The Road to Storrs: A feature series on the UConn baseball players that grew up in the state of Connecticut. The series focuses on the hometowns and different routes that our Huskies took on their journey to UConn.
Peace, quiet and familiar faces are what senior Troy Stefanski grew accustomed to while growing up. The UConn outfielder was raised in North Stonington, a place known for its vicinity to Foxwoods Casinos, Mystic Seaport and Rhode Island beaches.
But Stefanski knows his hometown for its seclusion, tight knit community and connections he made while growing up in a small town.
“From my house you have to walk for a pretty long time through the woods to hit a neighbor’s house,” said Stefanski. “You are basically growing up in the woods and while attending a small school you get to know everyone pretty well, whether they are in your grade or not. It definitely shaped me into the person I am today.”
Stefanski attended Wheeler High School, one of the smallest schools in the state. To say that a transition from Wheeler to UConn would be a big change would be an understatement.
“I remember walking into a lecture hall on one of my first days on campus and thinking there was significantly more people sitting in that room then was at my entire high school,” said Stefanski. “It was definitely a change but a change I’m glad I experienced.”
Many of the lessons and experiences that shaped Stefanski while growing up helped the Wheeler graduate earn a spot on the baseball team.
“I came to UConn because of how great the academics and school is,” said Stefanski. “I had to earn a spot on the team and I had no guarantees as a walk-on. I put in a lot of time, effort and work into eventually making the team and being able to solidify a spot.”
“To be able to do that was not just big for me and my family but I’ve gotten such great support from our community. Every time I hit the field I am playing for them. It’s overwhelming sometimes to see so many people from home following my career at UConn”
Stefanski hopes that his example of perseverance and experiences will inspire kids growing up in North Stonington and other small towns.
“It was tough in high school to compete at such a small school,” said Stefanski. “There were a lot of games that we were on the wrong side of but to see that there are guys that can overcome that and still play at the highest level is huge. I remember looking up to a couple guys that played baseball at the Division I level; to have those people in your life gives you that hope that you can be next.”