Three student-athletes – Mia Lawrence (Mercy), Edwin James Figueroa (Hamden) and Kyle Maruca (North Haven) – are the recipients of the 2020 Southern Connecticut Conference Comeback Player of the Year awards. All three student-athletes suffered severe injuries, yet were able to overcome them to become outstanding role models in their respective schools.
A corporate sponsor of the SCC, Connecticut Orthopaedics has offered a Comeback Player of the Year Scholarship for student-athletes who participated in an interscholastic sport during the 2019-2020 academic year and showed great leadership both on and off the field after their severe injury.
Coaches and school’s athletic directors nominated these student-athletes after they each suffered an unfortunate injury that prohibited them from playing for their high school teams. All three will receive a financial scholarship to be used for their college education.
“This is our 10th year in awarding student-athletes from the SCC with scholarships,” said Glenn Elia, chief executive officer of Connecticut Orthopaedics, in a statement. “Our goal has been to acknowledge student-athletes who have overcome the challenges of an injury and, through hard work and determination, have become positive role models for their fellow teammates. Because we are sports medicine specialists, we understand intimately what it takes to recover from an injury and return to playing sports at a high level.”
EDWIN JAMES FIGUEROA, Hamden (football/track & field)
During his junior football season, Edwin Figueroa suffered his injury (fractured tibia and torn ligaments in ankle) which led him to surgery.
Figueroa was diligent in his rehabilitation and showed leadership by continuing to encourage his teammates through the off-season. He returned to the field last fall and helped lead the Green Dragons to a 6-4 record, their best in nearly 15 years.
Figueroa will attend Western Connecticut State University in the fall with plans to play football for the Colonials and is interested in its nursing program.
MIA LAWRENCE, Mercy (gymnastics)
One of the top gymnasts in the history of the SCC, Mia Lawrence won the all-around title at the SCC championship meet in early February 2019. A week later, she sustained a broken ankle, ending her junior season.
Through her hard work and dedication, she returned to the mat and once again, won the SCC all-around title at the 2020 championship meet and was named the league’s Gymnast of the Year and earned the New Haven Register’s Area MVP honors for the second straight season.
Lawrence, who was also selected to the GameTimeCT all-state team, will attend Quinnipiac University in the fall with plans to major in occupational therapy.
KYLE MARUCA, North Haven (football/track & field)
A two-way football standout for the Indians, Kyle Maruca injured his shoulder in the first game of the season in 2018. He played with the injury the rest of the season before requiring surgery to repair a torn labrum.
Prior to surgery in April, Maruca was still able to participate in indoor and outdoor track, throwing the shot put and actually won the SCC indoor title in 2019.
Following his rehabilitation, Maruca was cleared to return to football practice without contact and had to miss the first three weeks of football season. Upon his return to the field as a tight end/defensive lineman, he was a big reason why the Indians went 5-1 with him in the lineup.
Maruca will attend Merrimack University in the fall and will participate in track & field for the Warriors.