Dakota Busch’s state championship tennis season has been selected as The Sun’s top sports story of the year.
Busch, a Westerly High senior, finished 22-0 on the season. She was the first Westerly player to win the state title.
She did not lose a set until the state singles championship match against La Salle Academy’s Kennedy May on Oct. 23. Busch dropped the first set, 6-3, but made some adjustments in her strategy and took the next two, 6-3, 6-3.
Westerly coach Terence McAndrew said it’s rare for the singles champion to drop the first set in the title match and still rally to victory.
Busch played No. 1 singles all four years for the Bulldogs. She was first-team All-State four times. She will play for the University of Tampa team in the fall.
(2) Westerly girls track
Westerly High won the state outdoor track championship in June, compiling 67 points.
Portsmouth was next with 56.
Westerly did not have a single individual winner, but scored in all three relays. The Bulldogs used their depth in a variety of events to bring home the title.
The 4x100 relay team of Emma Santee, Helena Hall-Thomsen, Leila Cox and Sydney Federico finished first.
Others who contributed to the title were Randi Burr, Caelan Holdredge, Kata Cummings, Jaime Murray, Abby Murdock and Victoria Carreiro.
It was the program’s first state title since 2006.
(T3) Chariho wrestlers
Chariho High wrestlers Tommy Wrzesien and Kyle Merritt earned state championships in February.
Both wrestlers finished 4-0; Wrzesien won three of his matches by pin. Wrzesien was a junior, and Merritt, the son of longtime coach Scott Merritt, was a freshman.
The father was a two-time state champion and a New England champ during his time as a wrestler at Chariho.
(T3) Doug Domnarski
Pawcatuck’s Doug Domnarski was selected in the 27th round of June’s Major League Baseball draft by the Florida Marlins.
Domnarski was an All-State pitcher at Stonington High, an All-America at UConn-Avery Point and was a reliever for two seasons at the University of Connecticut.
Domnarski pitched for the Marlins team in the Florida Gulf Coast League, where he pitched 17 innings and had two saves with a 1.59 ERA.
(T3) Tristan Turano
Turano put together the best season by a Westerly High running back in at least 50 years.
The junior rushed for 2,176 yards and scored 26 touchdowns. Turano averaged 7.6 yards per carry.
Turano gained 200 or more yards fives times, including a season-high 291 against Fitch in the season opener.
Turano did not have a carry in a varsity game before this season.
(6) Gabby Dellacono
Dellacono became the first Stonington High girls tennis player to reach the state singles championship match.
Dellacono lost in straight sets, but earned All-State honors in the process.
The Stonington sophomore won her second straight ECC singles title. She is unbeaten against ECC opponents and has never lost a set to a league foe.
(7) Matt Stanley
Stanley, a Chariho junior at the time, won the 100 breaststroke at the state swimming championships in a state-record time of 56.27 seconds.
It was the third straight season that Stanley was the state champion in the event. He also finished second in the 200 individual medley.
(8) Stonington boys soccer
Stonington won its second straight ECC tournament championship after putting together an unbeaten record in the regular season.
Stonington finished 19-1-1, with its only loss coming in the Class M quarterfinals to end the season.
Senior back Cam Whalen was named All-New England. He joined goalie Adam Gibbs on the Class M All-State team.
(9) Chariho boys lacrosse
Chariho put together an unbeaten season on its way to the Division III championship.
The Chargers finished 18-0 and defeated Pilgrim, 8-3, in the title match in June at Brown University.
Goalie Will Quinn was named MVP of the championship game. Quinn, defender Lucas Iacobbo and midfielder Will Foley were first-team All-Division.
(10) Stonington boys track
Stonington claimed the ECC Division II indoor championship on the final event of the meet in Feburary. Cam Whalen won three events.
The Bears finished fifth at the Class M state indoor meet, with Dmitri Van Duine winning the shot put. Whalen was second in the 55 hurdles. In the outdoor season, the Bears finished second at the ECC championships, their best showing ever at the meet. Whalen won two events. Whalen also won both hurdles races at the Class M state meet and Joey Hinckley won the pole vault as the Bears placed fourth.