Falbo to be honored as athlete of the year by CT Sports Writers Alliance
By GERRY deSIMAS, JR.
Connecticut Wrestling Online
SOUTHINGTON, Feb. 10, 2017 -- Newtown High senior Anthony Falbo and E.O. Smith senior McKenna Dale have been selected as the Hal Levy High School Athletes of the Year for the 2015-16 season by the Connecticut Sports Writers Alliance. Both will be honored at the Alliance’s 76th annual Gold Key dinner on April 30 at the Aqua Turf in Southington.
Former Bloomfield High star Dwight Freeney, who played in the Super Bowl with the Atlanta Falcons in February, five-time U.S. Olympic archer Butch Johnson of Woodstock, Farmington High boys soccer coach Steve Waters and Cheshire swim coach Ed Aston will receive Gold Keys at the dinner.
Falbo has missed most of his senior season with an undisclosed injury but he had a stellar junior campaign in 2017. He became the first Connecticut wrestler to win back-to-back National High School Coaches Association (NHSCA) national championships in April 2017 in Virginia at 170 pounds.
He was undefeated with a 56-0 record with his final four victories at the national tournament coming against All-American wrestlers. In six matches at the national tournament, he gave up just one takedown. A year earlier, Falbo won a NHSCA national title at 160 pounds.
As a junior, Falbo also won a New England championship and earned his third State Open championship. As a sophomore, he helped Newtown High win a Class LL state championship, the Nighthawks’ first State Open crown and led Newtown to a second place finish in New England.
After three years of wrestling, Falbo had a career record of 150-2. He has signed a letter of intent to wrestle at Purdue next year. As for his senior year, Falbo is hoping to wrestle in the Class LL tournament, State Open and New England tournaments.
Falbo is the first wrestler to earn Athlete of the Year honors from the Connecticut Sports Writers’ Alliance.
Dale has been an outstanding swimmer and basketball player at E.O. Smith. She won the Class L title in the 50-yard freestyle and 100-yard freestyle in November. She followed that up with wins in the 50 and 100 free at the State Open. As a junior, she helped E.O. Smith win their first CCC girls basketball tournament, averaging 24.3 points in the league tournament. She also helped the Panthers reach the Class LL semifinals.
This past December, Dale, a dual citizen of New Zealand and the U.S., played for the New Zealand national team at the FIBA Oceania U-18 championships, averaging 10.4 points in five tournament games. Dale will play basketball at Brown next winter.
Tickets to the Gold Key Dinner, which begins at 4 p.m., are $75 and can be purchased by contacting dinner chairman Tim Jensen of Patch Media at email@example.com or 860-394-5091; or CSWA President Matthew Conyers of the Hartford Courant at 860-874-4166, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tickets can also be obtained by mailing a check to the Connecticut Sports Writers' Alliance, P.O. Box 70, Unionville, CT, 06085. Dinner proceeds benefit the Alliance's Bohdan Kolinsky Memorial Sports Journalism Scholarship.