Barlow's Morton, Ridgefield's White among top five of decade

We're finally here.

After three days of counting down athletes 25-6, The News-Times is ready to unveil its top five area high school athletes of the past decade.

Here they are:

5. Shelby Walton, Danbury (2008)

Walton, the area's best runner in the past decade, is the highest ranked of six Hatters who made the top 25 list.

She broke nearly every sprinting record -- the 50, 55, 60 and 100-meter dashes -- in Danbury High history and claimed four separate New England titles during her junior and senior seasons.

Walton holds the Class LL state record in the 55-meter dash (7.09 seconds), which ties her for the State Open record with former Hillhouse runner Shantea Calhoun.

Now a sprinter at Boston University, Walton -- also a two-time All-State soccer player at Danbury -- was named America East Rookie of the Year for her efforts in the 2009 indoor season.

Walton won the conference title in the 55-meter dash (7.17 seconds) and placed third in the 200 as a freshman.

4. Doug Riepe, Immaculate (2000)

With the exception of Newtown's Marcus Tracy, the No. 1 Athlete of the Decade, Riepe is the only other player to be named All-State in three unrelated sports.

The 6-foot-3, 210-pound Riepe starred in basketball, baseball and football for the Mustangs, and its difficult to say which sport he was best at.

A three-year starter for coach Bob Nelson on the hardcourt, Riepe -- a two-time all-state forward -- is still Immaculate's all-time leading scorer.

Riepe was also named all-state twice in football for his play at linebacker and tight end.

He went on to have a stellar collegiate baseball career as a versatile utility player at Wake Forest, registering 32 hits and 14 RBIs while batting .299 as a senior for the Demon Deacons.

3. Matt White, Ridgefield (2009)

The No. 4 overall lacrosse recruit in the nation (according to Inside Lacrosse), White signed with Virginia after a two-time All-American career at Ridgefield High.

White, who was also named All-State three times as an attackman on the lacrosse field, was arguably the best quarterback in Ridgefield's history as well.

He was a three-time All-FIAC football selection and is the school record-holder in career passing yards and touchdowns.

2. Charlie Morton, Joel Barlow (2002)

Morton's near .500 record at Barlow doesn't indicate just how dominant the 6-foot-5 right-handed pitcher was throughout the early portion of the decade.

He gave up less than two runs per game and was the victim of not only poor run support, but high school umpiring.

"His curveball had such unbelievable break and depth to it that umps just couldn't recognize it as a strike," said Barlow head baseball coach Mike Siksay, who was an assistant when Morton played.

Nonetheless, Morton had a ton of raw ability and MLB scouts often flooded the bleachers at Barlow High to watch him play.

Following his senior year, Morton was selected in the third round (95th overall) of the 2002 MLB Draft. He has since worked his way into the Majors and is expected to be part of the Pittsburgh Pirates regular rotation next season.

1. See Player Spotlight: Marcus Tracy, Newtown (2005)

Contact Kevin Duffy at

or at 203-731-3379.