The big invitationals have passed for many Connecticut teams and athletes as they prepare for the conference championships that will start Saturday. Connecticut male athletes have already made a big dent in the national rankings and we may have several who will score highly at New Balance Nationals Indoor Championships slated for three days - March 8th, 9th and 10th at The Armory in New York.
Forde Leaps to National Lead
One of the brightest stars is Brien McMahon senior Justin Forde who competed in The VA Showcase Presented by The US Air Force last weekend and came away with a win and the US #1 ranked triple jump. His jump of 51-0, once certified, will be a new Connecticut State Indoor record. While the triple jump is not often competed during the winter, he is only 10.5 inches shy of Rayford Sutton’s 25-year-old record in the outdoor event.
Forde also came away with a silver medal in the long jump with a personal record of 23-5.5, the 7th best in the country so far this season. He also managed 4th place in the high jump with a clearance of 6’4, which is six inches lower than his season best from the Hillhouse Qualifier in December.
Reflecting on his weekend, he said “I am very excited of what’s coming next. I was only hoping to break 50 today and see what happens. My goals are to jump over 24 feet in the long jump, 6’10 or more in the high jump and 51 plus in the triple by the end of the season.”
Contributed photo by Rudy Matute
Going Taking His Speed Up in Distance
Defending New England 600m champion Malcolm Going of Danbury has been attempting to move up in distance this season and finished 8th in the 1000m with a personal record of 2:33.36 at The VA Showcase meet in Virginia. While he was expecting to run faster, his coach Rob Murray said “he got boxed in off the fast start and needs to race more at that level. It was definitely a positive learning experience.”
The Danbury senior has already run a US #3 time of 1:20.77 after winning the Yale HS Classic Invite 600m Run Championship and also owns the best 1600m Run time in the state this season (#13 US) with his 4:20.73 performance at the North Shore HS Invitational.
Jumps Are Looking Bright
While Forde and Going are looking strong this year, both have plenty of competition in their events. In the High Jump, Forde has competition from two seniors, Derby’s Ja'kwan Hale, the defending Indoor State Open champion and Chet Ellis of Staples, the defending Outdoor State Open champion. Both Ellis and Forde have best efforts of 6’10” this season while Hale is close behind with a 6’8” effort. With Forde and Ellis tied for US#2 and Hale ranked at US #6 we have the makings of a mini national meet at the State Open.
While Forde’s 23-foot plus jump makes him the favorite, all of his other jumps this season have been in the 22-foot range. Bloomfield junior Sean Dixon-Bodie has cleared 22 feet twice this season with a season best of 22-10.25 winning the East Coast Invitational in Rhode Island last weekend. With three other jumpers over 22 feet including Andel Smith Jr (Granby Memorial), Jahiem Spruill (NFA) and Neal Eley (Hillhouse), we can expect a very competitive long jump at the State Open.
Hall’s Anderson Continues to Impress in Distance
If Going moves up to the 1000m, it may be a clash for the best in state since he will most likely face defending State Open Indoor champion Miller Anderson of Hall-West Hartford who led wire to wire winning the Yale HS Classic Invite 1000m in 2:30.98, which is currently a US #12. Last weekend, Miller moved up in distance and used his middle-distance speed to win the New Balance Games 2-mile Championship event with a 9:21.79. The additional runner in the mix for the 1000m is junior Rhys Hammond of Stonington who has a CT#2 and US#15 effort of 2:31.85 from the Dartmouth Relays. Miller also anchored his Hall teammates to a win in the Yale HS Classic Invite Distance Medley Relay. His split of 4:18 gave the Warriors a total time of 10:22.96 which currently leads the nation ahead of the US#2 LaSalle Academy RI (10:23.22) and US#3 Northwood MD (10:23.70) teams.
Photo Courtesy of John Nepolitan (https://open-photo.smugmug.com )
Potential State Records May Go Down
Edward William of Sacred Heart Academy in Waterbury defended his 55m High Hurdle title at the Yale HS Classic Invite with a personal record of 7.39. His performance is not only the 5th best time in the US this season, he can also lay claim to the 2nd fastest time in state history. The current State Record holder, Myles Bradley of Norwich Free Academy, ran his 7.26 fourteen years ago at the State Open, a time within reach of the SHA senior.
Speaking of records, the Bloomfield Boys threw down a 3:22.22 time in the 4x400m Relay at the Yale HS Classic Invite. The time moves them to #2 All Time in Connecticut. With several championship meets coming up, Danbury’s state record of 3:21.32, set at the 2004 National Scholastic Indoor Championship, could be challenged.
Rankings noted above are based on performance lists compiled at Athletic.net.
Connecticut Conference Championship Week Schedule:
Saturday - 1/26 – 9:00am - CCC Championship @ Floyd Little Athletic Center, Hillhouse HS New Haven
Saturday -1/26 – 9:30am - FCIAC East Division @ Wilton HS, Wilton
Saturday -1/26 – 10:00am - FCIAC West Division @ Staples HS, Westport
Sunday -1/27 – 2:00pm - CRAL Championship @ Hartford Public HS, Hartford
Monday- 1/28 – 4:30pm - NVL Championship @ Floyd Little Athletic Center, Hillhouse HS New Haven
Tuesday - 1/29 – 4:15pm - NCCC Championship @ Floyd Little Athletic Center, Hillhouse HS New Haven
Thursday - 1/31- 4:00pm - FCIAC Championship @ Floyd Little Athletic Center, Hillhouse HS New Haven
Friday - 2/1 - SCC Championship @ Floyd Little Athletic Center, Hillhouse HS New Haven
Saturday - 2/2 – 10:00am - ECC Division 1 Championship Meet at US Coast Guard Academy, New London
Saturday - 2/2 – 4:00pm - ECC Division 2 Championship Meet at US Coast Guard Academy, New London
Saturday -2/2 – 10:00am - Shoreline Conference Championship @ Floyd Little Athletic Center, Hillhouse HS New Haven
Saturday - 2/2 – 5:00pm - SWC Championship @ Floyd Little Athletic Center, Hillhouse HS New Haven