ON CAMPUS A look at the area college sports scene

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Handicapping the girls' state playoffs

I'm going to pat myself on the back here. I picked Mercy to win the SCC girls' tournament and thanks to Rachel Roberts I was right.Can the Tigers keep it going in the Class LL tournament? Here are my picks.
Class LL
Mercy does have a realistic chance. It should get past the first two rounds but then has to face a tough road down the stretch. The Tigers could be looking at consecutive games against NFA, New Britain and Windsor to win the title. Welcome to March.I think that will be a little too much for Mercy to handle..I look for Windsor to take the title in a rematch against New Britain. Windsor halted New Britain's long winning streak last week in the CCC tournament and it's top part of the bracket is much easier than the lower half.The best long shot in the field is probably aforementioned Mercy, the No. 6 seed, or ninth-seeded Manchester.
Class L
Guilford and star Jaci Daigneault could make a long run here even though they'd have to beat top seed Nonnewaug in the second round.But Nonnewaug comes from a weak league and could be overmatched even though it finished the season at 20-0.Guilford, however, must watch out for its first-round opponent as Pomperaug is always tough.Law-Milford could also make a long run and I wouldn't be surprised to see Hillhouse or Hand in the semifinal picture. Register area teams and the SCC should be well-represented.Bulkeley is another legitimate threat in this class.My title pick is going to be Waterford but I wouldn't be looking for an area bookie to take action on this one. It could lose its first game.
Class M
Holy Cross-Waterbury is the top-heavy favorite to win this title. The Crusaders are undefeated on the season.I actually voted them No. 1 in the Register poll at the beginning of last season and stayed with them all the way until the tournament when they came up empty.This year I got off Holy Cross and they haven't lost once. Still, winning the state title is a grind so the Crusaders will have plenty of work to do. I just don't see anyone beating them here. A quarterfinal game with Holy Cross meeting Stonington and Heather Buck would be great.Career, at No. 7, is the best long shot in the bracket.
Class S
Like Class M, this group features a top-heavy favorite that I don't think will lose. DeShana Stevens and the Trinity Catholic Crusaders look to be the easy favorites here.Only Kolbe Cathedral seem to be a real threat or perhaps Notre Dame-Fairfield. Trinity actually has the toughest road to the finals but is by far the best team and should handle things here.Look for Derby to win a couple of tourney games which will be refreshing for the program. The best long shot is No. 4 seed Cromwell.Let's see how I do. I'll take a look at the boys' brackets on Wednesday.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Huskies missed the boat

Well, Terrell Wilks continues to sizzle on the track.
You can just look at Wilks and see how fast he is. You don't need a stopwatch.
The most interesting part of the day at Saturday's Indoor Track State Open was talking to Wilks' Hillhouse coach Gary Moore.
Moore recalled how the UConn football program and head coach Edsall practically slighted Wilks.
It seems that the Huskies had invited Wilks to attend their game against West Virginia as a guest.But the school never made final arrangements.
The game was on a Friday and Wilks waited by the phone for a call that never came. Finally Moore called the Huskies' football recruiter and confirmed that Wilks was still welcome to attend - just hours before kickoff.
That's not the way to treat your recruits.
But then again, at that time the Huskies really didn't care too much if they landed Wilks or not. He was a solid football player but too thin they thought.
Wilks led the Academics to the state title playing both receiver and defensive back but not too many people cared.
That is, until Wilks started his track career.
Wilks never ran track until this year, his senior season, and posted a time that ranked him fourth in the nation in the 55-meters. He ran a blazing 6.37 second mark. The state record is 6.23.
When Wilks ran that time the phones started ringing again with offers from big-time colleges.
And yes, UConn was on the other end of one of them.
The first thing Randy Edsall and his UConn staff should do is take care of business in the state. Wilks has already qualified grade and SAT-wise.
He is untapped potential on the football field and would have looked good at Rentschler Field on Saturdays.
But Wilks will be playing at Villanova next year and that's truly a shame. Not for him as he'll get a great education, but for Husky fans state-wide.

Friday, February 16, 2007

It's time for the Madness

Are you ready for the Madness?
This is the most exciting time of the year for high school sports. The CIAC’s version of March Madness is so long it starts in February.
Here’s a little preview of what to look for.
The State Open track championships take place today at the New Haven Athletic Center.
Look for Amity to have a big day as always.
If you like drama, watch Hillhouse’s Terrell Wilks as he tries to win State Open titles in his first season ever on the track. It’s actually a remarkable story as Wilks is clearly one of the fastest kids in the state but has no track training.
Can he win on speed alone? I watched some of the NFL combine workouts on the NFL network the other day and they said to get the fastest 40-yard dash time, which is crucial for potential draft picks, that a runner should keep his head down for the first 20 yards and then stand up straighter as you head down the field.
I never knew that. I wonder if Wilks has been taught the tricks of sprinting.
He’ll need them today as he is seeded second to Danbury’s Michael Lorick in the 55-meter dash.
Wilks’ quest is a precursor for what will surely be the Ann-Marie Clarke show once again. Clarke has been battling a bit of a hamstring pull but is the odds-on favorite to win the 55-hurdles and the 300 meters.
She is also a top choice in the long jump but hasn’t worked on the event much so she’ll be hard-pressed to win the event.
If you’ve never been to the State Open it’s a veritable three-ring circus. If you’re going print out the start lists on the CIAC site at this address:
Have fun.
The Class championships of wrestling will also be held today at four sites throughout the state.
Again Amity is a major player with several Spartan wrestlers looking for titles. Ryan Roddy was perhaps the most impressive at last week’s SCC Championships.
One thing about the wrestling pairings is that there will be upsets. Don’t always look for the No. 1 seed to win the title as many wrestlers suffer losses throughout the season due to illness or other factors.
Many times you’ll see someone seeded sixth who actually is the best wrestler in the class. It is a grueling day of competition but the wrestler who can stay the freshest and post easy wins in the early rounds usually has the best chance of wining a title.
The State Open for wrestling will be held next week at the New Haven Athletic Center.
The SCC girls’ basketball tournament also starts today with four games on tap at West Haven. It’s anyone’s guess who will win this tournament but my guess is: Mercy.
I’ll wrap up the weekend’s action early in the week and talk more basketball too.
Hey, it doesn’t look like the Huskies are going to the Big Dance this year so we’ll have plenty of time to watch the local teams make their run.