2011’s best in local sports

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Naugatuck native Pat Dean continued his climb to the major leagues when he made his debut for the Minnesota Twins’ Double-A affiliate, the New Britain Rock Cats, Sept. 2. RA ARCHIVE

Somehow, another year is already about to end. This can only mean one thing. No, not the ball dropping or ridiculous resolutions abounding. It’s time to take a look back at the top stories of 2011 in local sports.

Framski cracks 1,000 points with Gumby in crowd (Jan. 20, 2011): Woodland forward Heather Framski converted an old-fashioned three-point play — including the most pressure-packed free throw of her career — in the fourth quarter against Kennedy to become just the third Hawk to reach the 1,000-point mark. It was the perfect ending to a night on which Framski had her personal Gumby mascot in attendance. Framski later broke Jen Valente’s school scoring record by 104 points, finishing with 1,261 points for her career.

Kinne signs with MLS’ Revolution (March 7, 2011): This year was a good one for professional athletes from the borough, and it was started by former Naugatuck soccer great Ryan Kinne entering Major League Soccer. The Naugy boys soccer athlete of the decade, as named by CN in 2010, was drafted by the New England Revolution in the third round of the SuperDraft. He was an All-American at Naugatuck and at Monmouth University (N.J.) and set a number of school records in the borough.

Woodland boys basketball wins first state game since 2005 (March 7, 2011): The Hawks had not been past the first round of the state tournament since 2005, when Tom Little, Odiri Emadu, Mike Stankus, Shane Kingsley, and Adam Cegelka led them to the Division III quarterfinals. That changed this year when No. 22 Woodland beat No. 11 Bacon Academy, 46-43, thanks to a late 3-pointer by Ryan Angeloszek. The Hawks lost to Stonington in the second round, but it was one of the best seasons in school history with a 13-10 final record.

Heather Framski broke Woodland’s school scoring record. FILE PHOTO

Naugy track trio dominates local meets (May 24, 2011): Amanze Williams led the charge for star track athletes from the borough by winning all three jumping events at the Naugatuck Valley League championships as well as both the triple and long jumps at the Class L meet. Williams also won the long jump at the State Open and took both the triple and long jumps at the New England championships. Jamaal Gee and Muad Hrezi each won two events at the NVL meet while Hrezi won the 1,600 meters in Class L.

Hrezi, Moriello earn 1-2 finish at NVL cross country meet (Oct. 20, 2011):Muad Hrezi won his second-straight NVL championship by 20 seconds at Veterans Park in Watertown while teammate Nick Moriello unexpectedly finished second to give the Greyhounds the top two finishers at the league meet. Naugy narrowly missed out on the NVL title to Watertown, losing by two points. Hrezi and Moriello finished second and third, respectively, at the Class L meet to earn All-State honors and lead the ‘Hounds to another second-place finish.

Naugatuck’s Muad Hrezi, above, and teammate Nick Moriello took home first and second place respectively at the NVL cross country championships. FILE PHOTO

Krakowski wins NVL singles tennis title (May 27, 2011): Mike Krakowski became the first player in Woodland history to win the NVL singles championship by sweeping through the semifinals and finals on a sweltering day at Wolcott High. He beat Torrington’s Steve Consolini and Crosby’s Pat Vincente in straight sets to take the gold. Doubles team Pat Dietz and Kyle Beynor also took silver. The event capped Woodland’s first-ever NVL championship after an undefeated regular season.

Dean makes Double-A debut with Rock Cats (Sept. 2, 2011): Pat Dean, one of the best pitchers to ever come out of the borough, continued his trek to the major leagues when he was promoted to the Minnesota Twins’ Double-A affiliate, the New Britain Rock Cats, to make a late-season start. Dean, a 2010 third-round draft pick of the Twins, started the season in the Single-A Midwest League before earning two promotions. Meanwhile, fellow Naugy native Stephen Hiscock also continued his pro career with the Single-A Bowling Green Hot Rods of the Tampa Bay Rays organization.

Adriana Ambari and her teammates recorded the volleyball team’s first undefeated regular season in school history. RA ARCHIVE

Woodland spikers cap first undefeated regular season (Oct. 25, 2011):Woodland volleyball had a division title, two NVL titles, and a state quarterfinal appearance on its résumé entering the 2011 season. One thing the Hawks had never accomplished was an undefeated regular season. They checked off that item this fall by going 18-0, including the clinching 3-0 win over St. Paul in the last game of the regular season, to win the Brass Division. Although Woodland suffered an unexpected upset in the NVL tournament, it rebounded to reach the Class M quarterfinals.

Borough voters approve NHS renovations, including fields (Nov. 8, 2011): In just a few years, Naugatuck High could be one of the top athletic facilities in the entire state thanks to the renovations approved by voters at a special referendum. About 65 percent of voters favored the plan, which includes bringing synthetic turf to Naugy’s main field for football and soccer. The baseball and softball fields will move to the lower field, which will have new natural grass. In addition, the locker rooms, pool, and gymnasiums are all set for overhauls.

Eric Dietz and the Hawks won their first ever NVL boys soccer title. RA ARCHIVE

Hawks win first-ever NVL boys soccer title (Nov. 8, 2011): It had been a decade-long struggle for Tony Moutinho and the Woodland boys soccer program. The Hawks started in the cellar of the NVL but continued to improve each season. The program’s culmination came this season when Woodland won its first-ever NVL soccer title with a thrilling, 2-1 victory over Watertown. Matt Moutinho scored the title-winning goal on a header after Eric Dietz, the state’s leading scorer, netted the equalizer minutes before. The Hawks finished the NVL season 18-0-1.