By Hal Levy, Shore Line Newspapers
Special to MaxPreps.com
Holiday tournaments are done, league play is in full swing and state polls are beginning to have a bit of meaning for winter high school sports in Connecticut.
In boys' basketball, defending Division I state champ Hillhouse-New Haven (8-0) is ranked first in the New Haven Register's poll of coaches and sportswriters, and has its toughest challenge of the season Saturday in Springfield against St. Mary's of Phoenix, Ariz., as part of the Basketball Hall of Fame's Spaulding HoopBall Classic. The event features more than 40 teams from 13 states, including nine of the top-25 (USA Today). St. Mary's features Arizona recruit Jerryd Bayless.
Following Hillhouse are Trinity Catholic-Stamford (7-0), Kolbe/Cathedral-Bridgeport (6-0) and Windsor (7-0).
Torrington (6-1), Holy Cross-Waterbury (6-1), Crosby-Waterbury (6-1), Norwich Free Academy (9-0), Warren Harding-Bridgeport (5-2) and Northwest Catholic-West Hartford (7-1) round out the top 10.
The Register girls' poll is led by Windsor (11-0), which defeated sixth-ranked Manchester Tuesday night. Mercy-Middletown (10-0) is second after a win over Hamden Tuesday. Holy Cross-Waterbury (10-0) and Trinity Catholic-Stamford (10-0) are also unbeaten and rank 3-4.
Career-New Haven, Manchester, Waterford, Norwich Free Academy, New Britain and Notre Dame-Fairfield make up the rest of the top 10.
In ice hockey, the power rests, as usual, with Division I of the Southern Connecticut Conference, which has four teams in the Register's top-10 including poll leaders Notre Dame-West Haven (7-0-0) and Fairfield Prep (6-1-1). Prep's only loss came to Bishop Guertin (New Hampshire) in the finals of a tournament in Rhode Island. Notre Dame of Fairfield is third in the poll, followed by Darien and Tri-Town (a mix of players from three high schools). SCC-Division I member Hamden is sixth with unbeaten South Windsor seventh, Glastonbury eighth, West Haven (SCC Division I) ninth and Trumbull 10th.
The latest wrestling poll, conducted by the Norwich Bulletin, features Danbury (9-1) and Southington (13-0) at the top, followed by Ledyard, Bristol Eastern, Windham, Amity Regional-Woodbridge, Berlin, Glastonbury, Platt-Meriden and Greenwich.
The Southington High School gymnastics team, a two-time defending New England champ, set an unofficial state record of 152.1 points in a recent meet. The record is unofficial because only state championship meet scores count in Connecticut as records. Southington has that mark at 151.523, set in 2005. Gymnastics coaches generally agree that scoring at dual meets can be very subjective, which is why only state meets (which have eight judges and a referee) count for records.
Southington, the state Class L champ last year, will face Daniel Hand-Madison, the defending Class M titlist, in a meet January 25, but Hand is basically rebuilding under first-year coach Kelly Conlon - herself a former all-state gymnmast for the Tigers and had a 122.85 in its season opener against Hamden; following that up with a 132.25 against Waterford/Fitch. Southington's toughest challenger could be Glastonbury, which opened its season with a 131.1 against RHAM-Hebron.
The National Soccer Coaches Association has selected five Connecticut High School players to its all-America team.
Repeat selections for the girls include midfielder Bianca D'Agostino of Loomis-Chaffee School-Windsor (she is from Longmeadow, Mass. And will play at Penn State next year) and midfielder Kate Macauley of Wilton (Yale-bound). A third girl, goalie Nikki Weiss of Immaculate-Danbury, was picked for the first time. She will attend Notre Dame.
For the boys, Ryan Kinne of Naugatuck, a striker and midfielder, who will play at Monmouth, was picked along with the only junior from the state, midfielder Max Wasserman of Loomis-Chaffee. Wasserman is a Farmington resident.
Those five were on the all-New England team. Other boys named were seniors Nick Cianci (William Hall-West Hartford), Austin Faroni (Granby Memorial), Nick Jez (Somers), Michael McGowan (Masuk-Monroe), Michael Fraoli (Norwalk), Frantzy Noze (Norwich Free Academy) and Jon Zaback (Farmington) and juniors Jorge Rodriguez (East Hartford), Pat Boucher (Cromwell), Scott St. Cyr (Joel Barlow-Redding) and D.J. Pereira (Cheshire).
Senior girls included Jessica Becker (Amity Regional-Woodbridge), Devon Bryn (Wilton), Katie DelCiampo (Mercy-Middletown), Kelsey Johnson (Masuk-Monroe), Chloe McKay (Suffield), Michele Miyaki (Trumbull), Caitlin Mulligan (Trumbull), Jasmine Rodriguez (Morgan-Clinton), Rachel Schuyler (Cheshire) and Marra Whaley (Rocky Hill). Junior Alexis Veith (Lewis Mills-Burlington) and sophomore Tania Domingos (Newtown) also were picked.