By Special Correspondent John Altavilla
If nothing else, this indoor and outdoor track and field season has made a definitive point about which programs reign in the state. And you won’t have to search the membership long to find out who they are.
On Wednesday at Veterans Memorial Stadium at Willow Brook Park in New Britain, on a day when many of the athletes turned to umbrellas to protect them the blazing sun, Danbury swept the 2018 CIAC Class LL Championships in runaway fashion.
Danbury’s boys won with 83.5 points, well ahead of both Manchester and Staples with 64 each. And the Danbury girls did even better, dominating the field with 94 points as Glastonbury was a distant second with 61 points.
And then consider this: In last season’s Class LL outdoor championships, the Hatter girls also finished first and the boys second to Staples. In the State Open, the boys were second to Hand of Madison and the girls second to Bloomfield
In this year’s indoor season, the boys won both the Class LL and State Open and the girls were second to Greenwich in both LL and the State Open.
It’d been quite the ride.
“I’m really proud of my team,” Danbury’s Lauren Moore told the Danbury News-Times.
And she should have been. Moore won two events, the 1600m Run in 4:58.22 and later in the 3200m Run in 11:10.64. Moore won the 3200m by more than 12 seconds to place her among the favorites to win state championships next week.
Lauren Moore in 1600m Run
Danbury’s other winners were Jaylyn Carter in Girls 100m Hurdles in 15.64 and Nathaniel Llanos who cleared 14-08 in the Boys Pole Vault. Sean-Michael Parkinson, a member of the meet record breaking 4x400 team, also won the Boys 200m Dash in 22.55. Parkinson was joined on the meet record setting 4x400m team by Phillip Melo, Glenroy Ford and Malcom Going as they finished in 3:19.38 over Manchester at 3:20.07. Both teams were under the former standard of 3:20.64 set by Staples in 2011.
Sean-Michael Parkinson at 200m finish
Going was a runner-up to Joe Pearl of Manchester in the 800m Run as Pearl led from wire-to-wire to win in 1:52.67 to set a personal record by more than 2-seconds.
Joe Pearl first place finish in 800m Run
Late in the meet Daniel Nichols of Danbury won the Boys 3200m with a personal record 9:07.30 by out-kicking Fairfield Prep’s accomplished senior Drew Thompson who finished in 9:09.90.
Daniel Nichols finished first in 3200m Run
But it was also a great day for other athletes, particularly the dominating senior field event performers from Southington who continued their roll, not only in Class LL but statewide.
Amanda Howe, the state’s top discus thrower, won the Shot Put with a mark of 39-09 and the Discus Throw with a toss of 134-07. The victory in the Shot Put helped erase the memories of her loss to Susie Okoli of Wilbur Cross during the Class LL indoor tournament, one she eventually reclaimed at the State Open.
“I was really upset about that [the indoor loss] because it was my senior year and all I wanted to do was end it on a high,” said Howe, who will attend Iowa. “So, I knew coming into [Wednesday] that I definitely wanted to come home with the win. …Even if I ended up finishing second again, I just wanted to put it all out there and know that I gave it everything that I had. Seriously, I’ve been working to win this one because it’s been bugging me ever since.”
Megan Biscoglio, the state’s top pole vaulter from Southington who is going to UConn, set a meet record in the event with a height of 12-01.50. She increased the former mark of 12-01 set by Jenna Calandro of Newtown in 2014.
“It was great. It was a nice day,” she said. “I came in with high expectations for myself. I did what I had to do. It felt nice, it was an awesome day with a little bit of a tailwind. This is an absolutely amazing program, one that has changed my life for sure. It got me interested in a sport I never thought I would be interested in, especially one I would do in college. I used to be a gymnast, but I had to stop after freshman season because of a shoulder injury.”
But maybe most interesting of all was the continued success of senior Janette Wadolowski, the state’s top-ranked javelin thrower. She won Wednesday’s event 117-08 in just her first season in the event.
“I actually had never done track before,” said Wadolowski, a former shortstop and the Hartford Courant’s Girls’ Basketball Player of the Year this season. “The first time I threw was during practice in April and in my first event I threw 90 [feet]. Everyone was so happy because it meant I had qualified for states. Then in my next event, in the rain, I qualified for nationals. And then at the Panther Invitational I figured I’d just go out and throw it and I set a PR at 121-02. And then everyone started asking me why I hadn’t tried this when I was younger.”
Wadolowski, who will play basketball at Tufts for former UConn star Carla Berube, said she will try to top the school record of 124 at next week’s State Open.
Newtown’s Carly Swierbut won the girls 400m Dash in 55.42 to set a new Class LL standard, breaking the 56.00 mark set last season by Hamden’s Alisha Gay, who finished second in 56.47 on Wednesday.
Carly Swierbut took gold in 400m Dash
It was also a great day for Greenwich’s outstanding long-distance runners, paced by senior Emily Philippides, who will run for Princeton next year. She began the day by outpacing Glastonbury’s Erin McGill on the final leg of the 4x800 relay as Greenwich won in 9:21.89 to 9:24.00 for Glastonbury.
“I knew Glastonbury had a strong anchor,” said Philippides. “I knew I should take [the race] out faster and as long as I stayed behind her and I had a lot of confidence in my kick and I felt I could get her at the end.”
Philippides, the state’s best in the 800m Run, later broke the Class LL record in the event with a time of 2:12.71 to eclipse the 2:13.47 mark set by Katie Foley of Trumbull in 2014. She teamed later with Sophia Bastek, Zoe Harris and Jordan Numme to anchor their victorious 4x400 team in 3:59.08.
Emily Philippides scored one of 3 gold medals in 800m Run
“I was really happy with my indoor year, which picked up at the end of the season,” said Philippides. “This season, my goal was just to have fun with my teammates before I headed off to college. I figured whatever happens will happen. But my favorite event, in general, is the 800.”
Allyson Lewis of Norwich Free Academy set a Class LL record in the high jump by clearing 5-08 to increase the former mark of 5-06.25 set by Elizabeth Lodge of Manchester in 2017.
Allyson Lewis cleared 5’8” for High Jump title & meet record
Glastonbury sophomore Selina Soule won the long jump, setting a school record of 18-02.25 to narrowly edge runner-up Tess Stapleton of Fairfield Ludlowe at 18-01.25
Other teams with same event victories included East Hartford with their boys and girls speeding to titles in the 4x100m relays in season best times of 42.32 and 49.37 respectively.
More double event winners included Newtown’s Brett Deri as he won the 110m Hurdles in 15.39 and then came back to win the 300m Hurdles in 40.56 seconds. Justin Forde of Brien McMahon took home double gold after winning the Long Jump at 22-02.50 and then the Triple Jump with a mark of 48-03.75.
Brett Deri Captured Gold in 110m Hurdles Final
The complete meet results are available for the CIAC Class LL 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 Veterans’ Park at Willow Brook Park in New Britain, CT on Wednesday, May 30, 2018.