High-SchoolPlayer-of-the-Year: Connecticut

Connecticut Boys Track AOY: Jake Scinto

June, 21, 2012
6/21/12
5:44
AM ET
A dedicated ESPNHS team managed the Gatorade State Boys Track & Field Athlete of the Year selection process, resulting in winners based on the program's three pillars: athletic production and impact in the 2012 season, high academic achievement and exemplary personal character.

For his 50 fellow Gatorade State Boys Track & Field Athletes of the Year winners, click here.


THE WINNER: Jake Scinto

THE BASICS

School: Cheshire (Conn.)
Grade: Senior
Event(s): Jumps
Height: 5-foot-8
Weight: 175 pounds

THE PILLARS

Athletic achievement: Scinto won three individual titles this spring and led the Rams to third place at the State Open Championships. The Field Athlete of the Year as named by the Connecticut High School Coaches Association, he won the long jump with a leap of 22 feet, 11 inches as well as the triple jump, launching himself 45 feet, 4.25 inches. He also captured the high jump, clearing six feet, four inches. Scinto went on to take first place in the high jump (6-11) and the long jump (22-9) at the New England Outdoor Track & Field Championships. His high jump effort at the New England championships ranked as the nation’s No. 13 performance among prep competitors in 2012 at the time of his selection.

Academic excellence: Also a football standout, Scinto has maintained a 3.65 GPA in the classroom.

Exemplary character: A devoted member of his church community, he has volunteered locally on behalf of the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life and Cheshire’s annual Vietnam Veterans Day services.

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Connecticut Girls Track AOY: Precious Holmes

June, 20, 2012
6/20/12
5:44
AM ET
A dedicated ESPNHS team managed the Gatorade State Girls Track & Field Athlete of the Year selection process, resulting in winners based on the program's three pillars: athletic production and impact in the 2012 season, high academic achievement and exemplary personal character.

For her 50 fellow Gatorade State Girls Track & Field Athletes of the Year winners, click here.


THE WINNER: Precious Holmes

THE BASICS

School: Hillhouse (New Haven, Conn.)
Grade: Junior
Event(s): Sprints
Height: 5-foot-4

THE PILLARS

Athletic achievement: The state’s returning Gatorade Girls Track & Field Athlete of the Year, Holmes won the 200-meter dash with a time of 24.51 seconds and the 400-meter dash in 53.92 at the State Open this spring, leading the Academics to second place as a team. A two-time returning All-State selection as named by the Connecticut High School Coaches Association, she swept the 200-meter dash in a class-record 24.04 seconds and 400-meter dash in a class-record 54.42 at the Class MM Championships. Holmes also ran the third leg of the winning 4x400-meter relay squad that broke the tape in 3:58.43. She clocked a 52.67 in the 400-meter dash at the Loucks Games, which ranked as the nation’s No. 4 performance by prep competitors in 2012 at the time of her selection.

Academic excellence: Holmes has maintained a B average in the classroom at New Haven Academy, where she attends high school and which does not offer a track program.

Exemplary character: She has donated her time as a youth track instructor in addition to volunteering annually on behalf of her track club at a local road race.

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Connecticut Softball POY: Kelli Connors

June, 6, 2012
6/06/12
5:42
AM ET
A dedicated ESPNHS team managed the Gatorade Softball Player of the Year selection process, resulting in this winner based on the program's three pillars: athletic production and impact in the 2011-12 season, high academic achievement and exemplary personal character.

For her 48 fellow Gatorade State Softball Player of the Year winners, click here.

THE WINNER: Kelli Connors

THE BASICS

School: Waterford (Conn.)
Grade: Senior
Position: Right-handed pitcher
Height: 5-foot-9

THE PILLARS

Athletic achievement: Connors led the Lancers to a 24-1 record entering the Class M state semifinals, scheduled for June 5. A two-time returning Class M All-State selection as named by the Connecticut High School Coaches Association, she owned a 20-1 record in the circle with a 0.87 ERA and 151 strikeouts in 137 innings pitched entering the state final four. Also the returning All-Area Player of the Year, Connors batted .379 with one home run and 19 RBI through 25 games. A member of Waterford’s 2009 and 2010 Class M state championship teams, she entered the state tournament with a 67-4 career pitching record.

Academic excellence: Also a volleyball standout, Connors has maintained a 3.04 GPA in the classroom.

Exemplary character: In addition to donating her time as a youth softball instructor, she has volunteered as a physical education teacher’s assistant at The Friendship School and on behalf of The Colby Sousa Scholarship Fund.

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Connecticut Baseball POY: Bryan Daniello

May, 30, 2012
5/30/12
5:41
AM ET
A dedicated ESPNHS team managed the Gatorade Baseball Player of the Year selection process, resulting in this winner based on the program's three pillars: athletic production and impact in the 2011-12 season, high academic achievement and exemplary personal character.

For his 47 fellow Gatorade State Baseball Player of the Year winners, click here.

THE WINNER: Bryan Daniello

THE BASICS

School: Brien McMahon (Norwalk, Conn.)
Grade: Senior
Position: SS/RHP
Height: 5-foot-10
Weight: 165 pounds

THE PILLARS

Athletic achievement: Daniello led the Senators to a 16-7 record entering the first round of the Class LL state tournament against New Milford (Conn.), scheduled for May 29. He owned a 7-1 record and a 1.35 ERA on the mound along with a .400 batting average with six home runs and 18 RBI at the plate through 23 games. Daniello was a First Team All-State selection and the Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference Player of the Year as a junior.

Academic excellence: Daniello has maintained a B average in the classroom.

Exemplary character: He has volunteered locally on behalf of an area soup kitchen, youth baseball camps and his church’s bible camp.

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The window on the Gatorade State Baseball Player of the Year race is closing, and the search for elite student-athletes is in full swing. The award recognizes not only athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field. Here are two top candidates who meet the basic award criteria as determined by our ESPNHS team that administers the program’s selection process.

Charles Ameer
Junior Pitcher/Infielder, Weston High (Weston, CT)

2012 Team record: 13-8
2012 Team standing: Begins Class M state tournament, May 29

2012 Batting average: .327
2012 RBI: 18
2012 Runs: 14

2012 W-L record: 7-2
2012 ERA: 1.53
2012 Strikeouts: 84

Academics: B-plus average
Collegiate destination: St. John's

How he’s played himself into the State POY conversation: All-State; All-Conference; The Hour All-Area team.

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Eye on POY: Connecticut softball

May, 24, 2012
5/24/12
6:45
PM ET
The window on the Gatorade State Softball Player of the Year race is closing, and the search for elite student-athletes is in full swing. The award recognizes not only athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field. Here are two top candidates who meet the basic award criteria as determined by our ESPNHS team that administers the program’s selection process.

Brooke Phelan
Senior shortstop, Foran (Milford, Conn.)

2012 Team record: 19-1 (Class L)
2012 Team standing: Class L state tournament begins Saturday

2012 Batting average: .446
2012 RBI: 12
2012 Runs: 26

Academics: A average
Collegiate destination: Quinnipiac University

How she’s played herself into the State POY conversation: Producing a .581 slugging percentage and .481 on-base percentage. Has stolen 22 bases in her first 20 games. 2011 Class L state champion. 2011 All-Southern Connecticut Conference selection.

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Connecticut Boys Hoop POY: Kris Dunn

March, 22, 2012
3/22/12
5:44
AM ET
A dedicated ESPNHS team managed the Gatorade Boys Basketball Player of the Year selection process, resulting in winners based on the program's three pillars: athletic production and impact in the 2011 season, high academic achievement and exemplary personal character.

For his 50 fellow Gatorade State Boys Basketball Player of the Year winners, click here.

Gatorade POY, boys, Kris Dunn, New London, Connecticut
Christopher Beauchamp/ESPNHSKris Dunn is the No. 24 ranked recruit in the Class of 2012 as rated by ESPNU.
THE WINNER: Kris Dunn

THE BASICS

School: New London (Conn.)
Grade: Senior
Position: Guard
Height: 6-foot-4
Weight: 185 pounds

THE PILLARS

Athletic achievement: Dunn averaged 31.4 points, 12 rebounds, five assists, four steals and two blocks per game this past season, leading the Whalers (23-3) to the Class LL semifinals. A 2012 McDonald’s All-American Game selection and a 2012 Jordan Brand Classic game invitee, he is the No. 24 ranked recruit in the Class of 2012 as rated by ESPNU.

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The window on the Gatorade State Boys Basketball Player of the Year race is closing, and the search for elite student-athletes is in full swing. The award recognizes not only athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field. Here are two top candidates who meet the basic award criteria as determined by our ESPNHS team that administers the program’s selection process.

Kris Dunn
Senior guard, New London (CT)

2011-12 Team record: 23-3
2011-12 Team standing: Lost in Class LL semifinals

2011-12 Points per game: 31.4
2011-12 Rebounds per game: 12
2011-12 Assists per game: 5
2011-12 Blocks per game: 2
2011-12 Steals per game: 4

Academics: B average
Collegiate destination: Providence

How he’s played himself into the State POY conversation: 2012 McDonald’s All-American selection; 2012 Jordan Brand Classic selection; 2009-2011 First Team All-State; 2011 New Haven Register MVP

Timajh Parker

Senior power forward, St. Joseph (Trumbull, CT)

2011-12 Team record: 22-1
2011-12 Team standing: Will play in Class LL state final on March 17

2011-12 Points per game: 19.8
2011-12 Rebounds per game: 12
2011-12 Assists per game: 1.1
2011-12 Blocks per game: 4
2011-12 Steals per game: 2

Academics: B average
Collegiate destination: Towson

How he’s played himself into the State POY conversation: 2011 First Team All-State; 2011 and 2012 Team Captain; 2011 First Team All-Conference

Make no mistake, the Gatorade State Boys Basketball Player of the Year race isn’t over yet. Time remains for one standout student-athlete among thousands to rise to the top of our list. Here are some more of many who’ve been in the conversation throughout the 2011-12 campaign.

James Jennings: Senior point guard, St. Joseph (Trumbull, CT)
Ricardo Ledo: Senior forward, South Kent (CT)
Terry Tarpey: Senior forward, Fairfield Prep (CT)

Think we're missing a deserving Gatorade State Player of the Year candidate in your state? Let us know via e-mail at ESPNHS_GPOY@ESPN.com.

Connecticut Girls Hoop POY: Kristin Schatzlein

March, 8, 2012
3/08/12
5:07
AM ET
A dedicated ESPNHS team managed the Gatorade Girls Basketball Player of the Year selection process, resulting in winners based on the program's three pillars: athletic production and impact in the 2011 season, high academic achievement and exemplary personal character.

For her 50 fellow Gatorade State Girls Basketball Player of the Year winners, click here.

THE WINNER: Kristin Schatzlein

THE BASICS

School: Tolland (Conn.)
Grade: Senior
Position: Guard
Height: 6-foot

THE PILLARS

Athletic achievement: Schatzlein has led the Eagles to a 22-3 record and a berth in the Class M state semifinals against Ellington (Conn.), scheduled for Friday. Through 25 games, she was averaging 20.3 points, 9.9 rebounds, 6.3 assists, 5.5 steals and 2.1 blocks. A four-time All-Conference selection, Schatzlein was named All-State by the New Haven Register and the Hartford Courant as a junior.

Academic excellence: Schatzlein has maintained a B average in the classroom.

Exemplary character: She has volunteered locally on behalf of youth basketball programs and has raised funds to benefit diabetes research.

Read More »

The window on the Gatorade State Girls Basketball Player of the Year race is closing, and the search for elite student-athletes is in full swing. The award recognizes not only athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field. Here are two top candidates who meet the basic award criteria as determined by our ESPNHS team that administers the program’s selection process.

Morgan Olander

Senior Center, E.O. Smith High (Storrs, CT)

2011-12 Team record: 22-1

2011-12 Team standing: Plays Windsor in second round of Class L tournament, 3/2

2011-12 Points per game: 14.5

2011-12 Rebounds per game: 8.5

2011-12 Assists per game: 2.1

2011-12 Blocks per game: 3.2

2011-12 Steals per game: 2.3

Academics: A average

Collegiate destination: Undecided

How she’s played herself into the State POY conversation: 22 straight wins to start season; Third Team All-State in 2011; Two-time All-Conference; Selected to Jewish Community Center and and Connecticut High School Coaches Association All-Star Games.

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Connecticut Boys Soccer POY: Zach Zurita

February, 22, 2012
2/22/12
5:28
AM ET
A dedicated ESPNHS team managed this past fall's Gatorade Boys Soccer Player of the Year selection process, resulting in winners based on the program's three pillars: athletic production and impact in the 2011 season, high academic achievement and exemplary personal character.

For his 29 fellow Gatorade State Fall Boys Soccer Player of the Year winners, click here.

THE WINNER: Zach Zurita

THE BASICS

School: Bunnell (Stratford, Conn.)
Grade: Senior
Position: Forward
Height: 5-foot-9
Weight: 155 pounds

THE PILLARS

Athletic achievement: Zurita led the Bulldogs to a 20-2-2 record and the Class L state championship this past season. He scored 43 goals and passed for 14 assists, including 11 goals and three assists in the state tournament. The 2011 Connecticut Soccer Coaches Association Player of the Year and an All-American selection by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America, Zurita had a goal and two assists in Bunnell’s 3-0 win over Avon (Conn.) for the state title. He concluded his prep soccer career with 96 goals and 42 assists.

Academic excellence: Zurita has maintained a B-plus average in the classroom.

Exemplary character: He has volunteered locally as a youth soccer coach and has worked at Soccer & Rugby Imports in Southport.

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Eye on POY: Connecticut boys soccer

February, 16, 2012
2/16/12
4:49
PM ET
The fall soccer season may have concluded, but the search for Gatorade State Boys Soccer Players of the Year is in full swing. The award recognizes not only athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field. Here are two top candidates who meet the basic award criteria as determined by our ESPNHS team that administers the program’s selection process.

Zach Zurita
Senior forward, Bunnell (Stratford, Conn.)

2011 Team record: 20-2-2 (Class L)
2011 Team standing: Class L state champions

2011 Goals: 43
2011 Assists: 14
2011 Points per game: 2.38
Career goals: 96
Career assists: 42

Academics: B-plus average
Collegiate destination: Monmouth University

How he’s played herself into the State POY conversation: Had a direct hand in 14 of the Bulldogs' 17 state tournament goals (82.4 percent). Scored a goal in all but three games this past season, including 14 multi-goal games. 2011 Connecticut Soccer Coaches Association Player of the Year. 2011 Connecticut Post Most Valuable Player. Two-time New Haven Register All-Area MVP. 2011 NSCAA All-American selection. Two-time NSCAA All-New England selection. 2011 Greater New Haven Referee Association Boys Player of the Year. 2011 Class L State Tournament MVP. No. 72 ranked recruit in Class of 2012 as rated by ESPNHS.

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Connecticut Girls Soccer POY: Paula Hagopian

February, 9, 2012
2/09/12
5:21
AM ET
A dedicated ESPNHS team managed this past fall's Gatorade State Girls Soccer Player of the Year selection process, resulting in winners based on the program's three pillars: athletic production and impact in the 2011 season, high academic achievement and exemplary personal character.

For her 21 fellow Gatorade State Fall Girls Soccer Player of the Year winners, click here.

THE WINNER: Paula Hagopian

THE BASICS

School: Kingswood Oxford School
(West Hartford, Conn.)
Grade: Senior
Position: Forward
Height: 5-foot-4

THE PILLARS

Athletic achievement: Hagopian scored 13 goals and passed for 10 assists this past season, leading the Wyverns to a 5-7-2 record. Also the 2011 Connecticut Soccer Coaches Association Player of the Year and a two-time All-American selection by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America, she led Kingswood Oxford to the 2010 New England Prep School Athletic Council Class B championship. Hagopian concluded her prep soccer career with 56 goals and 35 assists.

Academic excellence: Hagopian has maintained a 3.73 GPA in the classroom.

Exemplary character: The first chair clarinet player in the Kingswood Oxford school band, she has volunteered locally as a peer tutor and at an area homeless shelter and food bank.

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Eye on POY: Connecticut girls soccer

February, 3, 2012
2/03/12
6:38
PM ET
The fall soccer season may have concluded, but the search for Gatorade State Girls Soccer Players of the Year is in full swing. The award recognizes not only athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field. Here are two top candidates who meet the basic award criteria as determined by our ESPNHS team that administers the program’s selection process.

Sarah McCauley
Sophomore forward, Chase Collegiate School (Waterbury, Conn.)

2011 Team record: 15-3-1
2011 Team standing: Lost in New England Prep School Athletic Council Class D semifinals

2011 Goals: 35
2011 Assists: 15
2011 Points per game: 2.78
Career goals: 64
Career assists: 32

Academics: A average
Collegiate destination: HS Sophomore

How she’s played herself into the State POY conversation: Had a direct hand in 50 of Chase’s 59 goals (84.7 percent) this past season. Amassed five goals and five assists in two games as Chase won the Housatonic Valley Athletic League tournament title. 2011 NSCAA All-New England selection. Two-time NEPSAC Class D All-Star.

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Connecticut Boys XC ROY: Connor Rog

January, 23, 2012
1/23/12
5:44
AM ET
A dedicated ESPNHS team managed the Gatorade State Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year selection process, resulting in winners based on the program's three pillars: athletic production and impact in the 2011 season, high academic achievement and exemplary personal character.

For his 50 fellow Gatorade State Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year winners, click here.


THE WINNER: Connor Rog

THE BASICS

School: Fairfield College Prep (Fairfield, Conn.)
Grade: Senior
Height: 5-foot-7

THE PILLARS

Athletic achievement: Rog raced to the Class LL individual state championship this past season with a time of 15:50, leading the Jesuits to the state title as a team. The state’s returning Gatorade Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year, he also won the State Open Championships in 15:22 and finished second at the New England Cross Country Championships with a time of 15:27. He earned victories at the Wickham Park Invitational, the Wilton Invitational, the Woods Trail Run, the Jesuit Championships and the Southern Connecticut Conference Championships, and finished 18th nationally at the Foot Locker Cross Country Championships.

Academic excellence: Rog has maintained a 3.20 GPA in the classroom.

Exemplary character: Also a talented musician, he has volunteered on behalf of a local nursing home and participated in a service-mission trip to help disabled children in Jamaica.

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