Special 8-page pullout section
All-Herald www.NewBritainHerald.com/Sports | Sunday, December 18, 2011
We name the best of the best this fall season
Time to celebrate
Berlin celebrates after goalkeeper Robyn Riggott won the game with a save in penalty kicks against Wilton this fall season. Inside this special section we will name all of our All-Herald teams.
Bristol’s Leader in Spine Care, Post Surgical Rehabilitation and Sports Medicine! Physical Therapy Center of Bristol, LLC 72 Pine Street, Unit A-1 Bristol 860-585-5800 Plantsville 203-272-8490 016101
“A McKenzie Spine Care Clinic”
The Herald Press
2 | Sunday, December 18, 2011
All-Herald Football Team Tremendous talent at every position on our gridiron squad
By EVAN MACY STAFF WRITER
All in all, the local high school football teams posted a very successful campaign in 2011. Berlin continued a proud tradition by winning 10 games and reaching the state semifinals. New Britain, Southington and Plainville each posted records of .500 or better, and Newington made a three-win improvement in beginning to change the culture of a down program. The 24 players that make up our All-Herald squad may have different approaches to the game, but they all produced for their respective teams, and provided onlookers with memories that will be prized for a lifetime. At quarterback, Jonathan Snyder is an obvious choice. Shattering six school records during his fantastic career with the Newington Indians, his 2,098 passing yards and 22 total touchdowns are impressive to say the least. The honor roll student and soon-to-be graduating senior had his best game of the 2011 season on Thanksgiving day, col-
Rob Heyl | Staff
Berlins Scott McLeod and Mitch Williams celebrate in the end zone after scoring in a playoff win over Cheney Tech.
lecting 335 yards through the air, 70 on the ground and three total scores in a rivalry win over Wethersfield. At running back are two dynamic players who can change the complexion of a game in a matter of seconds. From Plainville, senior Kevin Waite ran for 904 yards and 11
touchdowns this season, helping to lead the Blue Devils to a second-straight winning season. Waite, an all-conference selection this season, played cornerback and returned kicks as well. DeV’anti Gardner, our second running back, is the Hurricanes No. 1 threat and was their most consistent offensive achiever all
season long. In a Week 7 win over Simsbury, Gardner scored three touchdowns and collected 117 yards on 15 carries. At tight end, Southington’s Andrew Walowski is our choice. Helping the Blue Knights to a 6-4 record, he was often the go-to receiver and an excellent extra blocker on running downs.
Leading the team with 30 receptions, the senior also led the Blue Knights with an impressive 98 tackles. Zach Morris is the other Newington star on the team, a favorite target on the team as a wide receiver. Four times this season the junior eclipsed 100 yards receiving, and in a hard-fought loss to Southington, Morris collected 138 yards. The honor roll student routinely led the pass-oriented Indians in receptions and in yards throughout the season. Playmaker Tommy Undercuffler, a Berlin senior captain, is the second wide receiver on our team. Though he played a bevy of positions (running back, quarterback, safety, cornerback and linebacker), his contributions catching the ball led a potent Redcoats offense. Undercuffler will play football at Yale next fall and hopes to play at the safety position, though he was also the Redcoats’ leading rusher in 2011. He is a four-year starter, a three-time all-conference selection, and helped lead Berlin to its first ever playoff win at Sage Park. Berlin also boasts three of the
Sunday, December 18, 2011 | 3
The Herald Press
All-Herald Football Team
The New Britain defense had a huge turnaround this season, becoming one of the best in the state.
five offensive linemen on this year’s team. With a rushing attack that netted over 280 yards per game during a 9-1 regular season, the Redcoats front five was a force to be reckoned with all season. First is Chris Meucci, whose work at offensive guard and at
defensive end garnered him allconference honors. The junior honor roll student’s highlight of the season was returning a fumble for a touchdown against Tolland. Dan Laviana was another anchor for the Redcoats line. The only senior up front, the team
Rob Heyl | Staff
captain was an all-conference selection. The last Redcoats lineman on the All-Herald Team is Mitch Blanchette. The junior standout had eight pancakes against New Britain in the Wishbone Bowl and also had two sacks from his
defensive line position. He too was an all-conference choice. New Britain’s Mason Whistnant is our fourth offensive lineman. Whistnant’s effort and solid play as part of the Hurricanes O-line helped open holes for the Canes running backs with regularity. Finally, to round out the front five, is Southington’s Dan Manware. Manware, one of the team’s four captains, plays a pivotal role on the line. Manware was also an effective defensive end and was an all-conference choice in 2010. On the defensive side, Chris Kuzia from Plainville is an all-academic and all-conference choice as well as one of our All-Herald defensive ends. The senior, who also played fullback on offense, said his fondest football memory was collecting four sacks as a junior against Bulkeley. New Britain’s Giovanni Viven is our second defensive end. Viven had multiple talents and routinely lined up at both fullback and as a slot receiver. His pressure on opposing quarterbacks was an anchor for the New Britain pass rush. At defensive line, Southington’s Nick Mendez won the defensive player of the game award in the
Blue Knights’ rivalry game against Cheshire to punctuate a great career. All season long Mendez was quick to the ball, recovering three crucial fumbles during Southington’s season. The other defensive lineman is New Britain’s Jose Gonzalez. Gonzalez was part of a stellar defensive line. Few opposing quarterbacks had time to make decisions due to their relentless pursuit. They were also dominant in stopping the run, as the clear integral part of the Hurricanes defense. Plainville boasts two of the three linebacker spots on the team, as its defense routinely gave opponents headaches through its 5-5 campaign. Marc DeMartinis, who also played running back, was an all-conference and all-academic selection this past year. His first touchdown of the season came against Platt, which is among his best memories from a successful 2011 campaign. Also at linebacker is the Blue Devils’ Tony Lopizzo. The threetime all-conference choice also played quarterback for Plainville, and was a monster in his team’s victory over Tolland. In the Continued ON PAGE 6
The Herald Press
4 | Sunday, December 18, 2011
All-Herald Girls Soccer Team
No shortage of talent among our soccer selections By JOE FORTUNATO STAFF WRITER
It was a successful season for area girls soccer, with all of our teams using a mix of young players and older players to earn some success this season. In the case of the Plainville Blue Devils, it was a mix of four veterans who have played their entire lives together and a sophomore who was asked to take on a new role. Berlin and Southington had veterans as well, with each team sporting two steady players who have made major impacts for their respective programs for the past few seasons. New Britain and Newington also boasted a pair of special players who worked hard and got the job done no matter what the circumstances. Lexxi Carroll wasn’t just a senior leader off the field for the Plainville Blue Devils this year, she performed on the field as well. Carroll scored a whopping 17 goals from her attacking midfield position and helped the team to a 9-7-1 record. Carroll also added 11 assists, becoming one of the Blue Devils most creative options from the midfield. Carroll also came through in the clutch for Plainville, with six of her goals ending up being game winners. Her play earned her all-state and all-conference honors. She will be attending Southern New Hampshire University on a soccer scholarship. Another one of Plainville’s senior leaders was Jill Newton. Newton was a dominant center midfielder who was the creative force when Carroll was scoring, and the goal scorer when Carroll was feeding. Newton finished the year with eight goals and 17 assists. Newton,like Carroll,was a senior captain and earned all-conference honors for her performance this season. Kelsey Chacho was another midfielder who made a major impact for the Blue Devils. Chacho was a main transition player for Plainville,
ROBYN RIGGOTT BERLIN
MARISSA ST. PIERRE
JILL NEWTON PLAINVILLE
SHANNON MURPHY BERLIN
CHRISTIE FREER SOUTHINGTON
LEXXI CARROLL PLAINVILLE
helping move the ball from defense to offense and on more than one occasion moved to the back to help the Blue Devils’ defense. An all-around player, Chacho was vital to the success of Plainville this year. Carroll, Chacho and Newton might steal the offensive show for the Blue Devils, but while they were taking care of business up top, Megan Dixon was taking care of business at the back. Dixon was a steadying force for Plainville this season, which was important for a team which featured an explosive offense and sometimes had breakdowns at the midfield. Her consistent play helped the Blue Devils hold onto possession while keeping opponents as far away
MEGAN DIXON PLAINVILLE
KELSEY CHACHO PLAINVILLE
from her goal as possible. Danielle Angelillo rounds out our Plainville selections and also happens to be the youngest selection as a sophomore. Angelillo scored three goals, but was a main defender for Blue Devils coach Leszek Wrona in a season in which he didn’t know where his defense was going to come from. Angelillo entered the year as a forward, but was placed at the back and flourished in her new role. She also played for both Soccer Plus Premier and AJAX Premier teams. Marissa St. Pierre was the only Newington Indian to make our All-Herald list. Any strikers who lined up against Newington this year know all too well why. St. Pierre was a rock on the
NINA ALTIERI NEW BRITAIN
ERICA KOSIENSKI SOUTHINGTON
Indians’defensive corps, and helped Newington earn five wins this season. She was a senior captain and was selected as an all-conference player for the second straight year. She plans on playing soccer in college but doesn’t know where as of yet. Nina Altieri is the only selection for the New Britain Hurricanes. The senior defender had a fantastic season despite the struggles the Hurricanes had this campaign. A leader on and off the pitch, Altieri defended ferociously every game, no matter what the score was. Her play also earned her all-conference honors this season. Robyn Riggott is the goaltender for this year’s All-Herald squad. The senior keeper for Berlin was
instrumental in the Redcoats’ success this year. Her ability to come out of the box to snuff out opposing thru balls and her intelligence during set pieces always helped keep Berlin in games no matter how tough the opponent. While Riggott was keeping the ball out of Berlin’s net, Shannon Murphy was scoring on the opposition. In a one-striker system, Murphy was the main source of offensive creation for the Redcoats and often used her speed to get around opposing defenders and score. She was also a clutch player, scoring big goals all year for Berlin including an eventual game-winner against Plainville in overtime earlier in the year. Erica Kosienski is our first choice from the Southington Blue Knights. Kosienski was one of the area’s most dangerous players and always seemed to find space when opposing team’s defenses were trying to shut Southington’s offense out. She scored 18 goals and will be playing soccer for Boston University in 2013. The striker earned All-Conference honors this year for her fantastic season. Christie Freer was a steadying presence for the Blue Knights, playing the very needed central midfield position. She scored three goals this season and plans on playing soccer in college but doesn’t know where. The senior midfielder also earned All-Conference honors this year for her ability to control possession and move the ball fluidly from defense to offense. It was a great year for all of our area teams, and an even better year for all the players who helped their teams both recognize their goals and reach their potential this year.
Sunday, December 18, 2011 | 5
The Herald Press
All-Herald Volleyball Team
Successful season was highlighted by great players By MATT STRAUB SPORTS EDITOR
The story of the local high school girls volleyball season, as it often does, began and ended with Southington’s dominance. But this year, the Blue Knights weren’t the only team to make noise in 2011. Plainville finally put it all together and made a run to the state tournament; Berlin recovered from a terrible start to make another appearance in the state playoffs; New Britain was one win away from joining the locals in the party; while Newington put up battles against a brutal schedule. Goodwin Tech isn’t in the CCC, but the Gladiators made sure they were heard from, making a magical run though its conference tournament and all the way to the second round of the Class S bracket. Through it all was a collection of players who stood above the rest. While New Britain and Newington each missed the postseason, each had impact players. New Britain’s Faith Ford was a member of the all-conference team after an impressive season on New
FAITH FORD NEW BRITAIN
ROXANNE DEBLOIS NEWINGTON
DANIELLE KAMINSKY SOUTHINGTON
Britain’s front line. The junior has been on the varsity team for all three of her years as a Golden Hurricane and is a key member of the basketball team. She’s also a
Rob Heyl | Staff
Southingtons Tory Broytman, above, and Corinne Horanzy were all-state.
EMILY DUROCHER SOUTHINGTON
big part of the community, taking part in a number of community service projects around the city. Newington was led by Roxanne DeBlois, who picks up her second All-Herald selection to go with another all-conference honor. The skill level DeBlois possesses is so apparent that opposing coaches and fans often spoke about her as much as the game itself. This was noticeable on Sept. 28 when she led a Newington sweep of New Britain, when several long-time observers came away impressed with the Newington star. Plainville and Berlin had similar squads in that each was known more for its teamwork than any one star. The Blue Devils made huge strides in 2011, beating Berlin for the first time in years, then doing it again, and earning a trip to the state tournament. Megan Johnson was a key part of a deep team that had a host of talented players. Johnson, a senior, made the all-conference team thanks to her role as an
all-purpose player who could hit and was a strong defensive player capable of digging the ball off the ground even in tough situations. Perhaps she was always in the right spots because she’s also an all-academic pick who is in the National Honor Society. You’ll be hearing more about Johnson in the weeks to come as she serves as captain in yet another sport: boys swimming. Berlin’s loss to Plainville early in the season seemed like the one that was going to end its season, but the Redcoats rallied to finish their season in fine fashion. If one player was going to define their season, however, it would be senior Lia D’Amato, who led the Redcoats in digs, aces and serve reception and was an allconference pick. Another player who doubles as a National Honor Society member and an all-academic star, the outside hitter hasn’t picked a college yet, but whatever one she selects will be getting a well-rounded person as well as a good athlete. But while the other teams all had plenty to brag about, Southington’s team was one of the best in the state, not just the area. Southington lost the Class LL state final in four games, with each being decided by two points. Each of the four members of the squad on this list were allconference, and the fact that they fit so well together made the Blue Knights so tough. It’s also why they deserve to be talked about as a group, since they managed to combine their individual talents into a collective force. Take the state semifinal over Darien, when Victoria Broytman and Corinne Horanzy combined for 40 of the team’s 44 kills. “Basically, it’s control,” Horanzy
MEGAN JOHNSON We don’t want your senior year to end. You made us so proud in all that you do. Love, Mom, Dad, Mikayla & R.J.
said earlier this year.“Power is a second thing. You need to know where the open spots are and you need to know where to hit the ball.” Or there was the big win over Farmington. The Indians led the fifth game 13-12 when Danielle Kaminsky fed Broytman with a perfect pass for a kill that tied the game and gave Southington the serve. Their teamwork was impressive, but the Knights could strike individually as well. Danielle Kaminsky, for example, our third member from Southington, won seven straight points at the service line during a big rally in the first game of the state quarterfinal against Ridgefield. “I have a lot of comfort with Dani at the line,” Southington coach Rich Heitz said of Kaminsky, a junior, after the game. “She got us back into it. It was a nice job for Dani.” Their individual accolades are as impressive as the team’s accomplishments as a group. Broytman was an all-state pick for the second year in a row while Horanzy joined her on the team. The final member of the group is senior Emily Durocher, an allconference pick who was one of the team’s emotional leaders as well as a fantastic player. Durocher was consistent presence for a team that had some other players who were in the spotlight more often. She had eight kills in a big game against RHAM and seven in a win over New Britain early, then had a big game against Danbury in the state tournament. So there you go. The final word for this year’s girls volleyball season goes to Southington.The Blue Knights weren’t the only good team around this year, but they certainly earned the most ink.
It’s been a joy watching you play volleyball the past four years! So proud of you!
We Love You! Dad, Mom, Carina and Nina
The Herald Press
6 | Sunday, December 18, 2011
All-Herald Girls Swim Team
Strong group makes up our swimming squad By MATT STRAUB SPORTS EDITOR
The summer is usually the time of year when people think about jumping in the pool. But for the area’s high school girls, the fall is actually the time to shine. And that’s exactly what a number our local swimmers and divers did this season, turning the water into their playground long after the warm weather had given way to autumn. Berlin takes competitive swimming seriously no matter what time of year it is. And the Redcoats can plan on having plenty to be excited about over the next few years on the girls side thanks to a fantastic freshman who stole the show this fall. Kelsey Kozikowski did more during her freshman campaign than a lot of swimmers do in a career. She helped both the 200 free relay and 200 medley relay teams break school records on her way to an all-conference selection.
KELSEY KOZIKOWSKI BERLIN
MEGAN FARMER PLAINVILLE
JESSICA GOLDMAN NEWINGTON
But as nice as it is to be a team player, Kozikowski also made her mark as an individual competitor. Taking part in her first state class meet, Kozikowski looked like a seasoned veteran, finishing seventh in 100 fly and 11th in the 50 free. From there it was onto the State Open, where she was again part of a relay team that made the top 20.
LAUREL DEAN SOUTHINGTON
DANIELLE ROCHELEAU NEWINGTON
Of course, perhaps the reason Berlin’s MVP did so well in the spotlight was because she had been there before. As a qualifier for the USS senior championships, Kozikowski had been in big meets before despite her young age. The regular season also helped, as Kozikowski had some big swims, including being on the winning relay team in the last event of a
meet against Southington that was tied at the time. The win helped Berlin to a 9-2 record as a team in the regular season. Another team that was tough to beat this season was Plainville. The Blue Devils were strong in dual meets because of the number of talented swimmers they possessed on the roster. That also made picking a representative for the All-Herald team a challenge. Plainville’s strength at the Class S meet was in the relays, but it had some strong individual showings as well. The individual whose name showed up over and over was sophomore Megan Farmer, who finished 15th in the 50 free and again in the 100 free. The Blue Devils had plenty of other strong names, including Emily Zuckerman and Nicole and Sarah Basile, but it was Farmer’s backto-back point totals that gave her the solo nod. Another young swimmer with a big future is Southington’s Laurel Dean, who picked up a 12th place in the 100 yard backstroke in the Class LL meet. Only a sophomore, she was impressive throughout the season, including a meet against Newington in which she gained praise from coach Evan Tuttle.
That meet also featured a pair of Newington standouts who earn recognition here. Jessica Goldman, a senior, had a big year on the diving board, placing 23rd in the 1-meter event at the State Open after coming in sixth in that event at the Class L meet. Her teammate, Danielle Rocheleau, did staggeringly well for someone so young. Just a freshman, Rocheleau was second in the 100 yard freestyle, recording a whopping 27 points at the Class L event. She backed that up with a sixth place in the 100 free at the State Open and a 12th in the 100 back in the biggest meet of the entire year. But her success in the postseason was not a fluke. She had done well throughout the season, catching her stride late and showing her mettle with a huge performance in a win against rival Southington. She had best times in two events, the 100 fly and 200 IM, both of which were essential in Newington’s 94-90 win. That day, Rocheleau pointed out how excited she was for the last few weeks of the season. If the way she ended it is any indication, Newington fans have a lot to be excited about over the next few years.
All-Herald Football Team Continued
Contined from Page 3
contest, Lopizzo scored three touchdowns and had 13 tackles. Southington’s Matt O’Connor is the final linebacker. A senior, O’Connor was second only to Walowski in total tackles for the Blue Knights, compiling 80 in 2011. He was also the Blue Knights’ leading rusher, averaging a solid 5.9 yards per carry. An all-conference choice as well, the senior had 14 tackles and 106 yards rushing in a game against Manchester. The All-Herald’s secondary boasts some of the best pure athletes in the state. Plainville’s Brian Lister had the most solo tackles on a talented defense in 2011. The all-state
wrestler is also an all-academic football player. During Plainville’s victory over Rockville, Lister broke a team record for most tackles in a single game. A pair of Berlin defensive backs and running backs are the next two choices. Kevin Main is an all-conference choice and was a game-changing safety for the Redcoats. Against Bloomfield in a playoff-clinching win, the junior had two interceptions. He also ran for 100 yards on the ground that day. Berlin’s Scott McLeod is another junior who made an impact on both sides of the ball. At cornerback, McLeod was a shutdown presence and a solid tackler. With the ball between the
tackles, McLeod was the early season workhorse for the Redcoats’ ground game.He had multiple 100yard games and scored numerous touchdowns during the Redcoats successful 2011 campaign. New Britain’s Garrett Shaw is lightning fast and it served him well in his duties as cornerback for the Hurricanes. He often matched up against opposing offenses’ best wide-out, and was also an unbelievable force as a kick and punt returner. The Hurricanes’ Larry Garcia is a selection as the punter, as the senior’s legs were best in the area. He also has talent on both sides of the ball, particularly as a wide receiver. “My best game was against Hall
Mike Orazzi | Staff
Southingtons Matt OConnor during a snow-filled football game this year.
High School in 2011,” Garcia said. “It was my first time playing wide receiver and it brought out my ability when I caught three passes for 40 yards.” Last but not least, Berlin’s talented placekicker and defensive back Devin Silverman is the final
selection on this year’s squad. Silverman’s kickoffs gave the Redcoats’ opponents lackluster field position all season. He also punctuated Berlin scoring drives with successful extra points and had a season-long 44-yard field goal this season.
Sunday, December 18, 2011 | 7
The Herald Press
All-Herald Boys Soccer Team
Big-time players make up our super soccer unit By JOE FORTUNATO STAFF WRITER
It was a very eventful season for our area boys soccer teams, with two teams making deep runs through states and others having success as well. Plainville lead the way this season, marching into the semifinals of the Class M State Tournament. Berlin also had a lot of success, making it to the quarterfinals in the Class L State Tournament. New Britain made it into the state tournament as well and Southington had a strong season despite some injuries. You can’t talk about the Plainville Blue Devils’ massive success this year without mentioning both Daquan King and Allen Mehmedovic. Both players had key roles in the Blue Devils’ fantastic season. King finished the year with an astounding 27 goals and eight assists. He graduates from Plainville holding the program’s all-time scoring record with 67 goals. King wasn’t just named AllState, but All-New England as well for his amazing season. The senior captain hasn’t announced his college choice but does plan to play soccer there. If King provided the scoring for the Blue Devils,Mehmedovic provided the creation. Mehmedovic was Plainville’s biggest playmaker from midfield and was coach Tim Brown’s most trusted penalty kick taker. The senior captain didn’t just set goals up — although he did record 16 assists — he also put them into the back of the net, scoring 13. Mehmedovic was both an all-conference and all-state midfielder this year. He will attend the University of New Haven next year where he will play soccer. Nate Chandler is the final choice from Plainville. While not a flashy player, Chandler provided stability and poise to a Blue Devils’ midfield that was always focused on keeping possession.
BILL QUEEN SOUTHINGTON
ALLEN MEHMEDOVIC PLAINVILLE
SEBASTIAN STEZEWSKI NEW BRITAIN
CONNOR HILBIE BERLIN
EDIN DURIC NEW BRITAIN
Chandler also provided an air of toughness and was a physical midfielder who always seemed to get the ball back when Plainville lost possession. He too was an all-conference player for the Blue Devils. New Britain’s Sebastian Stezewski highlights our Golden Hurricanes selections this year. He scored eight goals and added 10 assists en route to an allstate and all-conference season. Stezewski isn’t just about offense though. When he wasn’t helping the Hurricanes score goals he was making sure opposing teams weren’t scoring on New Britain, playing tough and imposing defense for the Hurricanes. While Stezewski might have
NATE CHANDLER PLAINVILLE
DAQUAN KING PLAINVILLE
added some offense from the midfield, striker Edin Duric blew the doors off the Hurricanes’ offensive game. Duric scored 18 goals and added five assists for New Britain this season. He was the team’s leading scorer and was an all-conference player. He marks a game against Northwest Catholic this season, in which he scored a hat trick, as the best game of his career. He is undecided about where he will go to college but plans on playing soccer there. Michal Osowiecki rounds out our New Britain selections as one of the Hurricanes best defenders. Even as a defender Osowiecki still added some offense, scoring four goals and adding three
MICHAL OSOWIECKI NEW BRITAIN
ALEX BEDNAREK BERLIN
assists. If any opposing players got through the Hurricanes’ midfield Osowiecki was there to shut them down. He was a senior captain and plans on playing soccer in college, although he doesn’t know where he will be attending yet. Alex Bednarek is the youngest selection on this year’s All-Herald squad. The sophomore from Berlin didn’t show any signs of inexperience though. Bednarek scored 14 goals and added nine assists from the midfield, and was one of the Redcoats’ main sources of offense this season. His play earned him both all-state and all-conference honors, along with the Berlin Boys Soccer MVP award. Connor Hilbie was the other
weapon the Redcoats boasted from their midfield. Hilbie, a senior captain, scored four goals and recorded 10 assists on his way to an all-conference season. Hilbie is a two-time All-Herald selection and will be playing in this year’s Senior Bowl. In the second round of the 2011 state tournament Hilbie recorded four assists against University/Prince Tech. When Bednarek and Hilbie were taking care of the Redcoats’ offensive game, Carter Scarrozzo was making sure the defensive corps was steady. Scarrozzo was one of the hardest workers on the pitch for Berlin this year, and his play earned him the Redcoat Award for Berlin. Southington’s Bill Queen is the goalkeeping selection for this year’s All-Herald unit. Queen was a steady force for a Southington group that, at times, had some issues at the back. He was a main factor in Southington’s success this year, and made save after save when the Blue Knights needed him too. Every soccer team needs a leader in goal, and Queen was just that for Southington. Kyle Connolly is the last player for this year’s All-Herald Team, and he also happens to be one of the toughest selections as well. Connolly played the beginning part of this season with a cast due to a arm fracture, and was still one of the most solid defenders for Southington despite the injury. Connolly and Queen both played huge roles in the Blue Knights’ season, and worked hard for every win. In the end, it was a fantastic season for all of our area soccer teams, and all of our All-Herald selections played huge roles in this past year. NEWBRITAINHERALD.COM/SPORTS
New editions of SPO every week feature the area’s best teams and athletes.
The Herald Press
8 | Sunday, December 18, 2011
All-Herald Boys Cross Country Team
By MATT STRAUB SPORTS EDITOR
The four members of the AllHerald boys cross country team have been building their way toward their big finishes for four years now. Their names have likely been familiar to followers of the sport in this area for some time, but your senior season is when your development as a person and as an athlete should result in the most successful results. For this year’s crop, that’s exactly what happened. Patrick Makles made his final year at Newington a memorable one. His senior season was a dominant one, and it only got better as it went on and the awards began to pile in. First there was the allconference honor, not surprising for someone who came in fourth in Class L. If that had been the only honor for Makles this year, it would have been enough to warrant strong
PATRICK MAKLES NEWINGTON
SPENCER GAGLIONE NEWINGTON
consideration for this lineup. But he was just getting started. He went on to the State Open where he finished 22nd in the state thanks to a personal best time. “I ran with very good competition, the best in the state,” Makles said. “It was an honor to be part of such a great group.” The performance at the Open earned Makles the honor of heading to the New England Championships, where he finished just outside the top 50 in a 275-person field.
NICHOLAS GIULIANI PLAINVILLE
A member of a trio of Honor Societies and the winner of his team’s Leadership Award, Makles certainly has made the most of his final year in Newington. Now it’s off to the pool for swimming season, then to the lacrosse field. Newington’s other member of this team, Spencer Gaglione, sticks to track throughout the year, running cross country, indoor and outdoor track. He runs so well that it makes total sense for him to be involved in the sport on a more permanent basis.
KYLE HAMEL SOUTHINGTON
Gaglionewas part of a Newington squad that came in second at the prestigious Wickham Invitational, a showing that was better than most people expected. Newington then had another strong finish at the class meet, placing ninth, with Gaglione finishing second among area runners in the race. Now his hope is to continue he success at the collegiate level when he arrives at Keene State. Nicholas Giuliani has been a member of the varsity team in Plainville since his freshman year
and finished his career as a Blue Devil with a solid season in a fouryear run that included being named all-conference, a coach’s award and a nod as an all-academic team choice. It ended with a solid showing at the class meet and one final run through Wickham Park, something Giuliani called “really special.” Kyle Hamel’s senior season at Southington was also special. He placed an impressive 28th at the Class LL meet, which earned him a place at the State Open. There he missed the top 50 by just two seconds. He was second among runners from our area Backing up last year’s all-conference pick and some very gaudy numbers, Hamel demonstrated why he was expected to do so well this year by living up to the hype, something that isn’t always easy. It is something, however, that the four veterans on this list were able to do all season long, and especially when it mattered most.
All-Herald Girls Cross Country Team
By MATT STRAUB SPORTS EDITOR
This year’s cross country season was a memorable one. Not only were its biggest events detoured by a snowstorm that came about two months earlier than they usually do in these parts, but Mother Nature wasn’t the only thing that moved quicker than expected this fall. Several of our area cross country runners flew through the cold air late in the season on the way to great successes. The Berlin Redcoats flew the fastest, with a CCC South championship serving as the culmination of a fantastic season. “We worked our hardest the whole season and it all paid off when they announced us as the champions,” Berlin’s Kaylene Sylvain said. The Berlin senior has had her name announced quite often over the last four years. She has been an all-conference performer all four years and won the team’s coaches award all four years. Her name will come up for years to come in Berlin now that she has
KAYLENE SYLVAIN BERLIN
the school’s record for points scored in a single season and for her career point total. She was also a part of a Redcoats squad that set a school mark for the best team time. While Sylvain has been a key part of the program for four years, her teammate is going to be making a name for herself for years to come. Sophomore Brittany Sullivan finished fourth in that CCC South meet on the way to her second allconference selection in her two years in red and white. Sullivan performed well again at the Class MM meet, placing 17th. She is also running her way to the
KAYLIE MCNALLY NEWINGTON
front in the classroom, placing second in her class. With Sullivan back to lead the way for two more years, Berlin should be able to stay in contention for titles and be well represented at the biggest events for the foreseeable future. But Berlin wasn’t the only team in our area to have talented runners. In fact, few towns anywhere in Connecticut had better runners than Newington’s Kaylie McNally. The Newington senior went out in style in 2011, finishing as not only an all-conference pick but as an allstate choice. She set the course record at
ANETA STRUMILOWSKA NEW BRITAIN
Winding Trails in Farmington with a 19:54, and saved her best work for the big stage. In the Class LL event she finished sixth overall against some of the best athletes Connecticut had to offer from its biggest schools. Calling it the “race of her life,” McNally ran a personal best when the lights were brightest. McNally is bright on her own as well, taking part in the National Honor Society and Science National Honor Society while earning High Honors at Newington. Also a standout runner in the spring, McNally will have one more
chance to give her best to Newington, but she has already given the Indians quite a bit. Aneta Strumilowska gave everything she had for New Britain this season, providing one of the most memorable stories of the year on a Tuesday in October in West Hartford. Strumilowska traversed a muddy course to win a race against Northwest Catholic and Farmington. With one shoe. The footwear began to bother her early in the race, and by the two-mile mark was ready to come off. But Strumilowska didn’t stop until the finish line and was rewarded for her perseverance as much as her speed. “She didn’t waver, she didn’t stop to put it back on, she was in second at the time and she kept at it,” New Britain coach John Richard said that day. An even better student than she is a runner, Strumilowska showed the kind of dedication required to succeed during a cross country season, even one as wild as this one was.