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Doug Delivers: What to watch for this spring

Updated 3:41 pm, Tuesday, April 2, 2013

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  • Staples' Sam Ellinwood tags a Fairfield Warde runner out at second base during a preseason scrimmage Tuesday, Mar. 27, 2012 at Fairfield Warde. Photo: Autumn Driscoll / Connecticut Post

    Staples' Sam Ellinwood tags a Fairfield Warde runner out at second base during a preseason scrimmage Tuesday, Mar. 27, 2012 at Fairfield Warde.

    Photo: Autumn Driscoll

 

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WHAT TEAM WILL RISE TO THE TOP?

Although many came close, only one team from Staples High last spring won a championship. The Wreckers' boys outdoor track team set itself apart, winning FCIAC and Class LL state titles.

The outdoor track team, which also finished a close second at the State Open, was nearly joined at the top by others. The Wreckers' boys tennis team, as well as the boys and girls golf teams, all finished second place in the conference, behind Greenwich.

As always, optimism reigns early this spring with teams preparing for what they expect to be strong campaigns. Below are a few candidates to take a top prize this spring.

Boys outdoor track: Why not? After nearly sweeping the postseason races a year ago, Staples returns with talent intact. Perhaps most importantly, the Wreckers bring back distance star Henry Wynne. Longtime coach Laddie Lawrence ranks the senior as possibly the school's best-ever runner.

The Wreckers already distinguished themselves during the indoor campaign, winning FCIAC and LL state titles, before placing third at the Open.

Baseball: The Wreckers have championship pedigree, having won the FCIAC in 2008, 2009 and 2011. Although the roster has changed, the Wreckers are covered at a few crucial positions.

Seniors Chris Speer, a left-hander, and Greg Salamone, give the team two potent arms at the front of the rotation. The lineup has some pop with first baseman Bryan Terzian (all-FCIAC in 2012), third baseman Eli Andrews, shortstop Sam Ellinwood, center fielder James Frusciante, and others included.

Girls golf: In 2012, the Wreckers finished second to Greenwich in both the regular season and FCIAC playoffs. The roster could be even stronger this year with the additions of freshman Anelise Brown and junior Faith Garcia, a transfer from Trinity Catholic. Garcia, who played on the boys team at Trinity, has won the Borck Junior Tournament the last two years.

WHAT ATHLETES WILL STAR?

Each season, athletes set themselves as special talents in their sport. Below are five athletes to watch this spring.

Jake Hirschberg, boys tennis: Senior will play No. 1 singles for the Wreckers, a runner-up at both FCIACs and LL states last season. Hirschberg went 9-3 and reached the state quarterfinals in 2012.

Melissa Beretta, girls tennis: Junior went 12-4 at No. 1 singles last year and will fill that same spot this spring. She's anchoring a team that lost in quarterfinals of both FCIAC and LL state tournaments.

Wynne: What else is there for the star runner to accomplish? Wynne was dominant in the indoor campaign, setting school records in the 1,000, 1,500 and mile.

Garcia: Longtime Staples coach Bob Byiteck called the junior, "probably the strongest golfer I've ever had in the program." Garcia became the first repeat winner since 2008 at the Borck Junior Tournament in August, defeating her now-teammate, Mary Bennewitz, 2 and 1.

Hannah DeBalsi, outdoor track: Set school records in the 1,000, 1,600, 3,000 and 3,200 during the indoor track season. Only a freshman, DeBalsi has barely scratched the surface of her potential.

TOP STORYLINES

Can boys volleyball make this year a complete one?: In 2012, Staples went 18-0 before losing in the semifinals of both the FCIAC and LL state tournaments. With some key talent from that team returning, the Wreckers are determined to cap a strong season with some postseason hardware.

Can boys lacrosse contend for an FCIAC title?: Four different programs have won the conference the last five years. Darien has two titles in that time (2008, 2011), while Ridgefield (2009), Greenwich (2010), and New Canaan (2012) have also won of late. The Wreckers are still searching for their first FCIAC title. They return an electric talent at midfield, senior Joey Zelkowitz, and much of their defense.

dbonjour@scni.com; 203-255-4561 ext. 114; twitter.com/DougBonjour

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