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Wednesday, April 6, 2011
New England Roundup: Connecticut

By Roger Brown

Although the school has not extended a verbal scholarship offer, it appears that the University of Connecticut may be a likely landing spot for Masuk quarterback Casey Cochran.

ConnecticutCochran, a 6-foot, 210-pound junior, took his second unofficial visit to Connecticut on Saturday, when he attended spring practice. He also attended a junior day in February.

"I wanted to get a look at the new offense," Cochran said. "It was up-tempo, and a lot of pro-style, which fits me.

"I don't think I'll get an offer until they see me in person at one of their summer camps. It would be an honor to play for my home state."

Cochran, the state’s Gatorade Player of the Year last season, has an offer from Boston College and said he will attend BC practice this weekend. He made an unofficial visit to Vanderbilt in March, and is scheduled to visit Rutgers, Harvard, Virginia, Duke, Penn State and Notre Dame this month.

Cochran is on pace to graduate in January. He led Masuk to a 13-0 record and the Class L state championship last season, when he completed 200 of 295 pass attempts for 3,345 yards and 40 touchdowns. He led New London to the Class SS championship during his freshman season, and then transferred to Masuk.

Cochran said Vanderbilt, Connecticut, Rutgers and Boston College are the schools he hears from most frequently.

"Hopefully I'll get more offers in the spring,” Cochran said. “I'm in no rush, but I'd like to have it done before my senior season to get the distractions out of the way. If it takes longer, it takes longer."

MAHONEY HEADED TO BROWN
Bacon Academy guard Katie Mahoney, the state’s Gatorade Player of the Year in girls basketball, has committed to play for Brown University next season.

Mahoney helped Bacon Academy post a 25-1 record last season. The Bobcats won the ECC tournament title, but lost to eventual champion Hillhouse in the Class L semifinals.

Mahoney averaged 22 points, five rebounds, three assists and three steals per game during her senior season. She broke the school’s scoring record on March 3. Jacquelyn Gaudette established the previous record of 1,716 points.

MAT MAN
Shelton’s Pat Gillen set the state record for career victories in wrestling when he pinned Florida’s Brandon Lustgarten in his first match at the National High School Coaches’ Association Senior Nationals in Virginia Beach, Va., on April. 1.

The victory moved Gillen past Ledyard’s T.J. Hepburn, who won 200 matches during his high school career.

Gillen advanced to the final match in the 215-pound weight class, where he lost to New York’s Nick Gwiadowski. He became the third wrestler from Connecticut to compete for a national title.

Gillen, who will wrestle at the University of Virginia, completed his high school career with a 204-15 record. He was 53-1 during his senior season, when he won the SCC, Class LL and State Open titles. He is a two-time New England champion.

POMPERAUG, WATERFORD HAVE POLL POSITION
The following are the state’s top 10 baseball and softball teams, as determined by a preseason media poll conducted by the New Haven Register:

Baseball
  1. Pomperaug
  2. Cheshire
  3. Newington
  4. Southington
  5. Montville
  6. Norwalk
  7. Amity (tie)
  8. West Haven (tie)
  9. Xavier
  10. Waterford
Softball
  1. Waterford
  2. St. Joseph
  3. Southington
  4. Lauralton Hall
  5. Lyman Hall
  6. Newtown
  7. Rocky Hill
  8. Westhill
  9. Trumbull
  10. Griswold
SOUTHINGTON’S HERNANDEZ RESIGNS
Southington football coach D.J. Hernandez resigned in late March to become the quarterbacks coach at Brown.

Hernandez, who was a quarterback at the University of Connecticut, guided Southington to an 8-2 record in his only season as head coach.

Hernandez was the subject of controversy after a 28-14 victory over Manchester on Oct. 22. Following the game Manchester coach Marco Pizzoferrato accused Hernandez of using a Manchester player’s wrist band during the game.

Hernandez received a one-game suspension for his conduct during that game.

CARD PLAYERS
The Greenwich boys lacrosse team, which won its first FCIAC championship since 2007 last spring, will test itself against four out-of-state opponents this season.

The Cardinals will play road games against Lakeland/Panas (N.Y.) on April 28, Ward Melville (N.Y.) on April 30, Billerica (Mass.) on May 7 and Rye (N.Y.) on May 14.

Roger Brown has covered high school sports in New England since 1992. He currently covers high school and college football in the Northeast for ESPN/Scouts Inc.