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R-J SCHOLAR-ATHLETES: At Platt, Ramos got Panthers back in the race

R-J SCHOLAR-ATHLETES: At Platt, Ramos got Panthers back in the race

MERIDEN — As the only senior on Platt’s girls indoor track team, it was up to Gabriella Ramos to set the pace this winter.

And she did, helping the 4x200 relay team qualify for the Class L state meet for the first time since 2010.

With a 3.7 grade-point average, Ramos is also one of the leading students in Platt’s Class of 2020. She’s been named All-CCC Academic, serves as vice president of Skills USA and is a member of the International Club.

When she heads to college in the fall, she’ll major in Allied Health.

“Gabby was fantastic this year in indoor,” coach Mike Strumski said. “She is a very hard worker and will be successful in anything she works toward in life.”

Ramos was one of seven Record-Journal Scholar-Athletes selected by their coaches at Platt High School for the 2019-20 winter season. The others were as follows.

■Aiden Annino, boys indoor track: Aiden Annino takes a fourth lap around the R-J Scholar-Athlete track with his 4.05 GPA.

Also an All-CCC Academic, the Distinguished Honors student ranks No. 23 in Platt’s Class of 2020 heading into the homestretch.

The year-round runner competed in the 600 meters and ran legs on the 4x400 and 4x800 relays during the recent indoor season.

Annino was also the senior captain, something of a natural fit for a guy who is vice president of DECA and has won a George Eastman Young Leaders award.

Annino has also been an award winner with the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents.

“Aiden’s leadership has been tremendous this year,” said coach Mike Strumski. “He’s done an amazing job bringing the 45-athlete team together for our best year in recent history.”

■Aaliyah Burnley, girls basketball: If the game has a net, chances are Aaliyah Burnley plays it well.

Coming off an All-Conference and All-Record-Journal season in volleyball, the junior stepped right back into the gym and was a pivotal player under the rim for the Panthers during basketball season.

With 163 rebounds, Burnley shared the team lead with an average of 8.2 boards a game.

“She is our quiet leader on and off the floor,” remarked Platt basketball coach Tina Gonyea. “Aaliyah has improved steadily every year since she has started and we are confident that she will work even harder to be even better for next year.”

With a 4.1 GPA, Burnley currently ranks No. 20 in Platt’s Class of 2021. She’s been nominated for the National Honor Society.

Along with volleyball and basketball, Burnley also competes in track. She has been named All-CCC Academic in all three sports multiple times.

“We are expecting Aaliyah to be a great role model and leader for us her senior year,” Gonyea said.

■Alex Flynn, boys swimming: A senior captain of the Meriden Co-op team, Alex Flynn qualified for the Class LL state championship meet in the 100-yard butterfly with a season-best time of 57.01 seconds. He placed fourth at the CCC South Championships in 57.93.

The National Honor Society member carries a GPA of 3.5 and has logged 130 hours of community service.

In college, he’ll major in Computer Science/Computer Engineering. 

“Alex came in as a freshman with no swimming background and he has worked very hard and improved greatly,” said Co-op coach Ed Heath. “He has done everything asked of him, and more. He continues to work in the classroom and the pool. His work ethic is outstanding. He will be missed next year.”

■Nadia James, cheerleading: A senior captain of the Platt squad, Nadia James made All-Conference this winter.

She’s now hoping to get in a final season of outdoor track.

Beyond that, James will be heading to college to major in Political Science. She’s carrying a GPA of 3.78.

James participates in the Concert Choir and volunteers at Girls Inc. of Meriden.

■Mathew Merrigan, wrestling: Second-year varsity wrestler Mathew Merrigan put together a sophomore season at 152 pounds that saw him go 33-1 in the regular season and ultimately qualify for the State Open.

He placed first at the Wethersfield Invitational, second in the CCC Small School Tournament and sixth in Class M. He was named to the All-Record-Journal Wrestling Team.

After two seasons, Merrigan has a career record of 64-15.

“Mat is one of the toughest competitors around,” attested Platt coach Bryan McCarty. “He goes all out and puts everything he has into what he is doing both on an off the mat.”

A Distinguished Honors student, Merrigan is carrying a GPA of 4.63. He participates in Youth and Government.

■Anthony Nimani, boys basketball: Freshman Anthony Nimani burst onto the varsity basketball scene this winter with a rookie campaign that saw him average 11.0 points and 5.5 rebounds a game.

Fans know about that. Nimani was a Record-Journal Athlete of the Week nominee fairly early in the season.

Fans might not know Nimani is an equally solid student. He’s got a 4.02 GPA.

Nimani also runs cross country in the fall.

“Anthony is an extremely hard worker who is always eager to learn,” said basketball coach Shawon Moncrief. “He has a tremendous upside and has been a pleasure to coach this season.”