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CT American Idol Returns Home

After months of performance on the road and competition on the television show “American Idol,” Nick Fradiani returned to his native Guilford Friday. The show of support was overwhelming even to Nick, who is now a finalist on the hit show. Nick received a hero’s welcome at his alma mater Guilford High School, playing a song in the same gymnasium that he played high school basketball. From there, Fradiani went to Bishop’s Orchard, where he scooped a new flavor of ice cream, “Fradiani Frenzy.” Lastly, a parade guided Fradiani to the Guilford Town Green where he gave a performance to thousands.

Guilford, CT - 5/01/15 - Guilford native and American Idol finalist Nick Fradiani returns home for a pep rally at Guilford High School. Here he takes a photo with Guilford High student. Photo by BRAD HORRIGAN bhorrigan@courant.com

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CT State Latin Day

The 34th annual Connecticut State Latin Day was held Friday at the Holiday Hill resort in Prospect.  Latin students, most clad in togas, from 52 middle and high schools from across the state took part in the day-long event that included activities that reflected ancient Greek and Roman culture.  Students competed in academic competitions in grammar, history, mythology, and geography, and took part in workshops like sculpting, fresco, Roman coins, calligraphy and Greek dancing. There were also athletic games and competitions including tug-of-war, discus (Frisbee) and a decimated marathon of 2.6 miles. Students were able to rotate through various games like volleyball, bocce and badminton throughout the day.

The day concluded with chariot races with chariots built by the students. The annual event is run by the Classical Association of Connecticut, a state-wide organization for Latin and Greek teachers and professors. “We do Latin Day to let people know that Latin is alive and well,” said Amy White, chairperson of the event and a Latin teacher at Ellington High School. The theme of this year’s event was “Non semper ea sunt quae videntur” (Things aren’t always what they  seem.)

PROSPECT 05/01/15 Dressed in togas, Mark Zebrowski (right) pulls the rope with classmate Luke Devine (second from right) as they fight against Stratford High School in a tug-of war contest at the 34th annual Connecticut State Latin Day at the Holiday Hill resort in Prospect Friday. Latin students from fifty-two middle and high schools across Connecticut competed in academic and athletic contests throughout the day. Rocky Hill won this heat of the tug-of-war.  CLOE POISSON|cpoisson@courant.com

PROSPECT 05/01/15 Dressed in togas, Rocky Hill High School students Mark Zebrowski (right) pulls the rope with classmate Luke Devine (second from right) as they fight against Stratford High School in a tug-of war contest at the 34th annual Connecticut State Latin Day at the Holiday Hill resort in Prospect Friday.  Rocky Hill won this heat of the tug-of-war. CLOE POISSON|cpoisson@courant.com

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Dynasty – Ten Titles

For the past three weeks or so, I’ve been holed up trying to edit more than 20 years of photographs of the UConn women’s basketball team for a book on the 10 NCAA Championships they’ve won. A daunting task in many ways since we were limited to about 10-12 pages per chapter. Daunting, too, given the reality of how technology has changed from their first victory against Tennessee in 1995, when our photographers were still shooting film, to this year when Cloe Poisson and Michael McAndrews covered them during each round digitally shooting both stills and video to try to satisfy the enormous appetite of our readers online, in print and through social media.

My how times have changed.

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Minneapolis, MN 4.2.1995 UConn women’s basketball head coach Geno Auriemma has enjoyed the ride that led to his first national championship. His players hoist him perfectly on their shoulders and carry him off the court. Photo by Brad Clift / The Hartford Courant

To view more photos and history of the UConn women’s basketball team click the View More link:

Passages from the Hartford Courant’s book,“Dynasty: UConn Women’s Ten-Title Season”, were used in each chapter here were written by John Altavilla, Hartford Courant UConn women’s basketball beat reporter.

To purchase the book go to this pre-order page:

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High Jumpers

03.31.2015 - Tolland, Ct.  - Tolland High School high jumpers Austin Enman (l-r), Devin Shelton and Wade Allen drill during practice. Photograph by Mark Mirko | mmirko@courant.com

03.31.2015 – Tolland, Ct. – Tolland High School high jumpers Austin Enman (l-r), Devin Shelton and Wade Allen drill during practice. Photograph by Mark Mirko | mmirko@courant.com

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UConn Buzzer Beaters

The UConn men’s basketball team has a history of winning at the buzzer. These nail-biting moments turn the volume up to 11 inside the arenas but they also give the sports photographers fits. In Friday’s AAC quarterfinal game against Cincinnati, the choice was easy: focus on Boatright. He nailed a 3 pointer with 0.2 seconds left on the clock.  All five players on the floor grabbed their point guard and danced across the court in a giant group hug. Classic. Next match-up is Tulsa in the semi-finals. Can they top this?

UConn Ryan Boatright 's 3 at the buzzer wins it for UConn and the team celebrates. Rodney Purvis, Amida Brimah, Daniel Hamilton, and Omar Calhoun, left to rt.

UConn Ryan Boatright ‘s 3 at the buzzer wins it for UConn and the team celebrates. Rodney Purvis, Amida Brimah, Daniel Hamilton, and Omar Calhoun, left to rt. STEPHEN DUNN|sdunn@courant.com

REMEMBER THIS ONE?With the clock winding down, Kemba Walker worked the floor and got off this shot at the buzzer to break a tie with Pitt and win the game in the 2011 Big East Tourney. They went on to win the NCAA championship that year.

REMEMBER THIS ONE?With the clock winding down, Kemba Walker worked the floor and got off this shot at the buzzer to break a tie with Pitt and win the game in the 2011 Big East Tourney. They went on to win the NCAA championship that year. STEPHEN DUNN|sdunn@courant.com

AND THIS?  Only a year ago, Ryan Boatright screams at the buzzer and is held aloft by Kentan Facey as his team become national champions.

AND THIS? Only a year ago, Ryan Boatright screams at the buzzer and is held aloft by Kentan Facey as his team become national champions.  STEPHEN DUNN|sdunn@courant.com