BEST OF THE BUNCH: And now, finally, it’s show time

BEST OF THE BUNCH: And now, finally, it’s show time

reporter photo

MERIDEN — And here we are. The big day.

Roll out the virtual red carpet. Gather in the virtual green room. Just be, for real, on the Record-Journal’s Facebook page tonight at 6:30 p.m.

That’s when our “Best of the Bunch” awards video makes its debut. It is our tribute for the abbreviated 2019-20 scholastic sports year, the alternative to the fifth annual awards brunch we could not stage.

In its place, our man Aaron Flaum put together a real good show. I’ve seen it. Even the credits are cool.

The video clocks in at 50 minutes, but zips along at a real crisp pace, just like Terrence Bogan in the open field or Oliva Dubuc in the 600 meters.

Those two Sheehan athletes are among the finalists we have in 24 awards categories. I just counted them up. A winner for each hour of the day.

Which means this is Day 25 since we launched the “Best of the Bunch” series. Mama! It has been a whirlwind. 

After filming and writing a daily story for the past 25 days, let me tell you what I’m going to do this afternoon before airtime. I’m riding my bike for 40 miles. Do not call. Do not text. Do not email. If I hear that phone go off in the saddlebag, I’m not going to stop.

In fact, I’m turning it off right now.

After the show, fine. Call, text, email. You may have questions. You may want to second-guess.

I think, mostly, you will see the fairness and logic of our selections.

Some were slam dunks. Some were very difficult to make.

In the end, the pieces came together to form a satisfying picture of the 2019-20 scholastic year. The student-athletes who were truly the “Best of the Bunch” have been recognized.

That includes anyone who was a finalist. Don’t take that designation lightly. All finalists should consider themselves among the area’s elite, especially those nominated in multiple catagories.

Our major regret, of course, was the complete loss of the spring season. Many a fine senior lost what should have been the final chapter of their scholastic careers, and not just on the playing field. Speaking for Aaron and myself, the thought of those seniors kept us plugging along these past 3½ weeks.

Here’s a review of all the finalists in every category, starting with the Scholar-Athletes, who were in the running for the $1,000 Bongiovanni Financial & Insurance Award and $500 scholarships from the Record-Journal and new participating sponsor, Wendi J. Kemp of Meriden.

Wendi, welcome aboard. You are a fresh breeze, a tailwind for the ride back home.

On that note, I’m off. Catch you all at 6:30.

Academic awards■Male Scholar-Athletes: Derrick Arnold (Sheehan), Jake Delmonte (Southington), Nate DeMaio (Wilcox Tech), Matthew Desimone (Maloney), Andrew McCarty (Platt), Brendan Mellitt (Cheshire) and Matthew Pettit (Lyman Hall).■Female Scholar-Athletes: Lindsey Abramson (Cheshire), Hailey Bruneau (Lyman Hall), Marley Esch (Sheehan) Chloe LaBissoniere (Wilcox Tech), Sarah Meade (Southington), Annelise Montouri (Maloney) and Haley Peacock (Platt).Overall awards■Male Athlete of the Year: Billy Carr (Southington), Kody Talento (Maloney), Terrence Bogan and Jordan Davis (Sheehan).■Female Athlete of the Year: Olivia Dubuc (Sheehan), Caitlyn Hart (Platt) and Ariana Perlini (Cheshire).■Coach of the Year: Charles Farley (Sheehan), John Ferrazzi (Sheehan) and Howie Hewitt (Southington).■Team of the Year: Cheshire girls swimming, Sheehan football, Southington gymnastics.■Perseverance: K.K. Nolan (Lyman Hall), James Rondini (Platt) and Zach Zembrzuski (Southington).Fall sports■Boys Cross Country: Brendan Mellitt (Cheshire), Matthew Penna (Southington) and Reynaldo Torres (Maloney).■Girls Cross Country: Elisabeth Brown (Sheehan), Jackie Izzo and Grace Michaud (Southington).■Field Hockey: Kaylee Drobish (Sheehan), Kiley Jackson (Cheshire) and Jenna Sheehan (Southington).■Football: Billy Carr (Southington), Jaylen John (Platt), Trevor Santiago (Maloney), Terrence Bogan and Jordan Davis (Sheehan).■Boys Soccer: Tyler Jasinski (Sheehan), Jack Loura (Cheshire), Zechariah Smith (Maloney) and Giovanny Solis (Wilcox Tech).■Girls Soccer: Olivia Dubuc (Sheehan), Gabby Tirado (Cheshire), Allison Carr and Abigail Sowa (Southington).■Girls Swimming: Meghan Hammarlund (Southington), Sophie Murphy and Julia Stevens (Cheshire).■Girls Volleyball: Lindsey Abramson (Cheshire), Caitlyn Hart (Platt) and Chloe LaBissoniere (Wilcox Tech).Winter sports■Boys Basketball: Vincent Martinez (Maloney), Garrett Molampy (Sheehan), Jared Kelly and Jake Napoli (Southington).■Girls Basketball: Hailey Bruneau (Lyman Hall), Caitlyn Hunt (Sheehan) and Emma Watkinson (Cheshire).■Ice Hockey: Nick Maringola (Cheshire), Jake Napoli (Sheehan), Michael O’Toole and Matt Pettit (Lyman Hall).■Boys Indoor Track: Riley Bjornberg (Sheehan), Ryan Farrell and Brendan Mellitt (Cheshire).■Girls Indoor Track: Olivia Dubuc (Sheehan), Trinity Cardillo and Sydney Garrison (Southington).■Boys Swimming: Sam Hanke (Cheshire), Joey Zellner (Sheehan), Tyler Heidgerd and Derek Melanson (Southington).■Wrestling: Billy Carr and Jacob Vecchio (Southington); Luke Fuerstenberg and James Rondini (Platt).

After tonight’s initial airing on Facebook at 6:30 p.m., the “Best of the Bunch” awards video will be on The R-J is giving away an iPad Mini to one person who watches the event live on Facebook. Enter at

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