Whale selects four forwards in 2017 NWHL draft

Connecticut selected Brown forward Sam Donovan with the fifth pick in Thursday’s NWHL draft. (Graphic courtesy Brown University)

BROOKLYN, N.Y. – With a look toward the future, the four teams of the National Women’s Hockey League held their 2017 draft Thursday night. The Boston Pride selected Boston College goalie Katie Burt with the No. 1 pick in the draft while the Connecticut Whale selected four forwards.

None of the 20 players selected in the five round draft should have a significant impact upon the upcoming season since they are all entering their senior season in college. The 2017-18 NWHL campaign begins on October 28.

Boston selected Burt with the No. 1 pick in the draft that they acquired in a trade from Connecticut when the Pride sent forward Zoe Hickel to the Whale last February. Burt has posted a record of 61-7-5 in her first three seasons with the Eagles.Continue Reading

Avon is bigger, stronger and more experienced for 2017 campaign

The Avon High football runs through drills in Wednesday’s preseason practice at the high school.

AVON, August 16 – The Avon High football team took it on the chin a year ago. The Falcons were young and inexperienced. They lost their first eight games – their longest losing streak in over a decade.

After nine consecutive winning seasons, Avon went 1-9 a year ago under first-year head coach Sal Cintorino.

On Tuesday, the Falcons were working out in the sunshine at the high school in the third day of preseason workouts in preparation for the season opening contest against East Catholic at home on Saturday, Sept. 9, at 1 p.m. – the first of three straight home games to open the season.

The Falcons are bigger, stronger and more experienced. The youngsters who got plenty of experience and dropped some close games in 2016 are ready to go this fall.Continue Reading

CCC makes slight adjustments in six football divisions

Windsor High senior Tim Gardner-Russaw ran for a career-high 204 yards and 5 TDs to help Windsor beat CCC rival Middletown in the Class L semifinals last December.

AVON – With the departure of Rockville and Weaver from the Central Connecticut Conference this fall, the CCC has made some slight adjustments in their football divisions.

The CCC still has six divisions. There are 10 teams at the Division I and III levels with 11 teams in Division II.

Avon remains in Division III East but gets a new opponent – the co-op team from Bulkeley, Weaver and Hartford Magnet Trinity Catholic Academy (HMTCA) that replaces Rockville, which left for the NCCC.Continue Reading

Sun beat Atlanta for sixth straight win

Curt Miller, Connecticut’s general manager and head coach, has seen his team with six straight games.

ATLANTA, Ga., August 15 – The Connecticut Sun played like a team going to the WNBA playoffs and a team that hopes to contend for a league championship. On Tuesday night, the Sun took care of business early in a 96-75 rout of short-handed Atlanta.

 
Missing former UConn guard Tiffany Hayes – their leading scorer, Atlanta struggled to keep up with Connecticut. The Sun raced out to an early 10-0 lead just 1:43 into the contest and led by as many as 19 points in the first half. In the second half, they led by as many as 31 points as Sun coach Curt Miller cleared the bench.
 
Connecticut (18-9) had six players in double figures led by Jonquel Jones with 20 points and 13 rebounds in just three quarters of action. Jasmine Thomas had 18 points and four assists while Courtney Williuams scored 12 points. Alyssa Thomas had 10 points and six assists.

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Canton player earns spot on New England team that plays in USA Baseball tourney

Canton’s Sean Tessman made Team New England that participated in a USA Baseball 13-and-under tournament this weekend in North Carolina.

CANTON, August 13 – Sean Tessman, a Canton Middle School student, was selected to play on the New England team that participated in the USA Baseball 13-and-under national training identification series (NTIS) in Cary, North Carolina this weekend.

The series is a comprehensive player identification program offered by Team USA. Tessman participated in two tryouts. He made it through a tryout consisting of players from Connecticut and was selected for Team New England after attending a tryout with players from Massachusetts, Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Connecticut.

The series included four games and a combine to allow the participants to show off their hitting and playing skills. From this NTIS tournament, 62 players will be selected to participate in future U.S. national team trials.Continue Reading

Connecticut beats Dallas to clinch first WNBA playoff berth since 2012

Connecticut’s Alyssa Thomas scored had a team-high 21 points and pulled down 13 rebounds as the Sun beat Dallas Saturday night and clinched their first WNBA playoff berth since 2012.

It’s been four long years since the Connecticut Sun have played in the WNBA playoffs. It’s the longest streak in franchise history.

And the drought is over. The Sun earned their first invitation to the WNBA playoffs since 2012 with a 96-88 win over the Dallas Wings Saturday night at the Mohegan Sun Arena in front of 6,898 fans. The win coupled with Atlanta’s loss to San Antonio secured Connecticut’s spot in the postseason.

Connecticut went to the Eastern Conference finals in 2012 under head coach Mike Thibault before dropping game three to Indiana Fever in Uncasville. The playoff format is different today. The top eight teams in the league – regardless of conference – earn a spot in the playoffs. The Sun have secured their ticket.

“This is step one,” Sun coach and general manager Curt Miller said. “We hope to be in the playoffs every year. This is so special for all of those guys who haven’t been to the playoffs before. A lot of our roster hasn’t been to the playoffs. I’m really happy for them that they’ll get to experience (the playoffs) for the first time.”Continue Reading

Canton’s Sarah Benedetti spent two seasons playing pro basketball in Ireland

Canton’s Sarah Benedetti played two years of pro basketball in Ireland.

CANTON — Canton High graduate Sarah Benedetti finished her second season of playing professional basketball in Ireland this spring and was one of five women to be named an All-Star in the women’s Division I league – second-tier professional league in the country.

This past winter, Benedetti played for the University of Limerick Huskies, who went 9-3 and finished second in the league. They advanced to the league semifinals before losing to eventual league champion Marble City Hawks, 60-57, despite a game-high 21 points from Benedetti.

Benedetti led Division I league in scoring, averaging 24.2 points per game. She pulled down 9.6 rebounds a game and averaged 37.7 minutes a game for the Huskies. One of her better games of the season was a 32-point effort against Oblate Dynamos, including sinking five of nine shots from three-point range.Continue Reading

Avon’s Madison Kennedy wins 50 free at U.S. Open championships

Avon’s Madison Kennedy won the 50 freestyle at the U.S. Open championships Sunday. (Photo courtesy USA Swimming)

EAST MEADOW, N.Y., August 6 – Avon native Madison Kennedy won the 50 meter freestyle at the U.S. Open championships Sunday at the Nassau Aquatics Center.

Kennedy, 29, was the only swimmer to go under 25 seconds with a time of 24.92 seconds, just 0.02 off the meet record of 24.90 set in 2009 by Jessica Hardy.

It was Kennedy’s fastest time of the season and the 25th fastest time in the world this season in the 50 freestyle.Continue Reading

UConn’s Dailey to receive Margo Dydek Award from Sun on August 8

UConn’s Chris Dailey will receive the Margo Dydek Award from the Sun on August 8.

UNCASVILLE, Conn. — The Connecticut Sun will honor UConn women’s basketball associate head coach Chris Dailey with the Margo Dydek Award as its 2017 Woman of Inspiration on Tuesday, August 8, when Breanna Stewart, Sue Bird and the Seattle Storm return to Mohegan Sun Arena.

 

An iconic figure in women’s basketball, Dailey recently completed her 32nd season with UConn, teaming with head coach Geno Auriemma to build the Huskies into a national power. She will participate in a pregame reception and honored at halftime. In her name, a $1,000 donation will be made by the Connecticut Sun Foundation, through the Travelers Championship, to the Jay S. Fishman Fund at the Bruce Edwards Foundation to help find a cure for ALS.

 

The Margo Dydek Award, named after the former Sun center, is given to an outstanding woman who has distinguished themselves while positively impacting the local community. Previous recipients of the award include Suzy Whaley, the Professional Golf Association (PGA) of American vice president, M. Jodi Rell, former governor of the state of Connecticut, and Rebecca Lobo, the former WNBA star and Hall of Famer. Continue Reading

Connecticut Mirage outlasts Farmington to win Junior Division championship

The Connecticut Mirage outlasted Farmington, 21-12 to win the Junior Division baseball title in the Farmington Bank/Vantis Life league.

SIMSBURY, Aug. 3 – It wasn’t a championship game that will be remembered for its stellar play on the diamond. Thursday night’s Junior Division championship game in the Farmington Bank/Vantis Life baseball league had 16 errors.

But one item won’t be forgotten – the Canton-based Connecticut Mirage captured a championship with a 21-12 victory over defending champion Farmington. The Mirage had 16 hits in the game, including three each from Avon’s Jackson Chard, Simsbury’s Cayden Thomas and Simsbury’s Collin Crowe.

It was the first-ever Junior Division title (ages 14-15) for a Canton-based team in the league’s long history that dates back to 1946 when it was the Jaycee-Courant baseball league.Continue Reading

Trick or Trot road race set for October 28 in Collinsville on bike trail

Runners come across the railroad bridge at the second annual Burlington to Collinsville Classic in May.

CANTON, August 2 — A third road race in downtown Collinsville is scheduled to be held on Halloween weekend. Canton’s Dollars for Scholars organization will host the first Collinsville Trick or Trot on Saturday morning, October 28, beginning at 8:30 a.m.

The 5K race (3.1 miles) will begin and finish near the Crown and Hammer restaurant along the Farmington Valley River Trail. Proceeds will fund local scholarships for the Canton Dollars for Scholars organization.

The event is a road race and fitness walk. All ages and abilities are welcome to participate. Not only will the top male and female finisher win an award but awards will be presented for the best Halloween costumes (adult, child, team) as well.Continue Reading

Stamford wins first state Legion title since 1957; Harris named All-Tournament

Avon pitcher Connor Harris (62) was named to the Connecticut American Legion’s All-Tournament after Stamford swept West Hartford for their first state title since 1957. Harris (9-0) pitched two complete games in the tournament, striking out 13 in two games.

MIDDLETOWN, July 29 – Pitcher Aaron D’Annolfo gave up just four hits and struck out four as he led the Stamford American Legion baseball team to their first state championship since 1957 with a 3-0 win over West Hartford at Palmer Field in Middletown.

Stamford (29-6) won the best-of-3 series, 2-0 after a 6-2 victory on Friday. Post 3 had 20 hits in the series and limited West Hartford (24-11) to just eight hits and two runs in a pair of games.

D’Annolfo pitched all nine innings to earn the win for Stamford, whose general manager Chris Sabia died the day before the state tournament began due to cancer.Continue Reading

Crowe lifts Mirage into Junior Division championship game with win over Tides

CANTON, July 29 – Pitcher Collin Crowe pitched a complete game, allowed two hits and struck out seven to lead the Connecticut Mirage from Canton to a 3-1 victory over Connecticut Tides from Berlin in a Farmington Bank/Vantis Life League semifinal baseball game Saturday at Mills Pond Pool field.

The win lifts the top-seeded Mirage (18-17, 14-3 Farmington Bank/Vantis) into the Junior Division championship game on Wednesday, Aug. 2, at 7 p.m. at Memorial Field in Simsbury against No. 3 seed Farmington (14-4).

Canton is looking for their first-ever Junior Division title. Canton previously won Senior Division titles in the league in 2003 and 2010.Continue Reading

Underdog West Hartford Legion drops title series opener to Stamford

West Hartford American Legion baseball coach Tim Hungerford Tuesday at Muzzy Field after Post 96 eliminated Avon, 6-2.

MIDDLETOWN, July 28 – West Hartford American Legion baseball coach Tim Hungerford was relaxed Tuesday night at Muzzy Field in Bristol. And why not? His Post 96 had beaten Avon for the second time in four days and earned a spot in the American Legion state championship series.

West Hartford would be facing Stamford for the state title. The two teams played game one of the best-of-3 state championship series on Friday night at Palmer Field. The last time that West Hartford won the Legion state championship was 1973.

He wanted them to enjoy the moment. “They’ve worked so hard. They’ve been through so much adversity,” Hungerford said. Injuries have been a nuisance throughout the season. West Hartford lost some tough games in the final weeks of the regular season.Continue Reading

Avon tops Simsbury to win District 6 title in Minor Division (ages 9-11)

The Avon Little League baseball All-Star team celebrates after winning the District 6 title in the Minor Division (ages 9-11) with a win over Simsbury.

AVON – The Avon Little League All-Star baseball team won the recent District 6 championship in the Minor Division (ages 9-11) with a 13-3 victory over Simsbury.

A day after suffering their first loss of the summer to Simsbury, 5-2, Avon rallied to capture their third District 6 championship in the 9-11 tournament in the last four years with a 10-run victory.

Avon went undefeated in the pool play portion of the D6 tournament with victories over Burlington, 9-8, Granby/East Granby, 14-2, Simsbury, 13-3 and Torrington, 14-4.Continue Reading