Connecticut athletes have made it an annual pilgrimage to compete in the Glenn D. Loucks Games at White Plains, NY. While there are always dozens of outstanding performances every year, the 3200m is always the highlight of the Friday night sections of meet.
Of the five Connecticut athletes who have ever gone under 9 minutes for 3200m, four have done it at Loucks. Well you can add two more names to the list as Xavier’s Robbie Cozean took 3rd in 8:54.78 and Trey Cormier of Hall High finished two place behind in 8:59.72.
The field included Matthew Payamps of Saint Anthony's who finished 2nd at the St. Anthony’s Invitation 800m last weekend in 1:50.97 and was 2nd last year at the Loucks Games 3200m. The senior showed his range by winning Friday in 8:52.30 with New Balance Nationals Indoor two-mile runner up Ryan Oosting of Arlington, MA right behind finishing a half second behind in 8:58.81.
Cozean was in the lead pack the entire race and made several moves toward the front, but the junior was no match for the top two who both finished in 58 seconds over the last lap. But Cozean showed the guts that would have made any coach proud. He went out in 4:32 for the first half of the race but came back and ran 4:220 for his last 1600m which is better than his personal record for the distance with a last lap of 60 seconds. Not to be overlooked is New England 2-mile champion Cormier who became the seventh Nutmeg distance runner under the magic 9-minute barrier.
Xavier’s Robbie Cozean of Xavier in the 3200m (Photo Courtesy of John Nepolitan @ https://open-photo.smugmug.com/2019-Loucks-Games/ )
In the first heat, freshman Aidan Puffer continues to have a season that any senior would be envious. After his national freshman record for 5k at the Connecticut Distance Festival, he just added another feather in his cap with his 9:10.33, which won the 1st heat and finished 10th overall. Puffer went right to the lead which he never relinquished. He went through the 1600m in 4:34 and had a six second lead. What appeared to be a maniacal pace for a freshman was proven to be within Puffer’s control. He came back for a 4:36 2nd half and ran the fastest freshman time in the US this season.
In the girls 3200m, we may have seen a new State Open favorite come into her own. Bethel freshman Ava Graham was in the mix for the 1600m win at the Middletown Invitational until the last 100m with many of the best runners in the state and took 3rd in 5:06.22. Flash forward one week and the 9th grader, who didn’t start running until this December, took 2nd in the first heat with a new state leading time of 10:57.36 which was good for 8th overall.
Two places back was All New England 3200m runner Katherine Rodrigues of Wolcott who finished in 11:00.32 which is currently the 2nd fastest time in Connecticut.
Zoe Harris of Greenwich took over the state lead in a new 800m PR of 2:15.18, good for 10th place. Only two places behind in the 800m was Ridgefield’s Grace Michalowski who finished in 2:15.34.
Zoe Harris of Greenwich finishes 800m (Photo Courtesy of John Nepolitan @ https://open-photo.smugmug.com/2019-Loucks-Games/
Distance runners weren’t having all the fun. Justin Forde of Brien McMahon continued to impress and took 2nd in the long jump with a new PR of 24’1.5” which is good for 26th in the US. Also taking 2nd was New England indoor champion Tess Stapleton Fairfield Warde who had her 3rd best jump ever with a 18’7.5”.
Windsor sprinter Cori Richardson set a new personal record, taking 5th in the 200m running 25.31
Here are the top Connecticut performances from Thursday night at Loucks Games.
· Men’s Open DMR: 1 Fairfield Prep 10:38.63 - Josh Bacon, Azaan Dawson, Caleb Bolden and Eddie Tristine
· East Coast Challenge Men’s DMR 5th Ridgefield 10:34.14
· East Coast Challenge Women’s DMR
4th Ridgefield 12:09.14 - Gabby Viggiano, Emma Langis, Grace Michalowski, and Tess Pisanelli
7th Immaculate 12:08.08 - Angela Saidman, Maura Murphy, Molly Coyle, Taylor Masceetta
· East Coast Challenge Men’s SMR - 2nd Wilbur Cross 3:00.49 - Devin Cue, Jasiah Barnes, Caleb Owen, Travis Martin
Rankings and personal records noted above are based on performance lists compiled at Athletic.net.