Boys lax team named Wilton’s Sports Persons of the Year

The Wilton boys lacrosse team celebrates its victory over Fairfield Prep in the state semifinals. The team has been chosen as one of the Fairfield County Sports Commission's Sports Persons of the Year.

The Wilton boys lacrosse team celebrates its victory over Fairfield Prep in the state semifinals. The team has been chosen as one of the Fairfield County Sports Commission's Sports Persons of the Year.

Christian Abraham / Hearst Connecticut Media

The Wilton High School boys lacrosse team was among the honorees as the Fairfield County Sports Commission announced its 2019 Sports Persons of the Year on Saturday.

The local sports honorees — one from each of the 16 communities the Commission serves — will be recognized at the 15th annual Sports Night awards dinner on Monday, Oct. 21, at the Stamford Marriott at 6 pm.

In each of the 16 towns, a committee headed by a local town representative of the Commission, selected a Sports Person of the Year. Each winner was deemed to have had the most positive impact in their sports community from Aug. 2018 to Aug. 2019.

After losing seven of its first eight games, the Wilton boys lacrosse team recovered to reach the finals of the conference and state tournaments. The Warriors lost to New Canaan, 8-7, in the FCIAC championship game and Darien, 13-3, in the Class L title contest.

Seeded 19th in Class L, Wilton became the lowest-ranked team to reach the finals.

“I can’t say enough about this group of kids,” first-year head coach Steve Pearsall told Hearst Connecticut Media following the loss to Darien in the state finals. “I’m so proud of the way they battled … at 1-7, the kids did not really waver. That’s when I knew I had something special with this group.”

Wilton’s turnaround was led by a stifling defense that included senior goalie Andrew Calabrese and senior defenders Ryan Schriber and Tyler Previte. Calabrese and Schriber both made the Connecticut High School Coaches Association All-America and All-State teams, and Calabrese was chosen as the state’s Player of the Year. Previte made the All-State second team.

The Warriors’ most notable victory came when they stunned top-seed Darien, 4-3, in the FCIAC semifinals. Darien was going for its sixth straight conference championship.

In addition to the Wilton boys lacrosse team, the following individuals and teams were chosen as Sports Persons of the Year:

BRIDGEPORT - Sal Hanaif, Bassick High boys soccer coach

DARIEN - Darien Little League All-Stars, District 1 champions

EASTON - Joel Barlow High girls volleyball team, Class L state champions

FAIRFIELD - Kristen Santos, U.S. National Champion Short Track speed skater

GREENWICH - Greenwich High football team, undefeated state and FCIAC champions

MONROE - Samantha Schiebe, Masuk High girls softball pitcher

NEW CANAAN - Danny Melzer, head coach of New Canaan’s Division 4 boys basketball state champion team

NEWTOWN - Todd Petersen, Newtown High baseball/basketball standout

NORWALK - Justin Forde, Brien McMahon High triple/long jumper. Gatorade CT Track Athlete of Year

SHELTON - Matt Batten, Triple-A pro baseball player

STAMFORD - Trinity Catholic High girls basketball team, Class S state champions

STRATFORD - Alyssa Naeher, U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team goalie, World Cup champion

TRUMBULL - Andrew Ilie, Trumbull High tennis player, Class LL & State Open champion

WESTON - Rich Fanning, coach of Weston High boys and girls ski teams

WESTPORT - Staples High boys and girls tennis teams, both state champions

Notes: With the 16 new honorees, the Fairfield Couny Sports Commission has honored a total of 231 local sports persons.

The Fairfield County Sports Commission is a 501c (3) non-profit, charitable and educational organization dedicated to promoting youth fitness and an active, healthy lifestyle, as well as personal development through sports.

The Commission, which is an all-volunteer organization except for the executive director, is the one-stop resource for the sports communities in the county. The focus of the Commission is creating and supporting programs for fitness and nutrition awareness education.

For more information concerning tickets and sponsorship opportunities for Sports Night, visit or call Tom Chiappetta at 203-984-4806.