Tickets Now Available for 81st Gold Key Dinner
Award recipients will be honored by the Connecticut Sports Media Alliance at the 81st Gold Key Dinner in October.
SOUTHINGTON, Connecticut — With the recent selection of athletes and coaches of the year and four Good Sport Award recipients, the list of honorees to be celebrated by the Connecticut Sports Media Alliance (CSMA) at the 81st annual Gold Key Dinner this fall is now complete.
Chloe Humphrey of Darien High School, the USA Lacrosse high school girls’ player of the year, will receive the Hank O’Donnell Female Athlete of the Year award. The nation’s top recruit who will continue on at the University of North Carolina, she led the Blue Wave to an undefeated season in 2023, culminating with the game-winning goal in a victory over New Canaan in the Class L championship match. She tallied 111 goals and added 38 assists, as Darien held the top ranking in the Nike/USA Lacrosse National Top 25 for the entire season.
Joshua Mooney of Stonington High School, who will receive the Bill Lee Male Athlete of the Year award, finished his amazing scholastic track and field career by capturing the New England championship in the 110-meter hurdles, after winning that event in the State Open (for the second straight year) and the Class M meet. He also posted top finishes in the State Open and divisional meets in the 300-meter hurdles and javelin toss, and won the CIAC decathlon competition by compiling 6,680 points, winning the 100 meters, 110 hurdles and javelin events. Indoors, he won the 55-meter hurdles at the New England, State Open and Class S championships, and the long jump at the divisional meet. He will continue his career at the University of Connecticut.
The Doc McInerney High School Coaches of the Year are Loren Luddy of Woodland Regional softball and Mark Brookes of Haddam-Killingworth baseball.
Despite battling breast cancer, Luddy guided the Hawks to their second straight Class M championship, compiling a 20-0 regular season record, then overpowering four opponents in the state tournament by a combined 43-7 score, including a 16-0 thrashing of Sacred Heart Academy in the finals.
After 46 years and 743 victories (second all-time in Connecticut), Brookes finally achieved the dream of a state title when the Cougars topped Coventry 6-2 in the Class S championship tilt. H-K ran through five tournament opponents by a combined score of 28-8 to capture the program’s first crown since being founded by Brookes in 1977.
John Wentworth Good Sport Awards will be presented to Steve Callahan, a driving force behind South Windsor Challenger baseball; Charlie Flanagan, general manager of North Haven American Legion Post 76 baseball; Stan Krzanowski, a longtime volunteer with Canton Little League and softball; and Bob Norris, a youth baseball, basketball and soccer coach and official for more than 60 years in Windsor Locks. John Wentworth was sports editor of The Herald in New Britain, who specialized in writing about local sports figures. The award is given to those individuals who unselfishly devote their time and energy to the promotion of athletics in their communities.
Previously-announced Gold Key recipients for 2023 are Laurie LaRusso, Darien High School volleyball coach whose teams have won 24 state titles; Gary Makowicki, longtime Norwich Free Academy coach and athletic director with 13 state titles; Jan Merrill-Morin, a 1976 Olympian and former world record holder in three running events; Babby Nuhn, North Branford High School field hockey coach for 50 years with six state crowns; and Terry Tata, a Major League Baseball umpire for 27 years who worked three World Series.
Other award winners are:
President’s Award – Dr. Leslie Wrixon, Glastonbury, only high school runner to win Manchester Road Race
Hal Levy High School Achievement Award – Robert “Jiggs” Cecchini, retired Suffield High School coach and administrator
Bob Casey Courage Award – Ann and Paul Dagle, East Lyme, advocates for suicide prevention among student-athletes
Bo Kolinsky Special Recognition Award – Rand Pecknold, national champion Quinnipiac University men’s ice hockey coach
Art McGinley Media Award – Vickie Fulkerson, New London Day sportswriter for over 30 years
Bo Kolinsky Memorial Sports Media Scholarship – Baylee Krulewitz, Hall High School
The honorees will be feted at the Gold Key Dinner on Sunday, Oct. 22, 2023, beginning at 2 p.m. at the Aqua Turf Club in the Plantsville section of Southington.
Tickets are $75, and are available by contacting CSMA president Tim Jensen of Patch Media Corp. at 860-394-5091 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Event proceeds support the Bo Kolinsky Memorial Sports Media Scholarship, a $3,000 annual award named in memory of the noted high school sports editor of the Hartford Courant and past CSMA president, who passed away in 2003 at age 49.