Recipients to be honored at 75th Gold Key Dinner April 24
Sacred Heart-Waterbury senior guard Mustapha Heron and Glastonbury girls soccer senior midfielder Mara Cosentino have been selected as the Connecticut Sports Writers' Alliance Hal Levy High School Athletes of the Year.
The 6-foot-5 Heron led Sacred Heart to two straight Class S basketball titles and Cosentino helped Glastonbury win two straight Class LL titles in soccer and a Class LL championship in indoor track.
Heron and Cosentino will be honored at the 75th Gold Key Dinner on Sunday, April 24 at the Aqua Turf Club in Southington.
Former welterweight boxing champion Marlon Starling, New England/Hartford Whalers owner and founder Howard Baldwin, 1960 U.S. Hockey Olympic gold medalist Bob McVey, Trinity College squash coach Paul Assaiante and longtime Greenwich High boys swimming coach Terry Lowe will receive Gold Keys at the dinner.
Tickets to the 2016 Gold Key Dinner, which begins at 4 p.m., are $75 and can be purchased by contacting CSWA President Matthew Conyers of The Hartford Courant at 860-874-4166, or firstname.lastname@example.org or Vice President Tim Jensen of Patch Media Corp. at email@example.com Tickets can also be obtained by mailing a check to the Connecticut Sports Writers' Alliance, P.O. Box 70, Unionville, CT, 06085.
Heron, the 2015 CHSCA Player of the Year, led Sacred Heart-Waterbury to Class S championships in 2014 and 2015. Heron is a two-time All-State selection and a three-time All-NVL selection. He also won the Billy Finn Award (top player in the city of Waterbury) and the Connie Donahue Award (top senior in the NVL). The New Haven Register selected Heron as its Player of the Year last season.
Heron was a 2016 McDonald's All-American nominee and an invitee to the USA Basketball camp. With the national team, he played at the Adidas Eurocamp in Italy.
Heron also started a community outreach program called the Mustapha Heron Skills Academy, which provides book bags and sneakers. He volunteers with the Waterbury PAL, where he is a coach.
Heron, one of the top recruits in the country, will play for Auburn next season.
In her four seasons as a starting midfielder for Glastonbury, Cosentino led Glastonbury to two straight Class LL championships and three appearances in the Class LL final.
Anchored by her play, the Tomahawks have won 41 straight games since 2014. Cosentino had 22 goals and 24 assists in 2015 to help Glastonbury finish 23-0. The Tomahawks were fifth in the final NSCAA national rankings.
Cosentino made the NSCAA All-American team and the All-New England team. It was the second straight year she was named All-New England.
"I think she leaves a legacy as probably one of the top five players of all time at Glastonbury. I think she has kind of set the standard now for all the younger kids," Glastonbury coach Joe Finocchiaro said. "She's not replaceable. Her understanding of how to play the game is so big. She makes players around her better instantly."
Cosentino is also a key member of the girls track team. Last year, she helped the Tomahawks win the Class LL indoor championship and to a third-place finish at the Class LL outdoor championship. Cosentino helped the Glastonbury 4x400 relay team qualify for the New England championships in the indoor and outdoor seasons and was on the 4x200 relay team that competed in the New England championships in the indoor season. She also finished sixth in the 400 at last June's New England championships.
She helped Glastonbury win the 4x400 last month at the indoor State Open.
She was The Hartford Courant's Player of the Year for girls soccer in 2014 and 2015.
Cosentino will attend Colgate this fall and play for the soccer team.
Heron photo courtesy Catherine Avallone, New Haven Register