MERIDEN — We like to bring things full circle at the “Best of the Bunch,” and with the Overall Male Athlete of the Year finalists we do just that.
This series launched 3½ weeks ago with finalists for Football Player of the Year. Three of the guys in that initial group return here for Overall Athlete of the Year.
You might be trying to size up the field, trying to suss out the winners. You might be looking for a hint, such as, “Did one guy win more than one award?”
Our lips our sealed. You’ll just have to tune in Thursday at 6:30 p.m.
And now that you have the Go-Go’s playing in your head, we roll out the area’s most impressive athletic resumes among the boys for the 2019-20 school year.
All four finalists for Male Athlete of the Year are seniors. All four starred in multiple sports. All four are going on to play a sport in college.
Truth be told, they could probably play two. One will. That’s Jordan Davis of Sheehan.
All-American in the javelin and the MVP of Sheehan’s 2019 Class S state championship football team, Davis will compete in both sports at Southern Connecticut State University.
Davis’ Sheehan teammate, Terrence Bogan, is going to Trinity College to play football. Don’t forget, though: Connecticut’s two-time state rushing champ was also New England champ in the 100 meters last spring.
Southington’s Billy Carr is heading to Springfield College to play football. Don’t forget, though: the All-State linebacker was Connecticut’s State Open and Class LL wrestling champion at 182 pounds this winter.
The equation is the reverse for Maloney’s Kody Talento. He’s going to Plymouth State in New Hampshire to wrestle, but he was Maloney’s leading tackler for two years running.
We’ll confess right here, Talento is one of our favorite athletes and we’re going to miss him. He competes with fire and he competes with joy and he’s awfully friendly.
Talento is one of those “pound-for-pound” guys. How many linebackers do you know who don’t have to cut weight to wrestle at 160?
Despite being undersized for an inside linebacker, especially for a Class L school like Maloney, Talento led the Spartans with 124 tackles as a junior and 118 as a senior.
In wrestling, Talento went 108-37 over the span of a four-year career. To cap a 38-6 senior season, Talento won the 160-pound crown at the CCC Small School Tournament and placed third in Class L.
He was an automatic All-Record-Journal pick in football and wrestling.
So was Billy Carr. The Southington senior followed up his All-State football season at linebacker, in which he led the Blue Knights with 121 tackles, with his state championship season in wrestling.
The State Open final was a show-stopper. Trailing 3-2, Carr knocked off previously unbeaten Simon Flaherty of Amity 4-3 with a takedown scored with seven seconds left. Then Carr had to keep Flaherty from escaping in those final seven seconds.
Once the clock ran out, Southington had its fifth State Open wrestling champion.
Carr finished his final season at 44-5, which gave him a career mark of 107-29. He was a two-time Class LL champion and a two-time National High School Coaches Association Academic All-American.
Carr also played baseball. He had two of the walk-off hits in Southington’s run to last year’s Class LL state final.
Bottom line: You’re hard-pressed to find a more quintessential high school athlete than Billy Carr.
As for Terrence Bogan and Jordan Davis down at Sheehan, they were virtually unbeatable, either solo or in tandem. Davis, in fact, was unbeaten in javelin last spring, which just happened to be his first season throwing in that event.
Davis set a school record of 208 feet, 1 inch at the SCC Championships, then went on to win Class M and the State Open. After placing second in New England, Davis finished third at the New Balance Outdoor Nationals. That made him Sheehan’s first-ever All-American in track.
Bogan, coming off the Class M sprint championship as a sophomore, repeated in the 100 meters as a junior and pushed the envelope by taking gold at the New England Championships.
What might Bogan and Davis have been able to do in track this spring? We’ll never know thanks to the pandemic. We do know, however, where we would have placed our figurative bets.
After all, we’d just seen what the duo had done in leading Sheehan to its first state football championship in 35 years. Bogan defended his state rushing title with 2,205 yards and 29 touchdowns. Davis was a multiple threat with 944 receiving yards, 827 rushing yards and 34 touchdowns, including four in the state final.
Both players were among the Top 26 vote-getters in the Connecticut High School Coaches Association’s All-State polling. Both were named All-Connecticut First Team by the Walter Camp Foundation.
Bogan, a two-time SCC Tier Player of the Year, goes out as Sheehan’s leading rusher of all-time with 5,721 yards.
Now graduated, Bogan and Davis have hung up the Sheehan burgundy and gold for the last time. Their achievements, though, will long endure on Hope Hill Road.
The Record-Journal “Best of the Bunch” awards video airs this Thursday, June 18 on Facebook at 6:30 p.m. and will be on myrecordjournal.com after that. The R-J is giving away an iPad Mini to one person who watches the event live on Facebook. Enter at myrecordjournal.com/ipad.