Three RHS highlights in running for state's top moment

As far as the state’s governing sports body is concerned, Ridgefield High had a flair for the dramatic during the recently ended school year.

Three highlights involving Ridgefield teams and athletes are among the 20 that the CIAC (Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference) has chosen as finalists for its best moment of 2017-18.

Online voting on the CIAC’s website — and its Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube accounts — will determine the five top moments, which will be announced and in a daily countdown starting Monday, July 23.

The voting period ends this Friday (July 20) at noon.

Ridgefield is represented in each of the state’s three high school sports seasons.

Among the five highlights selected from last fall is Claire Middlebrook’s long free kick that sailed over the Staples keeper and into the upper back corner of the net during the Class LL state championship game in West Haven. The goal gave Ridgefield a 1-0 lead early in the second half.

Middlebrook, a junior central defender, later added her second goal on a header off a corner kick to seal Ridgefield’s 2-0 triumph and give the Tigers their first state title in program history. Ridgefield had lost to Glastonbury in the Class LL finals in both 2015 and 2016.

The CIAC’s seven winter highlights include Kieran Smith’s dominant victory in the 500-meter freestyle race at the State Open meet in March at Yale University in New Haven.

Smith, who graduated from Ridgefield High in June and will now swim for the University of Florida, won the event in a meet- and state-record time of 4:18.83 seconds. Smith, who broke his own state record by almost three seconds, was nearly 12 seconds faster than second-place finisher Alfred North Hansen of Notre Dame-West Haven (4:30.45).

Smith also broke his own previous records while winning the 200-meter freestyle at the State Open, earning the meet’s Most Outstanding Swimmer award.

Ridgefield’s third highlight comes from arguably the biggest upset of the 2017-18 sports year: the Tigers’ 9-8 win over previously unbeaten Darien in the Class L boys lacrosse state finals.

The segment shows the final 16 seconds of the game, as the Ridgefield defense denies Darien from scoring the tying goal and the Tigers celebrate their stunning triumph — which ended the Blue Wave’s 76-game winning streak.

The other 17 highlights selected by the CIAC are:

  • Girls basketball: Isabella Ragaini’s buzzer-beating basket for East Haven in the Class M state title game.
  • Football: Tyler Herget’s one-handed diving touchdown catch that gave Darien an early lead in its Class LL state triumph over Greenwich.
  • Baseball: Wethersfield’s Jimmy Sullivan hits his second home run of the game to help his team prevail in the Class L title game.
  • Girls tennis: Hannah Bjorkman and Kristin Butler of Staples prevail in a third-set tiebreak to capture the State Open doubles title.
  • Boys tennis: A big return helps Norwalk’s Taishi Hosokawa and Prem Dave capture a crucial service break as the duo goes on to win the State Open doubles championship.
  • Girls lacrosse: A defensive play late in the second half stifles a rally and and sends New Fairfield to the Class S championship.
  • Wrestling: In the 170-pound final at the State Open, Xavier’s Ryan Devivo holds on for the victory in a thrilling finish.
  • Gymnastics: Adnerys De Jesus scores a perfect 10 on the vault for Greenwich as the Cardinals capture the title in the Class L state meet.
  • Boys soccer: Dylan McCall nets the match winner in the final seconds as Lewis Mills wins the Class M state championship.
  • Girls swimming: Greenwich caps its State Open title with a record-breaking win in the 400-yard freestyle relay.
  • Boys basketball: Mikey Buscetto converts a three-point play in Waterford’s Division III state title win.
  • Softball: Hannah Davis delivers the game-winning hit as Stafford wins the Class S softball crown.
  • Indoor track and field: Running in separate heats, Hall’s Miller Anderson and Staples’ William Landowne produce the tightest finish in the boys 1,000-meter race at the State Open.
  • Outdoor track and field: Elizabeth Stockman of Rocky Hill and Lauren Moore of Danbury provide a thrilling finish in the girls 1,600-meter race at the State Open.
  • Boys volleyball: Newington wins an epic rally to claim a tight first set en route to a five-set win in the Class M state final.
  • Boys hockey: A goal from Evan Tower gives the Eastern CT Eagles an early lead as the program claims its first state championship in the Division III final.
  • Girls volleyball: Coventry produces strong defense and offense in the same point late in the final set of its Class S championship victory.

Notes: To vote in the online poll visit the CIAC website at