The state tournaments are down to the final four, and the favorites are hard to find. Only one of the four No. 1 seeds has made it to the semifinals, as upsets have been prevalent through the first three rounds.

Greenwich earned the top seed in the Class LL bracket and entered the tourney ranked No. 1 in the POWERADE state rankings, but the Cardinals were bounced in the quarterfinals by upstart East Hartford.

The Nos. 2 and 3 seeds in Class LL were also upset, with Pomperaug and Bristol Central falling to lower-ranked teams. Cheney Tech, the No. 1 seed in Class L, lost in the first round, and No. 1 seed Montville fell in the Class M quarters, leaving Northwest Catholic as the only top seed (Class S) to reach the semifinals.

POWERADE State Baseball Rankings
  1. Shelton (20-4) — Last week: No. 5
  2. East Hartford (18-5) — Last week: NR
  3. Northwest Catholic (18-2) — Last week: No. 7
Click for complete POWERADE state rankings.

Follow Mike Grimala on Twitter (@MGrimalaESPN).
With conference tournaments settled last week, it's time to focus on the state tourneys. Greenwich is No. 1 in the rankings, but after losing in the FCIAC championship game, the Cardinals are no lock in Class LL. No. 2 Pomperaug, No. 3 Bristol Central, No. 4 Amity and No. 5 Shelton are all contenders, though Greenwich wouldn't have to face any of those teams until the semifinals.

No. 7 Northwest Catholic is the top seed in Class S, and No. 9 Montville is the top seed in Class M. The state tournaments begin Tuesday, but top seeds have a first-round bye and begin play on Wednesday.

POWERADE State Baseball Rankings
  1. Greenwich (22-1) — Last week: No. 1
  2. Pomperaug (21-2) — Last week: No. 2
  3. Bristol Central (18-2) — Last week: No. 3
Click for complete POWERADE state rankings.

Follow Mike Grimala on Twitter (@MGrimalaESPN).
For the third week in a row, Greenwich sits atop the POWERADE state rankings. Sporting a perfect 20-0 record, the Cardinals are the odds-on favorites as we start to move into conference tournaments and ultimately the state tourney.

Pomperaug is holding strong at No. 2, as the Panthers are currently in the midst of a 19-game winning streak that began on the second day of the season. Bristol Central has been one of the steady climbers the past few weeks, and the Rams are locked into the No. 3 spot for the second week in a row.

POWERADE State Baseball Rankings
  1. Greenwich (20-0) — Last week: No. 1
  2. Pomperaug (19-1) — Last week: No. 2
  3. Bristol Central (17-2) — Last week: No. 3
Click for complete POWERADE state rankings.
Greenwich continues chugging along as the No. 1 team in the POWERADE state rankings. The Cardinals are the last undefeated team in the state, and they are clicking on all cylinders right now.

Senior Casey Gaynor is making a push for Gatorade State Player of the Year honors, doubling as the team's top hitter and pitcher. Gaynor is batting .371 with a team-high 22 RBIs, and on the mound he's 5-0 with a 1.40 ERA. Though he didn't earn a decision in either of his last two starts, he did lead Greenwich to huge wins over New Canaan and St. Joseph by tossing 11 combined innings and allowing just three runs.

POWERADE State Baseball Rankings
  1. Greenwich (17-0) — Last week: No. 1
  2. Pomperaug (15-1) — Last week: No. 2
  3. Bristol Central (13-2) — Last week: No. 5
Click for complete POWERADE state rankings.

Follow Mike Grimala on Twitter (@MGrimalaESPN).
Notre Dame-West Haven suffered its first loss last week, but retained the top spot in the POWERADE state rankings. The Green Knights weren't so lucky this time around, as their second loss of the season sent them tumbling to No. 3.

Greenwich moves into the No. 1 position in this week's edition of the rankings. The Cardinals are the last remaining undefeated team, but there are a pair of tough tests on the schedule this week: at No. 9 Staples on Friday and vs. No. 8 St. Joseph-Trumbull on Monday.

POWERADE State Baseball Rankings
  1. Greenwich (14-0) — Last week: No. 2
  2. Pomperaug (13-1) — Last week: No. 4
  3. Notre Dame-West Haven (13-2) — Last week: No. 1
Click for complete POWERADE state rankings.

Follow Mike Grimala on Twitter (@ESPNHSGrimala).
When the No. 1 team suffers a loss, it usually means there's a shake-up in the next week's POWERADE state rankings. But that's not the case this time, even though top-ranked Notre Dame-West Haven lost its first game of the season.

Notre Dame remains at No. 1 because there is no shame in losing to Law, 1-0, in 11 innings. That's just a well-played game tough loss. And the Green Knights bounced right back by beating No. 3 Amity, so no harm done. Notre Dame stays at No. 1 this week.

POWERADE State Baseball Rankings
  1. Notre Dame-West Haven (11-1) — Last week: No. 1
  2. Greenwich (12-0) — Last week: No. 4
  3. Amity (9-2) — Last week: No. 3
Click for complete POWERADE state rankings.
Notre Dame-West Haven remains No. 1 in this week's edition of the POWERADE state rankings after going 3-0 and flashing a dominant pitching staff to go along with an explosive offense. The Green Knights won its three games last week by a combined score of 16-4.

McMahon makes one of the biggest jumps this week, climbing from No. 6 to No. 3 after beating No. 10 New Canaan. East Hampton (5-0) and Bristol Central (4-0) enter the rankings for the first time, checking in at Nos. 5 and 6, respectively.

POWERADE State Baseball Rankings
  1. Notre Dame-West Haven (7-0) — Last week: No. 1
  2. St. Joseph (4-1) — Last week: No. 2
  3. McMahon (6-1) — Last week: No. 6
Click for complete POWERADE state rankings.

Follow Mike Grimala on Twitter (@ESPNHSGrimala).
It's still very early in the spring season, with most Connecticut teams having played just two or three games at this point, so there was a concentrated effort not to shake up the POWERADE state rankings too much this week.

Because of the small sample size, most of the teams that opened the season in the top 10 received the benefit of the doubt, despite some early-season stumbles. Glastonbury and Masuk have started out 0-2, but both remain in the rankings at Nos. 8 and 9, respectively. Let's see if they can turn things around as the weather warms up.

At the top, Notre Dame-West Haven holds on to its spot after an impressive win over No. 4 Amity. St. Joseph jumps from No. 5 to No. 2 by beating quality squads in Darien and No. 5 New Canaan.

POWERADE State Baseball Rankings
  1. Notre Dame-West Haven (2-0) — Last week: No. 1
  2. St. Joseph (2-0) — Last week: No. 5
  3. Montville (3-0) — Last week: No. 7
Click for complete POWERADE state rankings.

Follow Mike Grimala on Twitter (@ESPNHSGrimala).

Brunswick lacrosse has star power

April, 6, 2012
4/06/12
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This story originally appeared in the April issue of ESPNHS Magazine.

Brunswick is stocked with more talent than just about any team in New England, as the Bruins pencil in eight starters who have signed with Division I colleges — and that’s just the senior class.

“It’s a really talented group,” says Brunswick coach David Bruce. “We’ve got a lot of talented athletes, guys who can do a lot of different things. The depth is great.”

That depth has already paid off, though not in the way Bruce would have hoped. Senior captain John Kelly was expected to carry much of the offensive load this season, but the Georgetown recruit injured his knee over the winter and will miss the season. But Brunswick has filled the gap with players like senior midfielders Eddie DeDomenico and Billy Heidt, all-around talents who have brought scoring punch in Kelly’s absence.

Heidt is rated No. 96 in the ESPNHS 100, and he’s signed to play at Dartmouth next year. DeDomenico will play at Lehigh.

“They’re both two-way midfielders,” says Bruce, “and they’ve got tremendous athletic ability. They’re both very dangerous in transition, and that’s a big part of the way we play."

The key to Brunswick’s transition game is senior midfielder Curt Townshend, a Tufts recruit who specializes in starting fast breaks. Townshend is a solid defensive player who can ignite an up-tempo attack with his passing or by carrying the ball himself.

“We’re at our best when Curt is pushing the ball in transition,” says Bruce. “He’s a threat at all times.”

Because the Bruins like to run and gun so much, it puts a lot of pressure on the back end. It’s up to senior defensemen John Baker (Colgate) and Kip Warner (Penn) to cover most of the ground in front of the net. Sophomore goalie Tommy Heidt is a first-year starter, but he’s already drawing interest from D-I schools.

Follow Mike Grimala on Twitter (@ESPNHSGrimala).

POWERADE hoops rankings: Final

March, 20, 2012
3/20/12
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St. Joseph opened the season ranked No. 1 in the POWERADE state rankings, and that's exactly where the Cadets finish. Senior Timajh Parker turned in an exceptional season, and he came up big in the Class LL state championship game, leading St. Joseph past Hillhouse, 62-54.

The Cadets lost just one game on the season, a blip at hands of Bridgeport Central in late February, but other than that they were consistently the best team in the state. St. Joseph beat quality teams like New London (twice), Trinity Catholic and Ridgefield (twice) before taking out Hillhouse in the championship game.

Career finishes the season ranked No. 2 after defeating Northwest Catholic to win the Class L title. Both of the Panthers losses this season came to No. 3 Hillhouse (both by a single point), but Career avenged those setbacks by winning the third meeting, 60-55 on Feb. 28.

Looking forward to 2012-13, the early favorites for the top spot would have to be Hillhouse and Northwest Catholic. Both teams came just short of winning state titles this season, and they have major talent coming back next year.

POWERADE State Basketball Rankings
  1. St. Joseph (25-1) — Last week: No. 2
  2. Career (26-2) — Last week: No. 3
  3. Hillhouse (26-2) — Last week: No. 4
Click for complete POWERADE state rankings.

Follow Mike Grimala on Twitter (@ESPNHSGrimala).

POWERADE hoops rankings: Week 14

March, 13, 2012
3/13/12
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The state tournament is down to the final stages, with semifinal matchups set for this week and championship games set for this weekend. New London remains at No. 1 in the POWERADE state rankings after holding off former No. 2 Windsor in double overtime, but that may not have been the Whalers' biggest postseason hurdle. Up next in the Class LL semifinals is St. Joseph, the new No. 2 team. St. Joseph was victorious when the teams met on Dec. 28.

POWERADE State Basketball Rankings
  1. New London (23-2) — Last week: No. 1
  2. St. Joseph (23-1) — Last week: No. 3
  3. Career (23-1) — Last week: No. 4
Click for complete POWERADE state rankings.

For the POWERADE FAB 50, click here.

Follow Mike Grimala on Twitter (@ESPNHSGrimala).

POWERADE hoops rankings: Week 13

March, 6, 2012
3/06/12
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The regular season has come to an end, and it's tournament time in Connecticut. Several of the state's top teams stumbled to the finish line, however, as Hillhouse, Hartford Public, Capital Prep and Northwest Catholic all lost games in the final week.

The state tournament offers a chance for redemption, as all of those teams are title contenders. Northwest Catholic, led by junior forward Kuran Iverson, is the No. 1 seed in the Class L tourney. Hillhouse, led by senior guard Andre Anderson, is the No. 2 seed in Class LL.

New London, which opened the season at No. 1 in the POWERADE state rankings, returns to the top spot this week. The Whalers are the No. 5 seed in Class LL, and senior guard Kris Dunn is determined to defend the state championship they won last season.

POWERADE State Basketball Rankings
  1. New London (20-2) — Last week: No. 2
  2. Windsor (22-1) — Last week: No. 4
  3. St. Joseph (20-1) — Last week: No. 3
Click for complete POWERADE state rankings.
Precious HolmesJack PriorPrecious Holmes CT rolls to an impressive US#2 600 win, part of a great New Englands triple.


Coverage of the 2012 New England Indoor Championships
Friday, March 2, 2012 -- Reggie Lewis Center, Boston MA

LINKS: Full Results | DyeStat Elites | Meet Site


HIGHLIGHTS

  • G-300/600/4x400: Scorching triple for Hillhouse CT sr Precious Holmes, with US#3 38.22 (#12 all-time), US#2 1:30.79 (#11 all-time), and anchoring winning 4x400 effort (3:56.84).
  • G-4x800/Mile: The LaSalle RI girls roar into the US#3 spot with a 9:07.28, as six run 9:31 or better. Then anchor Molly Keating comes back with a 4:54.57 victory.
  • B-4x800/2-Mile: Already US#5 at 7:50.25, Chariho RI and star Mike Marsella flex their muscles with a 7:51.22 triumph, winning by five seconds over Acton-Boxborough MA’s 7:56.78. Then Marsella bounces back to a 9:16.76 victory.
  • G-1k: Classical RI soph Madeleine Berkson didn’t quite make the fast heat; though she’d run 2:12 for 800, she didn’t have a sub-3:00 1k to her credit. But in the 2nd of 3 sections, she blazes a US#7 2:50.11, thought to be the 3rd best ever by a soph nationally. The fast heat sees NW Catholic CT jr Sarah Gillespie lead 3 at 2:55 or better with US#8 2:51.31, but has to settle for 2nd overall.
  • G-55H: Brockton MA sr Vanessa Clerveaux took the title and snips another .01 off her PR with a US#5 7.97.
  • G-HJ: US#2 leaper Dakota Dailey-Harris (5-10), the LaSalle RI sr, nets the 5-9 victory.
  • B-600: Somerville MA sr Andre Rolim, already US#4 1:19.94, settles for 1:20.80 to beat SMSA CT sr Aaeron Sykes (US#10 1:21.00) and Greenwich CT sr Marcus Motill (#11 1:21.08).
  • B-1k: Staples CT jr Henry Wynne prevails in US#8 2:28.30, as 9 run 2:32 or faster.
  • B-HJ: Somerset MA soph Adam Couitt impresses with 6-9 victory.
  • B-SP: Newton North MA sr Swardick Mayanja upholds the favorite’s role with 59-3.5 triumph.
  • B-4x200: Chelmsford MA gets their 2nd sub-1:30 with a winning 1:29.83.
  • G-4x200: US#5 Hope RI wins easily with a 1:41.88, just over a second off their best.
  • G-55: South Burlington VT sr Mollie Gribbin starts double attempt with 7.11 victory, but is 2nd by just over an inch in the LJ.
Few teams have been as consistent as Amity baseball in recent years. If the Spartans weren't winning the state championship, they were certainly in the running. Last season, they came up just short, losing an extra-inning game to Newington in the Class LL state semifinals. But with most of the key players returning this season, Amity coach Sal Coppola is confident that the team will be a contender again this spring.

"I expect we're going to be a team that can last deep into the tournament," Coppola says. "I'd put us in that group near the top, in terms of potential."

Senior shortstop Vinny Siena has more potential than just about any player in the state. Last year he hit .380, slugged well over .500 and cracked seven home runs while playing stellar defense at shortstop. An ESPNHS All-State first team selection, Siena will be the centerpiece of Amity's championship drive this season.

"Vinny is the best defensive player in the state, in my opinion," says Coppola. "He's been clocked at 88 throwing across the diamond, so he's got an incredibly strong arm. He led our team in just about every offensive category last year, and he's gotten bigger this year because of his hard work in the weight room."

The though of Siena with added power is not a pleasant one for opposing pitchers, but he's not the only talent on the Amity squad. The pitching staff will be led by a pair of junior right-handers, Sam Nepiarsky and Mike Concato, and both have the raw stuff to dominate. Nepiarsky has already committed to UConn (as has Siena), and his fastball/slider combo should make him one of the state's best pitchers this season. Concato is also being recruited by Division I schools after a solid sophomore season.

Add it all up, and it looks like Amity baseball is right where you'd expect it — in the hunt.
ESPNHS has announced its preseason All-State baseball teams, so feel free to start debating the Connecticut selections.

It's hard to argue with elite players like Amity senior SS Vinny Siena and McMahon RHP Bryan Daniello, both of whom made the first team, but take a look for yourself and let us know if we missed anyone.

Click here for the Connecticut All-State baseball team.

Click here for any of the other 49 states.

Follow Mike Grimala on Twitter (@ESPNHSGrimala).

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