St. Elizabeth senior Newswanger played four years of hockey for Middletown, wore ‘C’ this season
WILMINGTON — When Jack Newswanger was an eighth-grader at Christ the Teacher, he was playing recreational ice hockey, and St. Elizabeth, his high school of choice, had a team. So far, so good.
By the time he entered the school, however, the program had been shelved, so Newswanger and several other St. Elizabeth students connected with the Middletown High School team. So began four years of being a Viking most of the time and a Cavalier when he strapped on the skates.
This season, as a senior, Newswanger was one of three St. Elizabeth students who wore the blue and white of Middletown in the Delaware High School Hockey League, which includes teams from Delaware, Maryland and Pennsylvania. Several of the teams include players from multiple schools, and the league’s members can change somewhat from year to year.
For example, Concord High School had a team in 2015-16, but not this year. Msgr. Bonner High School from Delaware County, Pa., joined the league. Two Delaware schools, Salesianum and Delaware Military Academy, play in a Pennsylvania association.
The Middletown team included students from a number of schools, including Wilmington Charter and St. Georges Tech.
“There aren’t a lot of Middletown kids on the team. There’s like three or four, and the rest are just scattered,” Newswanger said recently at St. Elizabeth.
The Cavaliers went 14-3-2 this past season, but it stood out for another reason for Newswanger, who happens to live in Middletown, where he is a member of St. Joseph’s Parish.
“You know what was cool was being captain of the team. That was a really cool honor,” he said. “The captains before me were really talented and were great characters. I think my role on the team was to be a veteran presence.”
The dynamic is a bit different on a combined team than on a traditional school team, he said, but not necessarily a negative one.
“If you play with guys you’re around all day — because I play soccer — I know that bond. But also it’s pretty cool to get to know other people from around the different schools. You form a brotherhood with them as well.”
When he is not playing a sport, he likes to spend time at the beach and work at a restaurant in Cecil County, Md. He has a younger sister at St. Elizabeth and another at Christ the Teacher. A brother in eighth grade at Christ the Teacher will attend Appoquinimink High School next year.
Newswanger said he will attend either Neumann University or Loyola University Maryland next year with an eye on a career in sports management. Neumann plays hockey on the NCAA Division III level and even won a national championship several years ago, but college hockey is not in his future. He loves the game, however, and hopes to play in some men’s leagues.
If he plays anything in college, it would be soccer. If you happen to come across a St. Elizabeth lacrosse game this spring, you can see him in his springtime sport playing midfield for the Vikings.
But when you look at the roster, you may see his first name as Martin. He goes by his middle name. He said his parents “wanted to call me Jack, but if they called me Jack Martin, that sounded weird.”
So just look for Captain Jack — in maroon and gold this time.