The winter season-- the high school sports schedule's longest-- is over.
Though it is named "winter," this year's edition spanned three seasons. It started on Nov. 23, autumn, spanned through winter, then officially ended on March 20-- the first day of spring.
Still, there were multiple state champions, numerous individual champions and a slew of exciting achievements. Without further ado, here are some awards.
Best team: Fairfield Prep ice hockey. The Jesuits did not lose to a Connecticut foe all year, finishing 23-1. Prep's lone loss came in a Feb. 20 defeat to Massachusetts D1 semifinalist Catholic Memorial, as Prep claimed the Mount St. Charles Tournament, SCC and CIAC Division I crowns. The Jesuits were led by balanced scoring, dominant defense and a two-headed monster in net.
Best team (non-CIAC division): Fairfield co-op skiing. For the fourth straight year, Fairfield claimed at least one state championship. For the second time in three, Fairfield's skiers claimed both the boys and girls state championships. Fairfield's got a veritable stranglehold on these state crowns, and knowing head coach Gary Quiricone, I don't expect the dynasty to go down without a fight.
Beast team (non-sports division): Fairfield Ludlowe cheerleading. Ludlowe claimed both the conference and state championships. This was a nice year for the Falcon cheerers.
Best game: Fairfield vs. East Catholic, Division II boys ice hockey state championship, March 20. The D II final had it all: outstanding goaltending, incredible storylines, outstanding individual play, controversy, and a penalty-shot in overtime. Kevin Robinson scored four goals-- the last of which was a state-championship clincher-- to cap the improbable title run from the 13th-seeded co-op team. Speaking of which...
Best run: Fairfield co-op hockey. Fairfield appeared doomed when it lost its starting goalie, Connor Frawley, to a concussion during its FCIAC quarterfinal loss to St. Joseph.
Somehow, no one told the co-op team that, and sophomore Kyle Greenhut led Fairfield in net as it went on one of the most exhilarating state-tournament runs in recent memory.
Fairfield won four straight-- beating the Nos. 4, 5, 9 and 2 seeds -- and two in overtime. We mentioned Robinson's individual effort in the final, but without Tom Kryspin's game-winning goal in double OT of the D II quarters against Branford put Fairfield in a position to claim that state championship.
Best team to finish empty handed: Fairfield Prep basketball. The Jesuits finished 24-3 and were the only team to beat eventual-state and SCC champion Hillhouse.
Unfortunately for Prep, it couldn't find a way to beat the Academics in two title games. The Jesuits' fell in OT to Hillhouse in the SCC title game on Feb. 26. The Academics put forth a defensive showcase in their 52-42 Class LL championship win over Prep on March 16.
Best Quote: Robinson, after winning the state championship: "My brother was here back in his junior year, and he lost it. Back before we left, he said `avenge me, do it for Fairfield hockey' and I just put it all on the line and scored four goals."
It's not every day you hear the term "avenge me" in a quote. It reminded me of a quote from a Shakesperean drama.
Best athlete: Ahmed Hourani, Fairfield Warde wrestling. Hourani reached the New England final in the heavyweight division, finishing this year with a 42-4 record. Hourani is only a junior, so expect some big news from the rising senior on the mat in 2013-14.
Congrats to celebrants and those who won actual awards this past season.
Spring, you're up.