By Special Correspondent John Altavilla
The wide expanse of the 31 schools in the Central Connecticut Conference annually produces some of the top athletes in every sport the CIAC offers. Athletics is a way of life, a matter of pride and tradition that carries over from one generation to the next.
In no sport is this truer than track and field where conference teams, indoor and outdoor, within the state and New England, win, place and show with great regularity.
“A lot of it has to do with tradition,” said Glastonbury track and field coach Brian Collins. “Many of the schools have excelled in sprints, distance or throws over time. The kids want to emulate what’s been done in the past. They want to be a part of the success of their school.”
Tuesday at Hall High in West Hartford, in the mist, rain and chill that has come to define the subpar conditions during much of the spring season, the CCC West (Glastonbury, Simsbury, Southington, Hall. Conard, Avon, Farmington and Northwest Catholic) came together again to compare notes.
“This conference is so tough,” said Simsbury coach Lorenzo Milledge said. “It prepares us very well for the class championships and in some ways its much tougher. The kids always improve here every year and we have great coaches. …What I like best about the conference is that we’re all one team. We want to see our conference win. We don’t care who it is, as long as its someone in our conference.”
Let the record show that the Glastonbury girls (183.40 points) and Hall boys (178 points) won team championships with some spectacular performances.
For Glastonbury, sophomore Selina Soule’s victories in the 100 meters, 200 meters and long jump and senior Erin McGill’s wins in the 400 and 800 meters led the way.
Soule’s long jump of 17’6.75 and 100 time (12.57) were personal bests as was McGill’s 400 (57.57). McGill is ranked fourth in the state this season in both the 400 and 800.
“There are a lot of strong teams in the conference because everyone on the track pushes one another,” said McGill. “If there’s a great athlete, whether they are on your team or not, it pushes everyone else. I’ve been doing a lot of sprints recently, I really enjoy it, but I haven’t been able to run the mile as much. But I’ve also ran a couple 800s and am looking forward to doing more it the championship season.”
For Hall, junior Miller Anderson’s wins in the 800m and 1600m events, junior Trey Cormier’s victory in the 3200m run, junior Blake Morin’s first in the 200m dash and the continuing domination of its 4x400m and 4x800m relay teams paved the way. Hall’s 4x800 has logged the fastest time in the state this season (8:00.06).
“We just love competing against each other,” said Hall coach Scott Sampietro. “For instance, I love that Glastonbury is in our conference. I always say, I’d rather lose to Glastonbury than win by 100 points. It just consistently elevates competition when you have one of two good schools.
“As for out distance teams, they’ve developed over the last 20 years. Miller and Troy are special. The entire 11th grade group is just something you don’t see every day. They work hard. To have a group like that train with keeps you hungry to run faster.”
The performance of many CCC West teams during the indoor season served as a perfect tee for the spring. Dinedye Denis of Simsbury was second in New England in the 55 meters and third in the 300. The Glastonbury girls were first in the 4x800, the Hall boys first in the 4x800 and Southington’s Amanda Howe was second in the shot put.
All those teams and individuals continue to perform well in the spring, although Collins has been constantly shifting personnel on his 4x800 to keep everyone competitive and fresh for the upcoming class and state championships.
“We work together well as a team, whether it’s just or eight participating,” said McGill. “We have a great variety of kids who can run a great 800. …You never know when coach might throw you in.”
In addition to Soule’s three wins, other multiple winners for the girls on Monday were Simsbury sophomore Dagny Edwards (1600m and 3200m runs), Avon senior Carly Carpino (100m dash and 300m hurdles) and Howe (shot put and discus throw).
Northwest Catholic’s Katherine Jacobs and Carpino and rank second and third this season in the state in the 100-meter dash.
Howe sailed the winning throw of 136-00 in the discus throw on her first attempt before fouling on her last three. Howe is first in the state in both discus and hammer throws and third in the shot put.
Simsbury also took the 4x100m and 4x400m and Southington and Simsbury finished ahead of Glastonbury in the 4x800m relay.
As usual, Southington dominated the field events. Megan Biscoglio, the state’s best pole vaulter, won with a jump of 10-06, two feet short of her personal best of 12-07. She is ranked first in the state in her event.
Allie Brown took the high jump and Janette Wadlowski won the javelin throw with teammates Mikaela June (second), Julia Groll (fourth) and Alijah Vega (fifth) right behind. Wadlowski is also ranked first in the state.
On the boys’ side, Northwest Catholic’s Deante Anderson won the 100 meter dash and long jump. And Simsbury’s Jonathan Prell took the shot put and discus throw, winning that event with a toss of 139-02 after fouling on his first three tries.
“That was my goal (to win both), but personally I didn’t do as well as I thought I might have,” said Prell. “I fouled on my first three throws and my shot wasn’t what I wanted. But it was a good day. Everyone just builds off each other and when one (competitor) gets better, the others follow.”
In the javelin throw, Southington took the top three spots with Cameron Clynes, Ryan Middendorf and Jamie Lamson and Zach Burleigh won the pole vault.
The complete meet results are available for the CCC West Division Outdoor Track & Field Championship on the Results page sponsored by soundRUNNER Team Nights with stores in Branford, Fairfield, Glastonbury and Old Saybrook. The meet was held at William Hall High School in West Hartford, CT on Tuesday, May 22, 2018.