Here are the top 10 local sports storylines of the year from the New Britain Herald coverage area:
1. Plainville boys soccer wins program’s first state title
It had been a long time coming, but the Plainville boys soccer team finally brought home the program’s first ever state title this season. The No. 23 seed in the Class M state tournament, the Blue Devils began their run by beating No. 10 Montville 4-1 and then took care of No. 26 Northwestern 3-1. That’s when the real fun began.
Plainville dispatched No. 2 Granby 2-1 in penalty kicks and topped No. 3 Stonington 2-1 in the semifinals. Finally, on Nov. 18, the Blue Devils celebrated after beating top-seeded and undefeated Ellington 1-0 at Veterans Stadium. James Raucci scored the winning goal with Dane Stephens being named the game’s MVP.
2. Newington boys volleyball wins fifth title in seven seasons
It was another season and that meant another state championship for the Newington boys volleyball team. The Indians won their second consecutive title and fifth in seven seasons after a back-and-forth match against rival Joel Barlow down at Shelton High School.
With the match tied 2-2 between the teams, Newington took control of the fifth set and never trailed, claiming the state championship after one of the Falcons’ players hit the ball out of bounds to end the game 15-13 and the match 3-2 in the Indians’ favor.
3. Berlin football reached Class M championship game
Before the season began, the Berlin football team stated its goal was to play for a state championship. By the time December rolled around, the Redcoats were doing just that.
After a 9-1 regular season, Berlin took care of Brookfield in the first round 16-6 before beating up on Sheehan in the Class M semifinals 34-22 in a game that was never as close as the final score would indicate. The victory secured the program’s first trip to a championship game since 2014 and while the Redcoats ultimately lost to St. Joseph 70-18, it was still a season to remember.
4. New Britain football reached Class LL playoffs
It was quite the season for the New Britain football team to say the least. After going 5-5 for three straight years, the Hurricanes made it a priority to get back to their roots and become a top-tier program in the state once again. It looks like mission accomplished. New Britain finished the season 9-2 and reached the Class LL playoffs for the first time in four years.
5. Southington girls track wins State Open
The Southington track and field team has had plenty of individual success over the years, but had never won a major title. That all changed in June when the Blue Knights girls team held off Bloomfield, 35-32, to capture the State Open Championship with just four athletes nonetheless. Amanda Howe and Megan Biscoglio were the two leaders for Southington with Howe taking first in both the discus and shot put and Biscoglio winning the pole vault.
6. Southington’s Calo, Berlin’s Veleas win wrestling titles
Wrestling as always been one of the area’s strongest sports and this year was no exception. Southington’s Paul Calo won his second straight New England Championship after taking the top spot in the 170-pound bracket after winning at 160 pounds last year. Dan Veleas also captured his second consecutive Class M title, winning at 132 pounds following his victory at 120 pounds last year.
7. Berlin’s Trevethan captures Class M boys tennis championship
To say Berlin’s Jonathan Trevethan dominated his competition would be an understatement. The Berlin tennis player didn’t drop a single set until the State Open last spring. Along the way, Trevethan won the Class M title after beating Weston’s Sebastian Casellas 6-4, 6-1. He finished his year 25-1.
8. Berlin’s Tyler Ralph scores 100th goal
Tyler Ralph still has a full season of lacrosse ahead of him, but that just means he gets to add to his already incredible total. During his junior season for Berlin, Ralph scored his 100th career goal during the Redcoats win over Rocky Hill on May 16. He also finished with a hat trick.
9. Southington’s Wadolowski moves up to third on school’s all-time scoring list
Janette Wadolowski finished with quite the decorated career at Southington high school. She finished with all-conference and All-State recognition for girls basketball. She also moved up to third place on the school’s all-time leading scorers list after the then senior scored 25 points to in a 71-36 win over Northwest Catholic on Feb. 12.
10. George Springer hits game-winning home run in All-Star Game
New Britain native George Springer always appears to play his best in big moments. He certainly did in the Midsummer Classic. Springer hit what ended up being the game-winning home run in the top of the 10th inning as the American League beat the National League 8-6 in the 2018 All-Star Game.