Since we’ve all survived the end of the world, it’s upward and onward to 2013! But before we head there in just a couple of days, we ought to take one last look back at the year that was supposed to be our last. The 2012 local sports year saw a little bit of everything: comebacks, record-breakers, championships, endurance, controversy and history. Now we sum up everything.
Naugy girls basketball rallies after Ruccio’s passing: The untimely passing of Josh Ruccio, husband of Naugatuck girls basketball coach Jodie Ruccio, was a tough blow for the entire program. But the Greyhounds, led by Lauren Piroscafo and Steph Lima, rallied around their coach, winning five of their last seven regular-season games and pulling a thrilling upset over Watertown in the Naugatuck Valley League quarterfinals.
Resurgence of Naugatuck boys basketball, tennis: The last few years hadn’t been too kind to Naugy’s boys basketball and boys tennis squads, but that all changed last season. Mike Wilson led an eight-win improvement in the regular season on the hardwood while head coaching duo of Brian Mariano and Tony Loomis helped the ‘Hounds win the Copper Division with a 14-4 record, losing only to NVL finalists Woodland and Wolcott.
Woodland track’s incredible year: The NVL just couldn’t seem to keep last year’s track championships away from Back Rimmon Road. The boys went undefeated and won both the outdoor and indoor titles, while the girls lost just once during the outdoor season and captured the indoor championship. Both teams were victorious at the league’s championship meets in both January and May. To boot, the boys outdoor 4-by-400-meter relay team of Eric Dietz, Jon Alarcon, Tim Madormo, and Nick LaPerriere set the school record, broke the Class M record, won both the NVL and Class M titles, and earned All-New England honors.
Marucci hurls back-to-back no-hitters: Splendid pitching seemingly has been a staple at Naugatuck for years, and Alexa Marucci helped along that tradition in 2012. The third-year starter enjoyed her best season in Garnet and Grey, leading Naugy to the NVL semifinals and Class LL state tournament second round. Her best span of the season came during a stretch in which she hurled two straight no-hitters and allowed just one combined hit in three games.
Local triathletes triumph in different ways: Naugatuck’s Cassie Maximenko and Prospect’s Tanya Sage both continued to establish themselves on the local triathlon circuit this summer. Maximenko won her third-straight Pat Griskus Olympic-distance triathlon in June at Quassy and finished her season with a 17th-place finish in her 25-to-29 age group at the Half-Ironman Worlds in Nevada. Sage, meanwhile, is victorious every time she competes. Having escaped death twice, the legally blind athlete competed in several triathlons this year, including the Griskus Sprint.
Woodland boys tennis romps through NVL again: It’s been more than two years since the Hawks lost in league play, and that streak might not be ending anytime soon. Led by NVL singles champ Kyle Beynor and doubles champs Jimmy Tompkins and Steve Pec, Woodland went 17-1 during the regular season, losing only to Berkshire League champion Lewis Mills. To boot, Beynor and Tompkins-Pec both reached the Class S third rounds — the best-ever showings for Woodland players. Beynor and Pec will be back in 2013.
Plasky resigns, Naugy football thrown into tumult: Rob Plasky, set to enter his 12th season as head coach of the Naugatuck football team, resigned in the wake of recruiting violations involving players from Sacred Heart. He paid for their attendance at a summer camp and had the Naugatuck High School Football Alumni Association cut a $1,000 check to the mother of David Coggins and Javon Martin. An investigation led to the CIAC fining Naugatuck High $7,500 and putting the football program on a two-year probation. Interim coach Shawn Kuczenski led the Greyhounds to a 6-4 record this year, and Naugatuck is expected to hire a new full-time coach within the next month.
Woodland girls soccer runs through NVL regular season: The Hawks simply had no peers during the regular season. They dominated opponents en route to a 14-0 regular-season mark against league foes and captured their first-ever Brass Division title. In the process, Woodland posted a 900-minute shutout streak against NVL opponents and the Hawks allowed just two goals to those teams during the regular year. They fell to Watertown in the league final but matched a school record with a trip to the Class M quarterfinals.
Hawks volleyball reaches first-ever state final: Over the last few years, the Woodland spikers were cursed in the early rounds of state tournament play. A virtual wall stood in the quarterfinals, a round in which the Hawks could never win. That changed in a big way this fall as the No. 1 seed knocked off Plainfield in a quarterfinal thriller before sweeping Tolland in the semifinals with perhaps the best single-match effort in school history. Woodland lost to Ledyard in the Hawks’ first appearance in a state final — and the school’s first trip to any state final since 2005.
Kingsley, Scirpo blast football records: Woodland featured one of the statistically best passing offenses in state history this fall, and the Hawks now have records to prove it. Junior quarterback Tanner Kingsley set a state record with 51 touchdown passes and a league record with more than 3,200 passing yards, while senior wide receiver Anthony Scirpo set a state mark with 25 touchdown catches. Their most memorable game of the year came on Thanksgiving eve, when Kingsley set a state record with 615 passing yards and tied his own league record with eight touchdown tosses against Seymour. Scirpo’s 283 receiving yards in that game are second-most in league history and his four touchdown catches (also achieved by Rahmi Rountree in the same game) are also second-best.