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CT Athletes Arrive Early in 2019 Indoor National Rankings

Created at 1/8/2019 10:44 AM  by Marty Ogden 
Last modified at 1/10/2019 10:24 AM  by Ron Knapp 

logo The winter vacation break is over, and the 2018-19 indoor track season is in full swing. With the 37th Yale Interscholastic Track Classic arriving on Friday and Saturday it is a good time to look back on the early season meets and see which Connecticut athletes are making an impact on the state, regional and national scenes.

Field events often get overlooked, but some of Connecticut’s best athletes won’t step foot on the 200m oval. Connecticut has several athletes who have already qualified for New Balance Indoor Nationals with highly ranked performances.

Brien McMahon’s Justin Forde had given up basketball and is competing for their indoor track team for the first time. This was a good move for the senior who is currently leading the nation in the triple jump with his 49’5” mark from the recent Elm City Coaches Meet in New Haven. His performance surpassed the 1995 Connecticut state indoor record mark of 49' 3.50” set by Omari Braswell of Hartford Public. Pending certification, the McMahon senior will put his name in the all- time state record book for the first time.

Forde is tied with Chet Ellis of Staples for best in the state and is ranked second nationally in the high jump with his 6’10” leap at the Hillhouse Qualifier in December. David Kris of Trumbull set the state indoor record of 7-0 in 1992, which Forde has tied with his personal record from outdoor track. If he can duplicate his performance this winter, he would add another new entry into the state record book.

Chet Ellis

Photo by Ron Knapp,

Competition often bring out the best in championship athletes and senior Ja'Kwan Hale of Derby High, last year’s State Open high jump champion, has already cleared 6’8” at the 3rd Wilton Wright Invitational. He is tied for the third best jump in the nation. The three great athletes will battle it out in the championships meets and have a chance to take home some hardware at New Balance Indoor Nationals in March.

Ja'Kwan Hale

Photo by Ron Knapp,

Only eleven boys have broken the 50-ft mark over the past three years in the boys shot put in Connecticut. So far this season, nine young men have surpassed that magic barrier as we approach the halfway point.

Senior Michael Browning of RHAM is the defending indoor and outdoor State Open champion in the event. The senior has already thrown 58’10.5” and has consistently thrown over 56-feet this winter. Browning is currently ranked ninth nationally and will take aim at the state record of 63’3 set by Melmoth Taylor of Hartford Public in 1969, which is entering its fiftieth year in the books.

Michael Browning 

Photo by Ron Knapp,

The girls shot put is equally as deep as the boys with seven girls over 38-feet so far this season. Sophomore Leah Moore of Hillhouse is the only girl over 40-feet with her personal record of 41’9” set at the Rhode Island Classic in December. This performance is ranked seventh nationally and is only five inches off qualifying for the championship section at NBIN.

Leah Moore 

Photos submitted by Gary Moore.

The girls long jump is a crowed affair with six athletes at 17’6” or better led by Shenqua Campbell of Bloomfield with her PR leap of 18’1” set at the North Shore Invitational.

State Open 100m and 200m outdoor champion Terry Miller has transferred from Bulkeley High School to Class S champion Bloomfield. Miller is currently leading the state with a 39.41 (US #6) 300m dash and 7.12 for the 55m dash (US #11).

This list of highly ranked athletes will mostly likely grow after the meet at Yale this weekend. Look for complete coverage, including race videos, pictures and athlete interviews on sponsored by soundRUNNER Team Nights with stores in Branford, Fairfield, Glastonbury and Old Saybrook.

Rankings noted above are based on performance lists compiled by