Pickens' Perspective: A wrap to the Fall 2011 season
What a season this has been.
It's been intriguing, interesting and competitive. We had conference champions, individual state and New England champions, and high-water marks for teams around town.
But, alas save Harry Warnick and Connor Rog's runs in the Foot Locker regionals this weekend and perhaps nationals next weekend the season is over. Thanksgiving football was played yesterday-- see our website for more details on those-- but it's time to reminisce and hand out awards.
Best team: Fairfield Prep cross country. Besides having the town's top athlete (see below), the Jesuits' runners had the most success, winning both the Class LL and State Opens and qualifying for New Englands. No other team came close to those achievements.
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Best athlete: Connor Rog, Fairfield Prep cross country. The University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill bound racer is still going strong after finishing No. 1 in the class and state meets, and taking second place at the New England Regional race.
Best public school athlete: Harry Warnick, Warde cross country. Warnick's had the most successful running season as a boy not named Rog in this town's recent history. He's a nice, humble kid, who knows his strengths and continues to get better. Whichever college he attends will be lucky to have such a wonderful young man.
Best Coaching Job: Meghan Skelton, Fairfield Ludlowe girls volleyball. The Falcons lost almost their entire squad from a year ago, plus the state player of the year. Ludlowe returned just one starter and only one other contributor from the club that was the Class LL runner-up in 2010. In their "re-building" year, the Falcons were 12-9 and state and FCIAC tournament qualifiers. Skelton had everything to do with that.
Best Game: Fairfield Prep boys soccer at Newtown, Class LL second round, Nov. 14. The Jesuits fended off chance after chance in their second round affair at Newtown, and the game was scoreless going to overtime. Prep goalkeeper Will Steiner was injured with a concussion in the 96th minute, so forward --and emergency keeper --Jack Grella entered the game, kept the game scoreless and stopped three out of four penalty kicks for Prep to advance.
Team to watch in 2012: Fairfield Ludlowe girls volleyball. The entire starting roster will return next year from the team I cited above. Plus, the Falcons found a way to steal a game from Darien-- meaning Ludlowe won't fear the Blue Wave next year. Look out.
Best Quote: "I've never been associated with a bad loss, but this one was pretty good," Stratford High School football head coach-- and former Sacred Heart University assistant coach-- John Svatik after his team won its first game of the season on Oct. 6, 41-38 at ND-Fairfield.
Best Quote from an athlete: "I'm the only goalie left and I play forward." -Fairfield Prep soccer's Jack Grella after stopping three of four penalty kicks in relief of Prep starting goalie Will Steiner to help the Jesuits advance in the Class LL playoffs
Most snakebit team: Warde football. The Mustangs led in the second half of all but one game this season, led in the fourth quarter of all but three of their contests, yet finished no better than .500. The Mustangs were certainly disappointed.
There you have it folks, another season in the rear view mirror. Hope you all enjoyed it as much as I did.