Scholar Athlete of the Month – December 2008

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					               NEWS FROM THE
       SOUTHERN CONNECTICUT CONFERENCE
For Immediate Release: January 26, 2009
Contact: Al Carbone, Commissioner (203) 671-4421

               SportsCenter of Connecticut/SCC
           Scholar Athletes of the Month for December
                  Sixteen Outstanding Student-Athletes Recognized
New Haven, CT – Sixteen student-athletes from eight high schools have been named The
SportsCenter of Connecticut/Southern Connecticut Conference Scholar Athletes of the
Month for December.
       The SportsCenter of Connecticut/SCC Scholar Athlete of the Month program honors
14-16 outstanding young men and women each month during the 2008-09 academic year.
The program will recognize a total of 138 student-athletes – six from each of the
conference’s 23 member schools.
       “Many thanks to the Sports Center of Connecticut for its continuing support of the
SCC and the Scholar Athlete of the Month program,” said SCC Commissioner Al Carbone.
“This conference has been proud of its success for the last 15 years, and to be able to
recognize outstanding young men and women who have demonstrate the desire and ability
to exceed solidifies what this conference is all about.”
       Student athletes who are selected must be a varsity letterwinner and have a 3.0/B
average while demonstrating leadership qualities such as: being a positive role model;
helping teammates overcome adversity; showing a commitment to self-improvement; or
putting the needs of the team before themselves. Sports Center of CT/SCC Scholar
Athlete of the Month recipients and receive a certificate, commemorative tee-shirt and a
SportsCenter of Connecticut activity pass.

                     The SportsCenter of Connecticut/SCC
                 Scholar Athletes of the Month – December 2008
Matthew Poppa – Derby
A member of the Red Raiders’ wrestling squad, Matthew Poppa has been an exemplary student in
the classroom. A High Honor Roll student, Matthew ranks 15th in his class and sports an impressive
3.58 grade point average. Derby wrestling coach Buster Jadach said, “An outstanding young man,
Matthew has been an asset to our wrestling program and entire Derby high school community.”

Mary Hyde – Derby
The captain of the Red Raiders’ girl’s basketball squad, Mary Hyde has been a success in the
classroom with a 3.48 grade point average and class rank of 22. A member of the National Honor
Society, Mary also competes on the Derby cheerleading squad. Derby athletic director Joe
Orazietti said, “Mary is an excellent leader who has excelled both on the basketball court and in the
classroom.”
Page 2 – The SportsCenter of Connecticut/SCC Scholar Athletes of the Month – Dec. 2008

Andrew Grinalds – Fairfield Prep
One of the top swimmers in the state of Connecticut, Andrew Grinalds has been a magnificent
student in the classroom during his time at Fairfield Prep. Andrew sports and impressive 4.018 (out
of a 4.0 scale) grade point average. The swimming captain, Andrews is a three-time All-SCC and
All-State honoree and is the school’s record holder in the 200-yard intermediate medley and 400
freestyle relay. Fairfield Prep swimming coach Bruce Jaffe said, “Andrew’s academic and athletic
accomplishments are the definition of a model student athlete.”

Brad Kontra – Fairfield Prep
A two-sport (indoor and outdoor track & field) athlete for the Jesuits, Brad Kontra has been an
outstanding performer in the classroom. A member of the National Honor Society, Brad sports an
impressive 4.117 (out of 4.0 scale) grade point average. Brad is the reigning Class LL indoor and
SCC outdoor shot put champion and recently won the title at the 2009 SCC Quinnipiac Division
indoor meet with a school record throw of 54 feet, 7 inches. Fairfield Prep athletic director Bob
Harris said, “Brad is an all-around outstanding student-athlete who challenges himself to be the
best at whatever he does.”

Kelly Last – West Haven
A member of the Blue Devils’ volleyball, cheerleading and tennis teams, Kelly Last ranks in the top
ten percent of her class with an impressive 3.98 grade point average. A member of the National
Honor Society, Kelly was a two-year captain of the volleyball team and will serve as the tennis
captain this spring. West Haven cheerleading coach Angie Alston said, “Kelly is a hard-working
and dedicated scholar athlete with tremendous leadership qualities.”

Mark Palmieri – West Haven
A two-sport (basketball and baseball) standout for the Blue Devils, Mark Palmieri has been
successful in the classroom as well. Ranked in the top ten percent of his class, Mark sports an
impressive 3.89 grade point average. A member of the National Honor Society, Mark has served
as the D.E.C.A president and volunteers with Unified Sports. One of the top basketball players in
the SCC, Mark was an All-Quinnipiac Division honoree a year ago. West Haven basketball coach
Harry Bosley said, “Mark is a responsible, honest and dedicated individual who commits himself to
everything he does.”

Kelly Cargos – Amity Regional
 A member of the Spartans’ indoor track and field squad, Kelly Cargos has been an impressive
performer in the classroom. Ranked 21st in a class of 425 students, Kelly sports a 3.81 grade point
average. A recipient of the Smith College Book Award, Kelly is a member of the Spanish Honor
Society. She is quite involved in school activities, serving on the Model United Nations Club, Drama
Club and Class Council. Amity athletic director Paul Mengold said, “Kelly is one of the most well-
rounded student athletes at Amity and is extremely deserving of this honor.”

Alexander Bell – Amity Regional
 A member of the Spartans’ ski racing team, Alexander Bell has been an exemplary performer in
the classroom with a class rank of 18 (out of 425 students) and 3.68 grade point average. A
member of the Spanish Honor Society, Alexander recently earned the Colgate University Book
Award. He has also served as the co-editor-in-chief of the school’s newspaper, The Trident, for two
years. Amity athletic director Paul Mengold said, “Alexander has been a leader in the Amity school
community, and his academic and athletic performance makes him a worthy honoree.”
Page 3 – The SportsCenter of Connecticut/SCC Scholar Athletes of the Month – Dec. 2008

Jimmy Connors – Jonathan Law
A member of the Eagles’ soccer and basketball squads, Jimmy Connors has been a standout in the
classroom with a 3.3 grade point average. A four-year varsity letterwinner in soccer and a three-
year letterwinner in basketball, Jimmy earned SCC All-Hammonasset Division soccer honors this
past fall. Law athletic director Frank Luysterborghs said, “Jimmy is one of the leaders in the
Jonathan Law school community. He is well liked among his peers and a leader on and off the
playing field.”

Grace Glennon – Jonathan Law
A member of the Eagles’ soccer and gymnastics teams, Grace Glennon has been a model student-
athlete with an impressive 4.08 grade point average. One of the top gymnasts in the state, Grace
earned All-SCC and All-State honors a year ago and is poised to do the same this winter. Law
athletic director Frank Luysterborghs said, “Grace exhibits a very positive attitude and along with
her leadership, has had a great effect on her teammates.”

Mike Callaghan – Daniel Hand
A member of the Tigers’ basketball squad, Mike Callaghan has been a top student in the
classroom. Mike holds a 3.51 grade point average and ranks in the third decile of his class. Active
in the Hand community, he is a three-year member of the chorus and volunteers for Safe Rides. On
the basketball court, Mike earned SCC All-Hammonasset Division honors. Hand basketball coach
Frank Rossi said, “Mike has been an exceptional team leader both statistically and emotionally,
resulting in a successful start to the season.”

Kate Clawson – Daniel Hand
A four-year varsity member of the Tigers’ girls basketball team, Kate Clawson ranks in the fifth
decile of her class with a 3.24 grade point average. Extremely active in the Hand community, Kate
is a member of the school’s premier choral group, Weas Haeil, and has coordinated several fund-
raising activities for worthy causes. Hand girls basketball coach Sal Fiorillo said, “Kate is a true
leader and a tremendous role model for all student athletes.”

Stephanie Grilo – North Haven
The captain of the Indians’ cheerleading squad, Stephanie Grilo has been an outstanding performer
in the classroom. Ranked second in a class of 299 students, Stephanie sports a 4.2 grade point
average. A member of the National and Spanish honor societies, Stephanie attended Girls’ State
and is a four-year member of the Future Problem Solvers and Student Advisory Board at North
Haven. North Haven athletic director Todd Petronio said, “By exhibiting sportsmanship and
leadership qualities, Stephanie excels in the classroom and community while representing her team
and school.”

Geoffrey Brown – North Haven
A three-sport (soccer, indoor and outdoor track) athlete, Geoffrey Brown has also excelled in the
classroom. Ranked eighth in his class, Geoffrey has a 4.1 grade point average and is a member of
the National and Latin honor societies. A two-sport (indoor and outdoor track) captain this year,
Geoffrey earned SCC All-Oronoque Division soccer honors during the fall. North Haven athletic
director Todd Petronio said, “Geoffrey works extremely hard in the classroom as a model student
and represents his team and school with excellence.”
Page 4 – The SportsCenter of Connecticut/SCC Scholar Athletes of the Month – Dec. 2008

Cayla Lang – Lyman Hall
The captain of the Trojans’ girls basketball squad, Cayla Lang has been a top student athlete. She
is ranked 20th in her class and sports an impressive 3.82 grade point average. A member of the
National Honor Society, Calya serves as the Senior Class Treasurer and is a Varsity Club officer.
Lyman Hall athletic director Elaine Piazza said, ‘Calya is a hard-working athlete who always puts
the team first, and her leadership abilities extend beyond the court to the entire school community.”

William Abildgaard, Jr. – Lyman Hall
A two-sport (ice hockey and baseball) athlete for the Trojans, William Abildgaard has been a
standout student athlete. Billy is ranked 18th in his class and has an impressive 3.82 grade point
average. A member of the National Honor Society, he is an officer in the Varsity and Spanish
clubs. Lyman Hall ice hockey coach Tim Belcher said, “Billy is the definition of a student-athlete –
he does well both in the classroom and on the ice; but most of all, he is a true gentleman who show
everyone respect.”

        The SportsCenter of Connecticut offers an exciting and unique combination of fun,
recreation, lessons and competitive exercise! Located at 784 River Road (Route 110) in Shelton,
the Sports Center of Connecticut offers and a premier weather-protected golf practice facility, 18-
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        Founded in 1994, the Southern Connecticut Conference celebrates its 15th season of
competition in 2008-09 with 23 member-schools and nearly 23,000 students. Recognized as the
premier athletic league in the state of Connecticut, SCC member schools have captured over 260
state championships since the league’s inception. More importantly, the SCC is recognized for its
outstanding non-athletic programs and events, which attempt to break down barriers and build
bridges of understanding to its students. For more information on the SCC, visit
www.SouthernConnecticutConference.org.


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