An all-time favorite quote by Yankee great Yogi Berra of ‘It ain’t over till it’s over’ appropriately summarized the chase for the team titles at the CIAC Class LL Indoor Track and Field Championship meet on Saturday night at the Floyd Little Athletic Center in New Haven.
Often in high school track and field meets, the chase for team titles is decided by the outcome of the final event on the oval, the 4x400m relay. The relay is special because it highlights a team within a team scenario requiring the extraordinary efforts of four individuals needing to overcome fatigue and competition with many if not all athletes having been in previous events. On Saturday night, both team titles were decided by the exciting outcomes of the 4x400m relays.
Every Point Counts for Boys Championship Title
The Hall Boys team needed a relay victory to overcome an early 59 to 50-point lead by Norwich Free Academy built mainly on strong field performances. The Hall quartet of Joseph Morin, Tobias Ruffo, Muhammad Ali and Miller Anderson knew they had to win the race to win the meet. And they did exactly that with a season best time of 3:31.34 to earn Hall 10 points and the 60 to 59 final edge for their first Class LL team title.
As the three-time Class L champions, the Hall Boys coaches Scott Sampietro and Jeff Billing knew that the move up to the Class LL meet this year would be a challenge where every point would make the difference to win another title against five-time defending champion Danbury as well as talented Glastonbury, NFA and Wilbur Cross teams.
The Hall Boys team relied heavily on a special senior class to score oval points since they didn’t have any top ranked field athletes. Most of their points came from the middle distance and distance events; a 1000m first by Miller Anderson in 2:36.84 and 5th by Dylan Rendon and huge second place efforts by Trey Cormier in the 1600m and 3200m runs.
Aside from the final 4x400m relay win, important points came for Hall in the other relays as well with a third in the 4x200m, a fourth in the 4x800m and a second in the 1600m Sprint Medley anchored by Anderson. Their only other points were in the 600m run by Ali.
The Norwich Free Academy Boys team early lead was fueled by three victories; Osaretin Osagie in the 55m Hurdle final (7.89), Jacob Bazinet in the Pole Vault (13’6”) and Jahiem Spruill in the Long Jump (21’8.25”).
Important points also came for NFA in the Shot Put from Cameron Belton (2nd-53’4”) and Adelino Daviega (3rd-52’3.5”) behind the winning toss of 53’10” by Nathan Quaye of Manchester.
Spruill added a 6’2” second place effort in the High Jump as Chet Ellis of Staples cleared 6’9” to set a new meet record held originally by Nick Frimpong of East Hartford in 2007.
The title defense by Danbury relied on senior standout Malcom Going who tripled with a 600m run win in 1:24.01, a lighting fast quick last lap of the 800m leg of their winning 1600m Sprint Medley relay in 3:38.06 and as an anchor in the second place 4x400m relay team.
A furious last 800m kick by junior Jacob Hefele in the 3200m run to finish in 9:21.83 secured winning points for Danbury as he gapped the talented field that included runner-up Cormier (9:24.83), third place Kedar Chavin of Fairfield Ludowe (9:25.53) and early leader Aidan Puffer of Manchester (4th-9:26.86). Hefele commented on his winning strategy, “I know I don’t have a great last lap kick so I had to go with 800m to go.”
Other top-rated performance included a sizzling 1600m run finish by senior Travis Martin of Wilbur Cross in 4:19.79 as the top 9 runners finished at 4:30 or better. In a close finish, Christopher Pigatt of Hamden edged Joel Sterwart of Enfield for the 55m dash title, 6.50 to 6.57.
Class LL Champion Hall Boys team and coaches. Photo courtesy of Coach Scott Sampietro
Another Exciting Girls Championship Finish
The Danbury Girls team had built a 72 to 63 lead over Glastonbury. Waiting their turn in the final heat, the Danbury Girls 4x400m relay team of Meilee Kry, Alex Chakar, Cassandra Sturdevant and Jessica Glowacki knew they had to finish at least fifth or better to hold off the top seeded Glastonbury squad. Although the Glastonbury final time of 4:02.28 earned them first place, the Danbury fifth place finish in 4:13.90 gained them two points and a final 74-73-point team title over Glastonbury. The Glastonbury team of Molly Harding, Maya Bridgeford, Grace Sparrow and Samantha Forrest entered the Class LL Meet record book replacing the previous best of 4:02.43 set by Glastonbury in 2017.
The drama of the chase for the Class LL Girls Championship title was just as exciting as Danbury sought to claim their sixth Class LL title over defending champion Greenwich and perennial powerhouse Glastonbury. Although the final 74-73-point difference was secured by their 4x400m relay team, Danbury relied on heavily of their distance stars to get the job done.
Sophomore Daniella Grullon-Pena finished second in the 1000m (3:09.94) as Kate Hedlund of Manchester won easily in 3:04.42. Senior leader Lauren Moore then won top honors in the 1600m run in 5:12.188 with frosh teammate Stephanie Queiroz taking third. All three combined to finish 2-3-4 to score 18 points in the 3200m behind the winning effort of 11:06.55 by sophomore Mari Noble of Greenwich.
Danbury coach Nick Fratecelli commented “The girls in the 3200m ran great. I told them they had to go out in 41s and they were like metronomes. We’ve lost many meets by a point. Its sure nice to be on the other side.”
In the Long Jump that featured the top five of six over 17’0”, Danbury’s Meilee Kry and Giuliana Robles finished 3-4 as winner Tess Stapleton of Fairfield Ludowe (18’0.25”) nipping Selina Soule of Glastonbury (18’0”).
Stapleton had won the 55m hurdles earlier in a meet record 8.25 that eclipsed the former time of 8.35 by Vickie Milledge of Simsbury in 2016.
With an explosive start, the 55m dash title was not in doubt after the midpoint as Conard senior Kate Schaffer set a new school and personal record of 7.24 as FCIAC champion Maya Mocarski of Fairfield Ludlowe finished second in 7.33.
The Pole Vault featured a 1-2 finish by the sister act from Norwich Free Academy with Paige Martin edging Madison, 11’3” to 10’6”. The High Jump featured another NFA winner as Allyson Lewis cleared 5’6” to equal her meet record she shares with Elizabeth Lodge of Manchester.
Although the Shot Put featured a winning toss of 39’6.5” by Trinity Cardillo of Southington, the Hall took 2nd, 4th and 5th places with Katherine George, Mira Mohler and Dinaka Onoh.
The Ridgefield team performances were highlighted by victories in the 4x800m (9:35.35) and the1600m Sprint Medley relays (4:20.02).
Kamilah Diaz of East Harford won the 600m run with a personal record of 1:38.73.
In addition to the Glastonbury 4x400m relay victory, Samantha Forrest won the 300m dash in 41.42 and also teamed with Soule, Harding and Bridgeford to win the 4x200m relay in 1:45.43.
Class LL Champion Danbury Girls team celebrate another title. Photo courtesy of Coach Nick Fratecelli
Rankings and personal records noted above are based on performance lists compiled at Athletic.net.
The complete meet results are available for the CIAC Class LL Indoor Track and Field Championship on the Results page sponsored by soundRUNNER Scholastic with stores in Branford, Fairfield, Glastonbury and Old Saybrook. The meet was held at the Floyd Little Athletic Center in New Haven CT on Saturday February 9, 2019.
NOTE: MySportsResults.com publishes the results received/posted from meet directors and timing companies. If you don't see your results or if you think that the results are incorrect then ask your local coach to contact the meet director to send us the corrected meet results. Do not send an email to MySportsResults asking to correct the posted results.