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R-J ATHLETES OF THE WEEK: Busting through the line & busting down the trail

R-J ATHLETES OF THE WEEK: Busting through the line & busting down the trail

MERIDEN — We’re on the run this week as Record-Journal Athletes of the Week hits the halfway pole of the fall season.

All three of our male nominees, whether they were busting it through the line or just busting it down a trail, were fleet of foot here in Week 5.

So was one of our female nominees. The other two were either making waves or scoring goals.

Read on for details, then log onto to cast your vote. Polls are open now through Sunday at midnight.



*Michael Barberino, Sheehan cross country

Heading into this year’s Wallingford cross country meet, Sheehan coach Frank Mohr remarked that Michael Barberino would be a runner to watch. Good call. After coming on strong as a junior at the end of 2018, Barberino has blossomed as a senior in 2019, and on Oct. 4 he won his first varsity race to lead the Titans to victory over rival Lyman Hall. Barberino blazed a 16:54 over the 3.1-mile course at Wharton Brook, edging teammate Ethan Venoit by 2 seconds.


*Dillon Kohl, Southington football

Watch Dillon Kohl run and it becomes quickly apparent: He’s got speed, he’s got vision and he’s got balance. For a second straight week, the Southington senior running back put all three into play and rushed for more than 200 yards. Following up on a 219-yard game at Hall, Kohl collected 247 yards and three touchdowns in last Friday’s 44-6 home win over Manchester, including a 76-yard breakaway. Kohl now has 768 yards and 10 TDs for the 4-1 Blue Knights.


*Roberto Salas, Platt football

Platt running back Roberto Salas is fast closing in on his second straight 1,000-yard season. After his 264-yard performance Saturday in Newington, the junior now has 938 yards at the midpoint of the year. The 264 yards were his single-game high for the season, though Salas did put up 216 at Wethersfield and 203 at Notre Dame-West Haven. Those were losses. With Salas scoring 3 TDs in Newington, the Panthers, now 3-2, posted a critical 35-33 victory.



*Grace Keaveney, Cheshire field hockey

Grace Keaveney carved her name into the Cheshire field hockey scoring archives last week. And once she did, the senior got busy. Keaveney notched her first varsity goal in Friday’s 8-0 win at North Haven. She also set up two other goals. Then, on Saturday, Keaveney had Cheshire’s lone goal in a 2-1 loss at Norwalk. All told, Keaveney has two goals and three assists for the Rams, who topped Lyman Hall 7-0 on Monday afternoon to improve to 7-5. (P.S. Keaveney added two goals in Cheshire’s 6-1 on Tuesday over Sheehan.)


*Morgan Kicklighter, Maloney cross country

Junior Morgan Kicklighter is losing none of her kick for the Maloney cross country team. Last Friday, for the third straight year, Kicklighter won the girls race at the Meriden City Championships. She covered the 3.1-mile course at Hubbard Park in 22:28, one second faster than her winning time a year ago. Runner-up this year was Kicklighter’s Maloney teammate Savannah Vasquez (22:56) as the Spartans swept Platt and Wilcox Tech to take the team title.


*Elise Richardson, Lyman Hall swimming

The Lyman Hall swim team has a nice pipeline of talent flowing. Every year, it seems, a stellar freshman joins a troupe of proven upper classmen. A year ago, it was Caroline Krawec. This year, it’s Elise Richardson, who has won 10 individual events and been part of 11 first-place relays. Primarily a sprinter, Richardson has taken three 50-yard freestyles and four 100s. She has also stretched out, winning races in the 100 butterfly, 200 IM and 500 free.