Recipients to be honored at 76th Gold Key Dinner April 30
Wesleyan University senior Devon Carrillo and Atlanta Dream guard Bria Holmes have been selected as the Connecticut Sports Writers' Alliance Bill Lee and Hank O'Donnell athletes of the year.
They will be honored at the 76th Gold Key Dinner on April 30 at the Aqua Turf Club in Southington.
Carrillo is a two-sport standout in football and wrestling, and Holmes, who played for Hillhouse High School, was the first Connecticut native taken in the first round of the WNBA draft. Carrillo helped lead Wesleyan to the NESCAC title in football this past fall and has made the NCAA Division III national championships the last two years in wrestling. Holmes finished her college career at West Virginia last year ranked third in career points (2,001) and field goals made (731).
The awards are given in memory of two former sports editors. Lee was the longtime sports editor of The Hartford Courant. O'Donnell was the former executive sports editor of the Waterbury American and Waterbury Republican newspapers.
Defensive end Dwight Freeney of the Atlanta Falcons, five-time Olympic archer Butch Johnson, Farmington boys soccer coach Steve Waters and former Cheshire swim coach Ed Aston will receive Gold Keys at the dinner.
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 Corp. 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. Proceeds benefit the Alliance's Bohdan Kolinsky Memorial Sports Journalism Scholarship.
Carrillo is a standout football player and wrestler at Wesleyan University.
The Middletown High School graduate capped his four-year football career by being named to the New England Small College Athletic Conference's (NESCAC) first team as a running back and wide receiver, and was named to the second team as a punt returner.
He led the NESCAC in punt returns with 22, was second in rushing touchdowns with 12 and 12th in receiving yards with 349.
During his career at Wesleyan, he started at defensive back, linebacker, running back and wide receiver. He also played quarterback out of the Wildcat formation. In his senior year, Carrillo had 807 all-purpose yards in the eight-game season.
His teams were a combined 25-7 and the Cardinals won the NESCAC title in 2013 and 2016 (tied with Trinity). They won Little Three titles in 2013 and 2016.
Carrillo was the recipient of the C. Everett Bacon Award, which is presented annually to the football player at Wesleyan whose efforts during the season contributed most to the team's success. The award was established in 1936 and is the most prestigious in the Wesleyan football program. Bacon was an All-American quarterback at Wesleyan in 1910-12.
Carrillo has also found success as wrestler for Wesleyan. In the 2015-16 season, he was 15-4 in the heavyweight/197-pound classes. He was third in the NCAA Division III Northeast Regional championships and won the Gorrarian Award for the most pins in that tournament.
Carrillo qualified for the NCAA Division III championship in Iowa.
In the 2016-17 season, he started 8-0 at 197 pounds. He was 3-0 at the Scott Viera Tournament, winning the 197-pound championship. He was also 5-0 at the Bud Whitehall Duals at Lycoming College and made the All-Tournament team. He qualified for the NCAA Division III championship at the Northeast Regionals last Saturday.
At Middletown High, Carrillo was the football team's outstanding player. As a wrestler, Carrillo won three Class L championships, two State Open championships, one New England championship and finished seventh nationally in his junior year and was an All-American.
In 2016, Holmes, who was born in New Haven, became the first Connecticut native selected in the first round of the WNBA draft when she was taken by the Atlanta Dream with the 11th pick.
As a rookie with Atlanta, Holmes played in 33 games, starting 10 and averaging 7.5 points a game. She has spent the WNBA offseason playing for Bnot Maccabi Ramat Gan in the Israeli Div. I women's professional league.
Before the WNBA, Holmes played at West Virginia and was a first-team All-Big 12 selection in her final three seasons with the Mountaineers. She was the first player in program history to score 500-plus points in three consecutive seasons. Holmes finished with 2,001 points at West Virginia, third-most in program history.
In high school, Holmes led Hillhouse High of New Haven to three Class L championships from 2009 to 2011, scoring over 2,000 points. As a senior, she was selected to play in the McDonald's All-American Game, the first Connecticut girls high school player to earn that honor.