The countdown of the “Top 25 area athletes in the Class of 2011” kicks off in Wednesday’s paper and runs through Sunday, when No. 5-1 will be unveiled.
Last year, I did this same countdown for the class of 2010 — and I found it pretty challenging. This year’s was worlds more difficult.
There were so many athletes deserving of the No. 1 spot. There were probably 50 who can make a case for the Top 25. The following athletes had tremendous careers, but didn’t make the cut:
Rea Tarsi, Danbury (lacrosse, volleyball, basketball): This past spring, Tarsi was the finisher, the Mariano, the Kemba…whatever else you want to call it. She came up with game-winner after game-winner (including the clincher in a monumental upset over Darien) for the Hatters. Tarsi was a four-year varsity lacrosse player, an All-State selection and also a member of the Hatters’ varsity basketball and volleyball teams.
Tim Harris, Pomperaug (basketball, baseball): Often overshadowed by 6-foot-8 teammate Andre Makris (more about him below), Harris was the true X-factor to Pomperaug’s SWC runner-up boys basketball team. At 6-foot-6, he was the best rebounder on the team and, at times, the Panthers’ go-to scorer. He also played first base for the baseball team and had a strong year at the plate as Pomperaug finished 22-4.
Karl Bradshaw, New Milford (football, wrestling, track): The SWC wrestling champion at 171 pounds was also the Green Wave’s starting quarterback in the fall and a javelin standout in the spring. Bradshaw was seventh at the State Open with a PR throw of 160-01.
Chelsea Dimyan, New Fairfield (field hockey, lacrosse): Dimyan was a two-time All-State selection in field hockey, part of the Rebels’ 2008 state championship team and also an All-Division honoree as a defender in lacrosse. When she’s not playing sports, you can find her on the sidelines photographing other New Fairfield athletic events. Dimyan says she has a passion for photography. “I really love to take pictures at the boys lacrosse and basketball games – especially of the Rowdy Rebels,” she said.
Dele Owoye, Danbury (track and field): Owoye came on strong as the spring track season progressed, finishing second in the 100 at the State Opens with a PR of 10.96. He ran an 11.4 at New Englands, which earned him fourth place.
Andre Makris, Pomperaug (basketball): Is Andre the Giant too obvious of a nickname? The 6-foot-8 Makris, who averaged 17.3 points, 9.2 boards and 2.1 blocks per game, was voted by his SWC peers as the conference player of the year. He’s headed to Division II Endicott College in the fall.
Steve Dickerson, Danbury (baseball): Dickerson boasted one of the state’s best ERA’s (1.16) en route to posting a 7-2 record on the mound this past spring. As a result, the Hatters had one of their best seasons in recent memory – earning a berth in the FCIAC title game and an appearance in the Class LL quarterfinals.
Gina Newsome, Danbury (lacrosse): Like Tarsi, Newsome was largely responsible for Danbury’s breakthrough girls lacrosse season, which included victories over state superpower Darien and FCIAC rival Ridgefield. Newsome led the team with 85 points (57 goals, 28 assists) and was tops in the CT Senior All-Star game with four goals.
Colby Summerlin, Newtown (lacrosse, football): The defending champion New Fairfield boys lacrosse team was at Summerlin’s mercy in the SWC Championship game. Summerlin, a midfielder with a deadly left-handed shot, scored seven goals to earn MVP honors in a 12-7 victory over the Rebels. Summerlin made second team All-State for lacrosse and was an All-SWC pick in football.
Spencer Mannion, Brookfield (cross country, track): The SWC cross country champion ran a PR of 15:30.41 in the league meet and followed that up with a fourth-place finish at New Englands. He also placed seventh in the 1600 at the state open during outdoor track season.
Robby Harder, Joel Barlow (swimming): Harder set two Class M records in the 200 and 500 freestyle, but placed second in the State Open meet in both events (he lost to Ridgefield’s Andrew Klutey). He was also the two-time SWC meet MVP.
Nick Paez, Brookfield (football, basketball): The biggest snub from First Team All-SWC basketball, Paez was among the elite guards in the conference. He had range out to halfcourt (seriously, I’ve seen him drill consecutive halfcourt shots), possessed superior court vision and was the catalyst for Brookfield’s resurgence. Paez helped the Bobcats turn from a 3-17 team in 09-10 to a 13-7 squad last winter. He was also a standout defensive back and receiver for the football team.
Christopher Ackell, Brookfield (track and field): The Class MM championship must have been especially nice for Ackell. It was the only time during “championship season” that the Brookfield thrower got a break from Newtown’s John Wlasuk (you’ll read about him on Sunday). Ackell claimed the MM title in the discus and also finished second in the shotput and third in the javelin. At State Opens, he was the runner-up to Wlasuk in the discus.