Best of the Best: The Top Ten Sports Moments of the Past Four Years
Joe Greenwald and Alex Spector, Web Sports Editor and Business Manager
June 19, 2012 • 88 views
Filed under Sports
Boys Soccer 2009-2011 FCIAC 3PEAT
To win three FCIAC championships consecutively is a remarkable feat But to achieve a #6 national ranking, a state championship, multiple players with All New-England recognition, and one player with All-American status is mind-boggling. On top of that, Brendan Lesch (the All-American) went viral with his 250,000-viewed, physically the inexplicable bicycle kick video. Breaking records for most lopsided state finals victory in its 61-year history and most wins in a season (22) says it all.
Brendan Rankowitz 2009 Game-winning Touchdown
The fat lady hadn’t sung yet as Brendan Rankowitz defied odds with the FCIAC championship-clinching, 66-yard, game-winning touchdown. Rankowitz had dropped a potential touchdown pass earlier in the game but made up for it immeasurably. Clutch is too weak a word. “The Play” as it has come to be known, has become Wrecker History.
Boys Volleyball Garners 100 Consecutive Wins
Winning eight out of their previous nine FCIAC titles with four consecutive state titles, going 100 games without suffering defeat (dating back to 2006) and receiving national acclaim, the Staples Wreckers were untouchable. Bruce Betts led Staples Volleyball to true perfection during the latter part of his long tenure and made record-breaking UConn girls’ basketball coach Geno Auriemma seem ordinary.
Massie to Bonenfant in 2011 FCIAC Championship
On the biggest stage of his athletic career, senior football tri-captain Peter Bonenfant came through with the biggest play of his life as the undefeated Wreckers faced off against the archrival Cardinals. With 1:21 left in the game, Wreckers trailing the Cardinals, Bonenfant grabbed a 16-yard touchdown pass from Massie to take the lead and seal the victory. How fitting for a senior captain to score.
Rob Gau Blocks Kick in Thanksgiving Game 2009
The freshly-crowned FCIAC champion Wreckers were playing their annual Thanksgiving Day game against (yes, them again) the Cardinals. The Cardinals had a 33-yard field goal for the win set-up. As the ball was snapped, placed, and kicked, Rob Gau, a.k.a. “Staples Football,” shot his extended arm up over the offensive line and got his finger tips on the ball to block the kick, clinching the win for the Wreckers. Simply another classic added to the storied rivalry between Staples and Greenwich.
2011 Girls Field Hockey FCIAC Championship Run
What a year. The Field Hockey team won its first FCIAC championship in 17 years, beating Wilton in the finals, but it was truly the journey to get there that made it special. Senior Misha Strage scored the game-winning goal with3:50left in the quarterfinals against Stamford, leading to a 2-1 victory. The next night Strage scored the game-winning goal as the Wreckers shocked the Darien Blue Wave 1-0 and snapped their remarkable 93-game winning streak. Finally, and who else, Strage scored the game-winning goal to beatWilton2-1. The Wreckers were FCIAC champs, and it was the clutch play of their senior captain in three straight games.
Girls Soccer Cinderella Run in 2011 State Tournament
The 2011 Staples girls soccer team surprised everyone when they reached the Class LL semi-finals, ranked 20th in the state, surpassing expectations. In the first round of playoffs, the 13th-seeded New Milford Green Wave was outplayed. Even more surprisingly, the Westhill Vikings, seeded 5th, fell to the hungrier, more aggressive Lady Wreckers in an astonishing 2-1 upset. The Cinderella Run ended cruelly in PK’s in the semifinals against top-seededGlastonbury, but that doesn’t tarnish the incredible run by the girls soccer team, which hadn’t even qualified for FCIACs.
2012 Staples Boys’ Track Team Breaks Record
Led by track athlete of the year Henry Wynne, the Staples Boys’ 1600m track relay team, with Zach Mitchell, Max Hoberman, and Jon Heil as well, shattered theConnecticutrecord by 1.08 seconds. Nationally, it ranked 6th fastest in times recorded this year. All the more impressive is that this team had never run this race. It was a fresh, authentic, blindingly-quick run, and that record will hold for years.
Staples Baseball Wins Three FCIAC Titles in Four Years
Winning the 2011 FCIAC title in a gutsy 5-3 victory againstDanbury, its third FCIAC title in a four-year span, demonstrated clear composure and consistency. The Staples baseball program is thriving, and this win brought the Wreckers to the lead of most FCIAC titles, with seven. One of the program’s most established areas of expertise is the pitching mound, where since 2009 pitchers like David Speer, Rob Gau, and Jimmy Kopack have shined in the spotlight and led their respective teams to winning seasons and deep playoff runs.
Staples Girls Hockey Records Important Win
OnFebruary 19th, 2011, the Staples Girls’ Hockey Team made history with its 6-3 win over Stamford-Westhill. After three years of existence, three years of varsity status, and a previous season with losses nearly every game of 8+ goals, the victory was fittingly achieved on senior night. Fired up by its seven seniors, and led by new coach Peter Alfano, the win for this small team showed Staples Girls’ Hockey as a program that deserves respect.