Every once in awhile, I look at the list of our former Athletes of the Year and think about how great all of those athletes were.
Thursday night will be our 24th annual MVP banquet, where we will recognize the MVP of each sport for the 2017-18 school year at Amarante’s Sea Cliff. At the conclusion, we will name our Male and Female Athletes of the Year – always a difficult decision for us.
At our first banquet in 1995, our two athletes were Pierre Venditti, a Gatorade State Player of the Year for soccer while playing at Law and Diane Potkay, an outstanding track and field athlete at Derby. Venditti, who went on to play at Maryland, was recently named one of the top 50 players all time by New England Soccer Journal. Potkay, who starred at Yale, was inducted into Derby’s inaugural Hall of Fame class in 2015.
The next year, the Register chose Steve Coughlin from Ansonia and Lisa Barbaro from Morgan, who repeated in 1997. She is the longtime women’s volleyball coach at Southern Connecticut State University while Coughlin is a segment producer on the midnight SportsCenter with Scott Van Pelt for ESPN. And he still finds time to help out coaching his former high school football team.
Mike O’Keefe (Notre Dame-West Haven, 1997) almost made it to the majors and currently has his own baseball and softball academy. Sarah Katinger (Bunnell, 1998) is a member of the Connecticut Women’s Volleyball Hall of Fame and was an assistant women’s volleyball coach at her alma mater, Providence, and at Fairfield.
Adam Greenberg (Guilford, 1999) did make it to the major leagues for one at-bat – think Moonlight Graham from Field of Dreams – and recently won the Republican nod for the 12th District State Senate Seat. Chris Tracz (North Branford, 2000) is the head baseball coach at Marist College. Jenn Piazza (Lyman Hall, 2001) coaches softball at Mercy.
Emily Hardy (Westbrook, 2002) has spent a lot of time volunteering in the Peace Corps overseas while Brian Mariano (Naugatuck) is now the athletic director at his alma mater. Melissa McGow and Brittney Carfora (Branford, 2003 and 2004, respectively) were also recent inductions into the Branford Sports Hall of Fame and Carfora went into the Tap-Off Club Hall of Fame last fall.
Terrell Wilks (Hillhouse 2007) is second all-time in the indoor 60-meter dash at the University of Florida. Bria Holmes (Hillhouse, 2012) plays in the WNBA for the Connecticut Sun. Andre Anderson (Hillhouse 2013) and Arkeel Newsome (Ansonia, 2014) recently completed stellar football careers at New Haven and UConn, respectively.
Danae Rivers, a three-time choice from Wilbur Cross (2014-16), is starring for Penn State in track and field as we speak while two-timer Nico Ragaini (Notre Dame-West Haven) is now playing football for the University of Iowa.
We have made our choices for the 2017-18 season. Who do you think we chose?
Another fun night to conclude a great high school year awaits.
2017-18 New Haven Register MVPs
Football: Kyle Godfrey, West Haven
Boys’ Soccer: Juan Avila, Morgan
Girls’ Soccer: Caroline Monahan, Lauralton Hall
Field Hockey: Taylor Leckey, Hand
Girls’ Volleyball: Abigail Harbinson, Amity
Girls’ Swimming: Liz Boyer, Cheshire
Boys’ Cross Country: Drew Thompson, Fairfield Prep
Girls’ Cross Country: Meredith Bloss, Guilford
Boys’ Basketball: Tyler Thomas, Amity
Girls’ Basketball: Isabella Santoro, Mercy
Ice Hockey: Jack McGee, Fairfield Prep
Wrestling: Ryan Luth, Foran
Boys’ Indoor Track: Deshaune Poole, Hillhouse
Girls’ Indoor Track: Aisha Gay, Hamden
Boys’ Swimming: Colin Roy, Amity
Gymnastics: Erin Naclerio, Hand
Baseball: Pat Winkel, Amity
Softball: Becca Johnson, Seymour
Boys’ Lacrosse: Mason Reale, Fairfield Prep
Girls’ Lacrosse: Sophie Spencer, Branford
Boys’ Outdoor Track: Ken Little, Derby
Girls’ Outdoor Track: Erica Marriott, North Haven
Boys’ Tennis: Andrew Forchetti, Notre Dame-West Haven
Girls’ Tennis: Julia Migliorini, North Haven
Golf: Chris Fosdick, Xavier
Boys’ Volleyball: Jarrett McCurdy, Shelton