Staples runner Hannah DeBalsi began the 2013 calendar year as a relative unknown -- a freshman coming off a solid cross country season that included a trip to the New England championships.
By the time 2013 ended, the entire high school running community was familiar with the rising star.
On Saturday, DeBalsi was named the Hal Levy High School female Athlete of the Year by the Connecticut Sports Writers' Alliance. Southington quarterback Stephen Barmore took home male athlete of the year.
DeBalsi won titles in the 2-mile in indoor and cross country at the State Open, while finishing second in the outdoor State Open in 2013.
DeBalsi finished 10th (10:39.28) at the New Balance indoor nationals in the 2-mile last March. She followed that up with a third at outdoor nationals in June in the same event. Her time (10:16.20) was the fastest time ever run by a freshman in the event.
The sophomore finished off 2013 in style, finishing second (17:26) at the Foot Locker cross country nationals in December.
DeBalsi will be honored at the 73rd Gold Key Dinner on Sunday, April 27 at the Aqua Turf Club in Southington at 4 p.m. Tickets are $75 and can be purchased by contacting either CSWA President George Albano of The Hour at (203) 434-2320 or Bob Ehalt of The New Haven Register at Ehalt.Bob@sbcglobal.net