It was an incredible weekend for Connecticut athletes at New Balance Nationals Indoor meet at the New York City Armory Track and Field Center. State athletes set state, conference, school and plenty of personal records in the three- day meet and took home plenty of medals against some of the best competition in the country in Championship and Emerging Elite events. The final tally of All-American performances by CIAC state athletes in the Championship events included the Hall Boys DMR Relay, Suffield Boys 4x800m Relay, Justin Forde and Sean Dixon-Bodie (Triple Jump), Malcom Going (800m) and Chet Ellis (High Jump).
Leading the charge was Justin Forde of Brien McMahon, the national leader in the triple jump who hasn’t competed in over a month due to an ankle injury. Forde, who has committed to the University of Miami, had a solid day in the long jump on Saturday finishing 12th with a near personal record of 23’3”. “I was happy because I haven’t been out here in a long time” Forde said after his competition. “It was close to my PR which is 23’5.5”.”
But after not competing for so long, when he was asked if he had the training to win the Triple Jump Championship event the next day. “I have the mindset, that’s all I have to say.” Well the mindset was all he needed as his first jump soared to 51’3”, a new Connecticut record (pending ratification) which held up throughout the competition for the national title.
Justin Forde leaped to a Triple Jump national championship title (photo courtesy of John Nepolitan)
Just over a foot behind Forde was Sean Dixon-Bodie of Bloomfield who took fourth with a two-foot PR effort of 50’2.” and earned his first All-American honors. He becomes just the second boy in Connecticut history to break the magical 50 mark indoor and is over a foot better than Omari Braswell’s former record of 49’3.5” set in 1995.
Sean Dixon-Bodie earned All-American honors in Triple Jump (photo courtesy of John Nepolitan)
Suffield High School’s 4x800m relay team of Cam Miller (1:59.50), Jared Sharp (1:55.12), Kyle Englander (1:58.87) and Nick Sinofsky (1:55.55) did their small town proud by taking 6th place in the Championship race in a time of 7:49.05. While they just missed Ridgefield’s state record time by.15 seconds, they were still happy with their performance. Senior Englander summed it up by saying “we put it all out there and we can’t get upset with missing the record, especially when you are All-American”.
The Wildcats swept the Class M, State Open and New England 4x800m relay championships this winter and Senior Cam Miller credits their success to the bond the runners have all had with each other since running together in middle school. “We are a band of brothers” he stated, “and we put our lives on the line today and we are happy with the results.”
Suffield High School’s 4x800m relay team that earned All-American honors (Photo by Marty Ogden, (c) MySportsResults.com
Suffield wasn’t the only Connecticut 4x800m relay team in the Championship event. The Xavier team of Peter Schulten (2:00.00) Ryan Grochowski (2:01.28), William Curran (1:56.08) and Pierre Sylvain 1:54.99 took 11th in a new school record of 7:52.36. The Falcons came back on Sunday morning with State Open 3200m champion Robbie Cozean running the 2-mile him break another Xavier record by running a 9:17.13 which placed him 23rd overall.
Hall High School’s distance medley relay has earned All American status two years in a row. Last spring, Miller Anderson, Muhammad Ali and Trey Cormier took fourth in the event at New Balance Nationals Outdoor Championships in Greensboro, NC. On Friday, those three were joined by Blake Morin and they combined to run 10:13.15, good for 5th place.
Anderson, the New England 1000m champion ran the opening 1200m leg in 3:06.45, with Morin running a solid 51.23,400m split, Ali splitting 1:58.41 for 800m and New England two-mile champion Trey Cormier anchored with a 4:17.06 1600m leg.
Hall Boys DMR earned a 5th place on podium for All-American honors (photo courtesy of Hall)
In one of the most anticipated races of the day for Connecticut track fans, Danbury’s Malcolm Going and Hall’s Miller Anderson lined up against each other in the seeded heat of the 800m Championship Run. Both athletes went under the New England record in the event at the Boston University Last Chance meet last Sunday with their times of 1:50.85 and 1:51.54. Coming into Nationals, they were ranked 2nd and 3rd in the nation.
The race went out in 26 seconds through the first lap, but the pack settled on the second lap and bunched up. Anderson, who likes to make a long drive for the finish to take out the finishing kick of the other runners, tried to go for the lead before the 600m mark with Going a few yards behind with little room to move up in the pack. On the back straightaway of the final lap, Going started to pass runners but the top two were too far ahead and Going crossed the line in 3rd place with a time of 1:52.63 and Miller finishing in 1:54.30, which was 13th overall. “I couldn’t make a move when I wanted to, because I was behind the main group” Going said. “I had a kick at the end, but I wasn’t in position.”
Malcolm Going finished 3rd in 800m run earning All-American honors (photo courtesy of John Nepolitan)
Connecticut athletes also shined bright in the high jump with New England champion Chet Ellis of Staples clearing 6’9” to tie for 3rd place and earning his second All American honor. On Friday, Berlin’s Patricia Mroczkowski cleared 5’8.75”. The State Open champion just missed All-American by one place, but it should be noted that her performance was the highest any Connecticut jumper has cleared in over 25 years.
Chet Ellis leaped 6’9” for All-American honors (Photo by Marty Ogden, (c) MySportsResults.com
Another strong event was the seldom raced 60m hurdles. Tess Stapleton of Fairfield Ludlowe has been undefeated in the 55m hurdles this season. The sophomore was finally challenged but she still managed to finish 5th in the prelims of the Emerging Elite event with a time of 8.72 which qualified her for the finals broke Jada Harris’ FCIAC and Connecticut All Time record by 06 seconds. In and the finals, Stapleton improved to 8.67 which placed her in 5th and earned her a NBNI Emerging Elite medal. The meet organizers even placed timing camera at the 55HH finish line and Stapleton’s time of 8.07 was a tenth of a second better than her winning time last week at the New England meet. The sophomore, who was also New England champion in the long jump, developed a tight calf muscle the next day in the long jump but still managed a jump of 17’11, good for 30th place.
Edward Williams won the EE 60m hurdles in a time of 7.94. The Sacred Heart senior was the State Open champion in the 55m hurdles and his time in the longer event was only .06 seconds off Miles Bradley 15- year old state record.
There was a big PR for Aaron Williams of Bloomfield who unleashed an 18-inch PR reaching 56’3.25” good for third place in the Emerging Elite Shot Put.
The Ridgefield girls took over the state lead in the distance medley relay this season and set their school record with a time of 12:07.08. The team of Gabriella Viggiano (3:40.65) Carolyn Donovan (1:01.721) Grace Michalowski (2:22.18) and Tess Pisanelli .(5:02.52) finished 14th overall, less than 15 seconds out of All- American honors.
State Open cross-country champion Eli Nahom of New Milford finished 13th in the 5000m in a time of 15:16.21. His time ranks in the top 10 in Connecticut history in an event the state has produced three national champions in the past 17 years.
Wilbur Cross boys continue their outstanding season and took 2nd in EE sprint medley relay with a time of 3:34.07. State Open 1600m champion Travis Martin anchored the team with a 1:56.90 800m split. Martin also placed 18th in the Boys 1-mile Run Championship in 4:18.40
Peter Fuller of Canton was a surprise runner up at the New England meet last weekend, clearing a personal record of 6’7”. The junior was able to duplicate his performance and take the silver medal once again in the emerging elite section of the high jump on Friday night.
After a wrist injury, right before the championship season, Sophomore Leah Moore of Hillhouse has returned to form and threw a half inch less than her PR in the shot put. Moore, who was leading the state before her injury, threw 41-8.5 to take 4th in the Emerging Elite Shot Put. She then made the finals in the Emerging Elite Weight Throw with a 48’5.5” to take 8th place.
Trinity Cardillo of Southington also medaled in the EE Shot Put taking 6th place with a toss of 40’10.5”.
Windsor girls’ 4x200m relay team of Cori Richardson, Zarieh Coleman, Jalah Cooper and Cyana Lindsay broke into the top 30 in the nation and took over the state lead with their 15th place finish with their time of 1:42.02 in the Championship event.
Mari Noble has really developed into a championship caliber runner this year with a State Open win in the 3200m and a runner-up finish in the New England two-mile. The sophomore from Greenwich dropped down to the mile the past few weeks finishing 2nd at Eastern States in 5:01 then another second to finish in 5:00.77 good for 5th in the Emerging Elite 1-mile. Noble finished her indoor season with state leading times in the 1-mile, 3000m and 3200m and two-mile.
The Cardinals can also boast of the state leading time in the 5000m run as senior Caroline Webb finished in 18:32.32 on Friday for 14th overall.
Connecticut native Maggie Hock of Avon has improved by leaps and bounds the past few weeks. The senior, who attends Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire, ran a three second PR last Sunday in Boston, finishing in 2:08.77. One week later, Hock was in the NBNI race with Athing Mu, the 16-year old who recently won USATF Nationals in American record time of 1:23.57. Mu took the race out in 28.5 which pulled the entire pack out fast. Hock went along with the field and came through the 400m split in a fast 1:01.83. Mu began to tie up the last 100m and was passed in the last few meters by freshman Roisin Willis who won in 2:05.70 with Mu .16 seconds back. But Hock was able to stay relatively close and knocked another second off her time finishing in 2:07.68 to take 6th.
Rankings and personal records noted above are based on performance lists compiled at Athletic.net.
The compete meet results are available for the New Balance Nationals Indoor on the Results page sponsored by soundRUNNER Scholastic with stores in Branford, Fairfield, Glastonbury and Old Saybrook.
Our good friend John Nepolitan was also at the meet taking his classic photographs of many of the top performers. View more NBNI photos at his site https://open-photo.smugmug.com/
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