By Special Correspondent John Altavilla
If fate is kind, there eventually will come a time for every high school program when extraordinary talent converges with opportunity to create the memory of a lifetime.
For the last two seasons, indoor and outdoor, state and New England, Southington’s girls field program has been distinguished by the performances of Amanda Howe, its shot put and discus maven, and Megan Biscoglio, its pole vaulting diva. Through the force of their accomplishments, the Knights have become something to be reckoned with.
But no one could have expected them to do what they did on Monday during the CIAC State Open Track and Field Championship at Willow Brook Park in New Britain.
Without a single runner in the meet, victories by Howe in the Shot Put (40-04) and Discus Throw (132-03), Biscoglio’s win in the Pole Vault (12-06) and a fourth-place in the Javelin Throw by Class LL champion Jeanette Wadolowski, the Knights gathered the 35 points they needed to win their first State Open championship over 3-time defending champion Bloomfield (32), Danbury (28) and Greenwich (27).
Biscoglio’s clearance of 12-06 was a personal best and tied the State Open Meet record originally set in 2013 by Weston’s Emily Savage.
Meanwhile, Danbury’s boys, winning the 4x400m relay to end the meet, won their first championship in seven years with 51 points to sneak past Derby (46.5), Staples (36) and Bunnell (35). Danbury also won the State Indoor title this season.
“I just felt confident that we were going to execute our events,” Hatters coach Rob Murray told the Danbury News-Times. “I felt confident because the guys on the team, they trust their experience, and they trust, more importantly, the tradition of what Danbury track and field is.”
Southington coach Connor Green was naturally ecstatic about the victory.
“It’s pretty surreal, to be honest,” said Green. “I knew we had the potential to be top five.”
Still, it wasn’t official until the end of the 4x400m relay, the final event off the afternoon. All Southington could do was watch and hope.
“It feels ridiculous. I was competing in the discus and I was told we were in first place and I was thinking ‘Oh my God, this is insane’, said Howe. “I didn’t think we would stay there. So when the 4x400 started, the whole team was screaming, we were at the end our seats. Well, actually we were standing up.”
Everything worked out. Hamden won with Ridgefield, Greenwich, Bloomfield and Glastonbury behind. The title was Southington’s.
“To finish the discus with 35 points in the bank and then needing to watch the 4x400, in which we didn’t have one [a team], that was pretty nerve wracking,” said Green. “I had never found myself rooting for Greenwich and Glastonbury as much before. Those teams are top-tier and to be thought of now among them means a lot to us.”
The Hatters’ boys won three events, the 4x400 (Philip Melo, Glenroy Ford, Malcolm Going and Sean-Michael Parkinson) in 3:20.87, Dan Nichols took the 3200m Run (9:09.91) and Nate Llanos cleared 14-0 for the victory in the Pole Vault.
Derby senior Brian Jalowiec won the Javelin Throw (180-06). Jalowiec, who swept the field events last week to lead the Red Raiders to the Class S title, defended his state championship and set PRs in the Shot Put (51-02) and Discus Throw (150-08), finishing third in the discus and fifth in the shot. And Ken Little won the 800m Run in thrilling fashion with a huge second half surge that propelled to a PR time of 1:52.05.
Staples got victories from William Landowne in 1600m Run (4:12.60) and Chet Ellis in the High Jump (6-06). Xavier won the 4x800m Relay in 7:56.28 from the first of 2 heats, Deshaune Poole of Hillhouse took the 110m Hurdles (14.57) and Leon Campbell of Hartford Public won both the 100m (10.93) and 200m (21.92) dashes.
Other event champions included Aren Seeger of Naugatuck in the 300m hurdles (38.00) and Career’s Dyshon Vaughn leaped 23-09 for gold in the Long Jump. The Triple Jump featured a huge mark of 49-06.50 by winner Justin Forde of Brien McMahon.
The 400m Dash included the top 6 finishers under 50-seconds led by Kymali Hay of University in 48.67. Bunnell had the fastest 4x100m Relay of the meet in 42.59 with the quartet of Christ N’Dabian, Jonathan Cineus, Ramsley Exantus and Eilijah Henry.
RHAM’s Michael Browning used his second-to-last last throw (55-07) to overcome Hand’s Mike Burchell in the Shot Put (54-01) and finished second to champion Bernardo Mbaya of Crosby (157-10) in the Discus Throw.
Southington’s Howe, who will attend the University of Iowa, followed up her indoor title by winning the Shot Put on her first throw.
“It feels really good. My first throw was a PR, which I thought was amazing because the shot is the event I had always struggling,” said Howe. “I knew if I wanted to win I needed to put in my best effort and I did a lot of drills before the make sure my technique was right. So I stepped in and the weirdest thing was that the best throws feel easy and it didn’t even look that far when I walked out. I wanted to be over 40 outdoor because indoor I was consistently over 40. To come out and finish first meant a lot. All the blood, sweat and tears paid off.”
Biscoglio, who finished third at the State Indoor this past season, will go to UConn. She was naturally happy with her meet and personal records. Green believes she can vault 13-0 for UConn in her first indoor season.
“I feel awesome,” said Biscoglio, who took up track in ninth grade after two shoulder injuries ended her gymnastics career. “Finally, I got the PR I have been chasing. So I am really happy. One of our friends was joking that if they kept score of only the field events, we’d win. And it happened today.”
“I think it [the loss indoor] really lit a fire. Not that I ever lost [outdoor], but sometimes you need to get knocked down to make you work harder,” she said.
And Wadolowski, who had never picked up a javelin until April, and who will play basketball at Tufts for former UConn star Carla Berube, finished fourth (110-08) behind Killingly’s Ally Conde (118-00).
It was also a great day for many other girls, beginning with Greenwich senior star Emily Philippides, who won her third straight 800m Run State Open Championship (2:11.78) after running the anchor leg of the winning 4X800m Relay (9:13.58) with Kate Ragone, Hetty McMillan and Zoe Harris.
“If I would go back to my freshman season and think what I’d be doing now, I could have never imagined it,” said Phillppedes, who will attend Princeton. “I won my first title as a sophomore and I just decided that I needed to keep doing it and not regress by not winning the following year. So that’s been my goal, defend my title.”
Katherine Jacobs of Northwest Catholic won the 100m Hurdles (14.50). Carly Swierbut of Newtown won the 400m Dash (55.48) and Emma Langis of Ridgefield won the 300m Hurdles (44.38).
“Considering the cold, I thought it would be harder to get out and get low to the hurdles but the crew I was running with, it was a lot easier because they were pushing me to go as fast as them,” said Jacobs, who recovered from shin splints earlier this season.”
Windsor (Cori Richardson, Tia Marie Brown, Camille McHenry and Shavanice Green) won the 4x100m relay in 49.45. Rachel Fleischer of Derby won the Triple Jump (38-04.75) and Patricia Mroczkowski of Berlin won the High Jump (5-08). The Long Jump featured a dual between Erica Marriott of North Haven and Oliva Bowes of Hall as Marriott leaped 18-01.75 on her final attempt to edge Bowes with a mark of 17-11.50.
Hamden’s winning time in the 4x400m relay was with Andreya Gardner, Aisha Gay, Alysia Joseph and Emma Cayward. And in another strong performance, Pomperaug freshman Katherine Wiser showed a late quick kick to win the 3200m Run in 10:36.72.
Sophomore Elizabeth Stockman of Rocky Hill won a down-to-the-wire 1600m Run in 4:59.15 as Danbury’s Lauren Moore finished four-hundredths of a second behind her at 4:59.19.
Terry Miller of Bulkeley finished first in the Girls 100m Dash (11.72), and finished first in the Girls 200m Dash (24.17).
The complete meet results are available for the CIAC State Open 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 Monday, June 4, 2018.