solutions as needed including full refunds when requested.  Regarding the status of other fall sports, UConn will continue to work with the BIG EAST to chart the best path forward.

“Among all the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic for the last several months, our top priority has clearly been and will always be ensuring the health and well-being of our student-athletes, staff and fans,” Benedict continued.  “With that in mind, we concluded that this action was necessary.  Obviously, there are details that need to be addressed but safety was foremost on our minds when making this decision and we know our fans share that same commitment.”

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UConn student Peter Manfredonia, wanted for 2 killings, caught in Maryland after six-day manhunt – USA TODAY

Published 12:07 a.m. ET May 28, 2020

A college student wanted for the slayings of two people in Connecticut was caught and arrested on Wednesday night following a six-day manhunt, according to law enforcement officials in Maryland.

Hagerstown Police Chief Paul Kifer said he got a text message at 9:26 p.m. after his investigators learned Peter Manfredonia, 23, was in custody. Police were told Manfredonia walked out of a wooded area behind a truck stopand turned himself in, Kifer said.

The U.S. Marshals Service and Washington County Sheriff’s Office were at the scene along with state police, authorities said.

Connecticut State Police said Manfredonia is wanted in the machete killing of 62-year-old Ted DeMers and wounding of another man in Willington on Friday. Manfredonia went to another man’s home, held him hostage and stole his guns and truck, then drove about 70 miles southwest to Derby, Connecticut, state police said.

**UPDATE**Suspect, Peter Manfredonia has been found & is in custody. CSP Eastern District Major Crime are on scene in Hagerstown, MD. No injuries to any law enforcement personnel or Manfredonia. More info will be provided on Thurs, May 28

— CT State Police (@CT_STATE_POLICE) May 28, 2020

In Derby, police found Manfredonia’s high school friend, Nicholas Eisele, 23, shot to death in his home. Authorities believe Manfredonia then forced Eisele’s girlfriend into her car and fled the state. The girlfriend was found unharmed with her car at a rest stop on Interstate 80 in New Jersey, police said.

Manfredonia then took an Uber to a Walmart in East Stroudsburg, not far from the New Jersey border, Pennsylvania State Police said.

A lawyer for Manfredonia’s family said he has struggled with mental health problems, but did not show signs of violence.

Hagerstown Police were notified Wednesday afternoon that Manfredonia might have come into the area, Kifer said. That was more than a day after Manfredonia was dropped off downtown, he said.

Information from the Pennsylvania State Police, Chambersburg Police Department and U.S. Marshals Service revealed Manfredonia abandoned a stolen vehicle in Pennsylvania on Tuesday, according to a Hagerstown police news release. Authorities discovered the stolen vehicle on Wednesday. The other agencies investigating determined Manfredonia then took an Uber to Hagerstown.

Pennsylvania State Police on Wednesday afternoon said they had received a tip about a possible sighting of Manfredonia in Chambersburg. Witness descriptions and surveillance video images matched that of Manfredonia, according to police.

Contributing: The Associated Press

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UConn Student Went on Rampage, Killing 2 Before Fleeing, Police Say – The New York Times

Authorities are seeking Peter Manfredonia, 23, who was last seen in the Poconos of Pennsylvania.

Luis Ferré-SadurníAndrea Salcedo

On Friday morning, Ted DeMers was driving down a leafy street he knew well, in a rural town in northeast Connecticut, when he spotted a young man on foot wearing a motorcycle helmet. Mr. DeMers stopped to speak to him and the man climbed into his vehicle.

Moments later, the young man fatally attacked Mr. DeMers, 62, with an edged weapon and seriously injured a neighbor who tried to help, the police said.

The young man, Peter Manfredonia, 23, a senior at the University of Connecticut, fled and broke into a nearby home and held the homeowner captive before stealing his guns and a truck, the police said.


Credit…via Connecticut State Police

On Sunday, he drove to an acquaintance’s house about an hour away and killed him, too, before kidnapping another person, stealing a car and driving to New Jersey. There he released his captive, abandoned the vehicle and fled alone into Pennsylvania, where he was last seen on foot in the Poconos region.

Now, the F.B.I. and state authorities have embarked on a sprawling, multistate manhunt for Mr. Manfredonia as investigators continue to make sense of a spasm of violence that has stunned the area and left two families devastated.

The authorities believe that Mr. Manfredonia, last seen on Sunday afternoon, is still armed and dangerous.

Michael Dolan, an attorney representing the Manfredonia family, said that Mr. Manfredonia has struggled with mental health issues for several years and had worked with a number of therapists.

“They’ve asked me to begin by expressing their condolences to the families of those who have suffered,” Mr. Dolan said. He added, “Peter, if you are listening, your parents, sisters and entire family love you. You have their complete and total support. No one wants any harm to come to you or anyone else,” he continued. “They are begging you to surrender so they can help you through this process.”

Mr. DeMers lived in Willington, a small town about 30 minutes northeast of Hartford, near the campus of the University of Connecticut. He was driving from his home, where he had a basement woodworking workshop, to his barn, where he stored wood and other supplies, when he saw a young man walking in the opposite direction. They exchanged words, his son Christopher DeMers, 34, said.

“He ended up on my father’s four-wheeler and my dad gave him a ride back to the end of the road,’’ Mr. DeMers said, explaining that his mother witnessed the man and his father together from the DeMers home, which is just a few hundred feet away from the barn.

Less than 10 minutes later, a neighbor started honking and flashing his car’s lights outside of the house. The neighbor told Mr. DeMers’s wife, Cynthia DeMers, to bring ice because her husband was in “rough shape,” Christopher DeMers recalled.

When Ms. DeMers and the neighbor arrived at the scene, it was grisly: Ted DeMers had injuries to his head, leg and arm and was bleeding profusely, Christopher DeMers said.

“My mom tried to tourniquet his arm and stopped the bleeding on his leg,” he said. “She watched him die.”


Credit…via Christopher DeMers

Another neighbor, whom the police did not identify and who had tried to intervene, was also bleeding. Mr. Manfredonia and his motorcycle were gone.

Ms. DeMers said state police detectives told her they believed Mr. Manfredonia had been on their street because he had been stalking a neighbor’s daughter.

Later, Mr. Manfredonia broke into a house in Willington and held the owner of the house against his will for almost two days, according to the police and The Hartford Courant. Early Sunday, he stole pistols and long guns from the house, the police said, and took off in the owner’s truck toward Derby, a small city just outside New Haven.

He abandoned the stolen car in a state park. After finding the car, the authorities learned that Mr. Manfredonia had an acquaintance, Nicholas J. Eisele, who lived nearby.

When officers got to Mr. Eisele’s house in Derby, they found him dead. The medical examiner’s office still hasn’t determined how Mr. Eisele, 23, was killed. The Times has not been able to reach his family for comment.

After kidnapping another person from Mr. Eisele’s home, Mr. Manfredonia drove off in a black Volkswagen Jetta. As officers scoured the scene in Connecticut, the police in New Jersey found the kidnapped person, unharmed, in Paterson, N.J.

The individual identified Mr. Manfredonia as the captor, according to the police, who did not identify the kidnapping victim for safety reasons. The Hartford Courant identified the person as Mr. Eisele’s girlfriend.

Authorities said they found the black Volkswagen in New Jersey near the Pennsylvania border. The police said he used “a different form of transportation” to travel to East Stroudsburg, a small borough in the Poconos area in Pennsylvania.

He was last seen around there on Sunday afternoon, wearing a white T-shirt and dark-colored shorts, and carrying a large duffel bag, according to a photograph distributed by the Pennsylvania State Police.

Mr. Manfredonia graduated in 2015 from Newtown High School, which is in the same Connecticut town where the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre took place in 2012.

Late last year, he posted a photo of himself on Instagram in which he said he had completed a triathlon to raise money for Sandy Hook Promise, a nonprofit group that works to protect children from gun violence.

He started at the University of Connecticut in the fall of 2015, and is a senior enrolled in a joint business and engineering program. He is not taking summer courses and had not lived on campus in recent semesters, according to Stephanie Reitz, a university spokeswoman.

“The university expresses its deepest, most heartfelt sympathies to the victims and their families in this horrible, incomprehensible tragedy,” she said in a statement. “They are all in our thoughts.”

Ted DeMers, who was born in Hartford, Conn., had lived with his wife in a ranch-style house in Willington for the last 32 years.

A furniture salesman-turned woodworker, Mr. DeMers would spend hours building wine and kitchen cabinets, “cool artistic” pieces, and had recently started clearing walking trails on the family’s property, recalled Christopher DeMers, who added that his father was excited about becoming a grandfather.

Mr. DeMers’s friends have set up a GoFundMe page to help his wife with the family’s finances. His family expects to hold a service for him before the end of the summer if social distancing restrictions are eased, his son said.

“He joked about being buried on the property,” his son said. “He wanted his ashes spread on the land that he had.”

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