Pearsall chosen as national finalist for Heisman award

When ESPN shows up at your high school to tape an event, you know it’s big news.

The Bristol-based sports media juggernaut was at Wilton High School on Thursday morning for the announcement that WHS senior Casey Pearsall, a three-sports standout, has been named one of 12 national finalists for the 2012 Wendy's High School Heisman Award.

The announcement was made in the Nicholas T. Zeoli Fieldhouse in front of Pearsall’s family, teammates, coaches and senior classmates.

As a national finalist, Pearsall will travel to New York City for Heisman Memorial Trophy Weekend activities (Dec. 7-9) and the Wendy's High School Heisman Award Banquet, at which the two national winners, one male and one female, will be announced nationally on ESPN2. Presenting the national awards will be former Ohio State football star Archie Griffin, the only two-time winner of the Heisman Trophy.

Pearsall, who will play lacrosse at Notre Dame, had previously been named one of two Wilton High winners and then one of the 102 state (and District of Columbia) finalists last week, from a total of 48,000 high school winners.

At Thursday’s event, Wilton Principal Robert O'Donnell acted as master of ceremonies and turned over the award announcement to John Terwilliger, the director of operations of Wendy’s. He presented Pearsall with her silver medal for being named a state winner and said that her awards for being a national finalist would be given to her at the New York City awards banquet.

In addition to excelling at soccer, basketball and lacrosse, Pearsall teaches religious instruction at Our Lady of Fatima Church; participates in the TOPSoccer program for young athletes with disabilities; is a basketball referee in the Wilton Parks and Recreation youth program; and has coached various town youth programs in soccer, basketball and lacrosse.

“It hasn't sunk in yet,” said Pearsall on Thursday after learning she was a national finalist. “I have a passion for kids and I love working with them. I'm very close to my family and they have been extremely supportive in me and the things I get involved with.”

A crew from ESPN will be following Pearsall around for the next few days to get footage for a show about all 12 national finalists that will air on ESPN2 on Dec. 9.