Best of 2011-12 high school sports: Top 10 senior athletes

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Nolan Kinne started for the Greyhounds in soccer, basketball, and baseball and helped all three squads to postseason berths. –RA ARCHIVE
The school year that has been over just a few weeks might seem like forever ago to some, but we’re not ready to put it to bed quite yet. We prefer looking back at the best our area athletes had to offer during the academic year.

In the second of a three-part series, we’ll take a look back at the top 10 senior athletes of the year. Of course, there are plenty more outstanding senior athletes who helped their teams to victories and gained league and state honors, but we had to pick our top 10.

Next week, we’ll conclude the series by recounting the top 10 stories of the year. For more, including more photos of our top senior athletes, visit www.mycitizensnews.com.

Top 10 Senior Athletes

Adriana Ambari (Woodland volleyball): The Woodland volleyball team did something last season it had never done before — go undefeated during the regular season. A major reason for the perfect record was Adriana Ambari, a front-row force for the Hawks. She earned both All-State and All-NVL honors and helped the squad reach the Class M quarterfinals for the second time in school history.

Dayna Chucta (Woodland diving, tennis): The class of NVL girls diving has come from Woodland’s pool more often than not over the last seven or eight years. The latest — and greatest — of that bunch was Dayna Chucta. Chucta holds the school’s six- and 11-dive records, is a two-time all-state diver, and the 2011 Class S state and NVL diving champion. She lost only one competition in her senior year, and that was at the State Open.

Eric Dietz (Woodland soccer, swimming, track): It can easily be argued that no athlete had a finer senior season in Woodland history than Eric Dietz. He became the school’s first two-time All-New England athlete by earning the honors in both soccer and track. He led the state and set a school record with 36 goals in helping the soccer team win its first league title. He earned All-NVL honors in all three sports and was part of the record-breaking 4-by-400-meter relay team.

Muad Hrezi (Naugatuck cross country, track): Supremacy in NVL long-distance running has been synonymous with Muad Hrezi’s name over the last few years. Just this year, Hrezi won the NVL cross country title and earned All-State honors with a second-place Class L finish. He also earned multiple gold medals at the league indoor and outdoor track meets and was part of the 4-by-800-meter relay team that won the Class L outdoor title.

Nolan Kinne (Naugatuck soccer, basketball, baseball): Perhaps Naugatuck’s finest three-sport athlete this year was Nolan Kinne. He was a starter on three winning teams for the Greyhounds, helping all three squads to postseason berths. He led the baseball team in average and was a defensive wizard in center field while he lived up to the family name on the soccer pitch. He earned All-State honors in both soccer and baseball.

Tim Madormo (Woodland soccer, track): NVL hurdles competitions were totally dominated by Tim Madormo over the last two years. In fact, Madormo didn’t lose a hurdles race during his last two seasons. He took the 55-meter hurdles at the league indoor meet before winning both the 110- and 300-meter hurdles at the outdoor competition. Madormo was also part of the record-breaking 4-by-400-meter relay team that earned All-New England recognition.

Alexa Marucci (Naugatuck softball): Following Alana Wesche as the starting pitcher for Naugatuck’s softball team wasn’t an easy task, but Alexa Marucci did about as good a job as possible in her three years in the circle. This season, she had a dominant stretch in which she tossed back-to-back no-hitters and allowed a grand total of one hit in a three-game span. She led Naugy to the NVL semifinals and the Class LL second round this spring.

Lauren Piroscafo (Naugatuck soccer, basketball): Whenever the Naugatuck girls basketball team needed a spark, Lauren Piroscafo was there. It was never more evident than during the Greyhounds’ thrilling win over Watertown in the NVL quarterfinals. She hit the game-tying shot with less than 10 seconds remaining before helping win the game in overtime. Piroscafo was among the league’s leading scorers and earned honorable mention All-State honors.

Jake Yourison (Naugatuck football): Few players in the NVL exemplified more toughness over the last few years than Jake Yourison. The running back and linebacker dealt with injuries throughout his career but was most dependable when his team needed him most this season. He comprised most of Naugy’s offense and led the team’s defense. Yourison earned All-NVL honors and helped Naugy to a winning record.

Matt Zaccagnini (Woodland football, track): There was no doubt that Matt Zaccagnini wanted to be the go-to offensive player for the Hawks during his senior year, and he was just that. Zaccagnini ran for nearly 1,500 yards and scored 16 touchdowns as Woodland’s main offensive option. Zaccagnini was an All-Copper running back and also finished as one of the NVL’s top javelin throwers over his last two years.