With an improvement in the temperature, the outdoor track season has really started to heat up this past weekend with so many great results, it’s hard to know where to begin. So rather than trying to rank all of them, let’s go in chronological order from when they happened, but we will save the best for last.
CT Steeplechase Exhibition
On Friday evening Manchester High School hosted the CT Steeplechase Exhibition to provide athletes an opportunity to compete in the seldom run event. Nonnewaug senior Eddie Nicholas was 2nd at the CIAC steeplechase championship last year with a time of 9:55.46. Under the tutelage of his sister and coach Jackie, who was an All American in the event and is still the state record holder in the 2k distance, Eddie has come a long way in one year. He knocked off 21-seconds from last year and finished in a time of 9:34.0 which currently ranks 8th all-time in CT history and 4th nationally to date.
Eddie Nicholas won the Class SS meet in cross country
E.O. Smith Twilight meet
A half hour drive to the East in Storrs was the E.O. Smith Twilight meet where Joseph Lanham of Coventry cracked the 200-foot mark in the hammer throw with a toss of 202'3” which ranks 3rd all-time in Connecticut. Lanham has set a personal record in each of his three hammer competitions this spring and currently has the 8th best throw nationally.
Bloomfield dynamic duo of Aaron Williams and Nick Campbell continue to push each other to greater distances with Williams taking 2nd in 179’5” and Campbell getting 3rd in 168’3” with both qualifying for New Balance Nationals Outdoor in the hammer throw.
Leah Moore of Hillhouse and Trinity Cardillo of Southington both made qualifying performances in the hammer going 1-2 with Moore reaching 141’7” and Cardillo only four inches behind. CREC Academy of Science had their first ever national qualifier when senior Morgan Sartor earned a place in the emerging elite section with her throw of 131’2”.
Leah Moore won the shot put at the Middletown Invitational on Saturday
Bloomfield’s 800m sprint medley relay teams both secured national qualifying performance. Jaylon Nealy, Malcolm Beckford, Shakur Hill and Kymali Hay ran a full second better than the qualifying performance with their 1:34.98. Meanwhile, the Lady War Hawks also earned their way down to North Carolina. Jahmiha Lindo, Elicia Colon, Shante Brown and Jillian Mars combined to run 1:49.08.
Amity Spartan Midnight Invitational
A little farther south at Amity High in Woodbridge was the Amity Spartan Midnight Invitational on Friday. When the CIAC dropped the 5000m from its state championship format in the early 2000s, many distance coaches disagreed with the decision. Amity coach Jon Faitsch decided to put on a meet that highlighted the event. The past eight years, some of the best distance runners in the state have come together to see how their track training is preparing them for cross country in the fall.
Amity’s Connor Visnic defeated a deep field and finished in 15:23.65. The Providence College bound senior had his breakout race at this meet last year and has since gone on to earn All-New England honors in cross country and took a very close 2nd at the indoor 3200m State Open.
Much like Visnic, runner up Austin Hutchens of Fairfield Warde made his first appearance in the national rankings at the meet on Friday night running a 15:33.80, which ranks 43rd in the country.
There were ten athletes who broke 16 minutes with Warde and Danbury each taking three of the top ten.
Middletown Varsity Invitational
Among dozens of nationally ranked performances at the Middletown Varsity Invitational on Saturday was Gavin Sherry of Conard who ran a 4:18.80 for the 1600m. The time is currently the 3rd fastest freshman time in the country. The 9th grader, who was 2nd at the State Open and New England championships in cross country, is only six seconds off the national freshman leader. Unfortunately, Connecticut has never kept class records, but this performance must be one of the best freshmen 1600m performances in state history.
Freshman Gavin Sherry of Conard at the Middletown Invitational
St. Anthony Invitational
Across the Long Island Sound, one of the best 800m races in the country included two Connecticut athletes at the St. Anthony Invitational in Huntington, NY. Rivals Malcolm Going of Danbury and Miller Anderson of Hall joined a star- studded field for the sole purpose to run fast.
Going went right behind the rabbit at the gun and stayed in the lead back until the last 150m when Bronxville’s Matt Rizzo and Matthew Payamps of St. Anthony’s pulled away and ran 1:50.93 and 1:50.97 which is good for the 3rd and 4th best times in the US. Going hung on for 4th place in a personal record of 1:52.28 with Anderson a place back in 1:54.88. The Danbury senior, who was 4th at Indoor Nationals, now holds the 14th fastest time in the US with Anderson just outside the top 100.
We started our coverage of this weekend’s meets with the steeplechase and we will finish it. The state’s best performance of the weekend came from Hall’s Trey Cormier who also traveled to the St. Anthony’s Invite on Saturday. The senior, who is committed to Dartmouth, broke his own state record (pending ratification) and also earned a US #1 ranking in the event by running 9:15.19 for the 3000m distance. Besides his coach, Everett Hackett, who was the previous state record holder, Cormier has had 2 x Olympic steeplechase finalist, Donn Cabral providing advice. With his natural athleticism, he has found an event that could take him to the winner’s circle this year and for many years to come.
All-Time Connecticut Boys 30000m Steeplechase Top Performance List
The CT state record before the internet era was Kevin O’Keefe from 1978. There may be a few additions to this from 1979 through the mid 1990s. Any additions (with evidence) to this list can be sent to Marty Ogden at email@example.com
Rankings and personal records noted above are based on performance lists compiled at Athletic.net.