By Senior Correspondent Marty Ogden
Connecticut athletes are preparing for the 74th New England Interscholastic Track and Field Championships at Thornton Academy, Maine this Saturday. The Nutmeg state will once again send a strong contingent to the regional championships and expectations will be high for athletes and fans alike. MySportsResults.com will once again provide complete coverage of all the action at the New England starting with our preview.
Ryan Raybuck of Greenwich has improved an entire second from his best time in the 100m from last year and in the process has earned the right to call himself Connecticut State Open champion. He is leading the charge of home state athletes in the short dash and is currently seeded 3rd behind the Rhode Island state champion Jaylen Smith of Shea High School. Hamden’s Christopher Pigatt is seeded 5th with his 10.86 but has run 10.79 at the SCC West championships. All six Connecticut qualifiers broke 11 seconds at the State Open and are seeded in the top 12. In a display of our depth, 3rd place finisher Malcolm Beckford of Bloomfield has scratched the 100m so he will be in full strength for his other events.
Boys 200 Meter Dash
Beckford, who is only a freshman, won the State Open with a time of 21.72, the 8th fastest freshman time in the country. He will be coming in as the 3rd seed behind senior Matt Zawaski of Bishop Feehan, RI who has run 21.58. Junior Christopher Pigatt of Hamden is seeded 8th and should be in the fast heat. Edward Williams of Sacred Heart, who has torn up the track in the 110m hurdles, has shown his speed with a 3rd place finish at the Open but ran a 22.02 at the Class S meet. Raybuck, the 100m Open champion will try to improve on his 22.21 PR from the Open but don’t overlook Cordell Holliday of Windsor and Kennedy’s Tariq Phillips who have both run significantly faster than they did at the Open.
Boys 400 Meter Dash
The 400m should be a real battle as seniors Mange Camara of Watertown, MA and Derby’s Ja'kwan Hale arrive as the top two seeds. Hale’s PR of 48.08 came from the Class S meet while Camara 48.08 PR is the fastest time in New England this spring that should make it a great duel. Glastonbury junior William Remkiewicz is also in the fast heat and should be a factor for a medal. Caleb Owen has broken 49 seconds at the SCC West meet and could move up from his 11th seed if he returns to that form again. SWC champion Baruch Goodman of Weston, Aidan Markward of Pomperaug and Andrew Rison of Glastonbury are all seeded in the top 18.
The 800m is anyone’s race to win with top seeds from almost each state. Top seed Darius Kipyego of Saint Raphaels, the Rhode Island state champion, will have a rematch with Classical, RI’s Conor Murphy who has run the New England leading time of 1:50.43 at the Hendricken Invitational. State Open champion Pierre Sylvain of Xavier is not entered in this meet so that means fast closing Stephen Sutton of Tolland will lead the Connecticut contingent with 3rd place finisher Rhys Hammond right behind him. Hall senior Miller Anderson has an incredible State Open with a 1:51.7 split, a 4th place open 800 in 1:55.38 and a 49.4 split on the 5th place 4 x 400m. Unless there are scratches, he will be in the 2nd heat, but he has the potential to be a medalist. Rounding out Connecticut’s entrants will be Luke Hanratty of Old Saybrook, Jose Ramirez of Bristol Central and Tobey Bill of Weston.
Boys 1600 Meter Run
New Hampshire state champion Jacob Winslow of Exeter was 6th at this meet last year and is ranked as the top seed. Connecticut Open champion Trey Cormier of Hall will skip the 1600m this weekend to concentrate on the 3200m and 2nd place finisher Robbie Cozean of Xavier will miss the meet entirely to run a fast 5k in the Battle Road Twilight Meet at Bentley University. Connecticut will still be well represented by Sam Whittaker of East Lyme and Edward Tristine of Fairfield Prep, who had a six second PR at the Open. Both are seeded in the top six. Matt Jennings, the surprise Class M champion, Shane Henderson of Old Saybrook, who also had a big PR at the Open and Robert Dillon of Shelton, who has a 4:19 1600m to his credit are our next qualifiers. Finally, sophomore Azaan Dawson of Fairfield Prep, who has also broken 4:20 for the full mile at the Dream Invitation, will be hoping to move up on his 16th place seed.
Boys 3200 Meter Run
Rhode Island 3000m Champion Maxwell Dimuccio of La Salle Academy is the top seed. The top two finishers from the State Open, Cozean and Aidan Puffer of Manchester did not declare for the meet. But State Open 1600m champion Trey Cormier, who has a sub 9 min 3200m to his credit from the Loucks Games is a slight favorite. He has already won cross country and the indoor 2-mile championship, so the Hall senior will be going for the triple crown. Freshman Gavin Sherry of Conard has the number two freshman time in the country for 3200m with his 9:14.17 from the Class LL meet. Connecticut has had a great deal of success in the distance events and will show off its depth. Staples duo Morgan Fierro and Mayo Smith took 5th and 6th at Open and will be looking to improve on their PRs. Rounding out the squad will be Xavier’s Peter Schulten and Shelton’s Robert Dillon who will be running their last races as Connecticut high schoolers.
Boys 110 Meter Hurdles
The Connecticut and Massachusetts state sprint hurdle champions will battle it out for New England supremacy. Junior David Peter of Stoughton High has run 13.99 and Edward Williams of Sacred Heart holds the 2nd best time in the region with a 14.03. Both have qualified for New Balance Nationals. State Open bronze medalist Deshaune Poole of Hillhouse will be sitting out this meet to get ready for Nationals next weekend. Richard Papa of Amity comes in as the fourth seed and will be hoping to make the finals. Chaz Williams will be carrying the New Britain banner as their sole representative and Spenser Brown of Immaculate will be the Mustangs first New England representative in the hurdles at New Englands. Juniors Osarentin Osagie of Norwich Free Academy and Enrique Lopez Garcia of Windham round out Connecticut’s hurdle squad.
Boys 300 Meter Hurdles
Jordan Williams of Brockton becomes the top seed since Poole, the fastest 300m hurdler in New England, is skipping the meet. While Lopez Garcia of Windham is only seeded 8th his 38.72 at the Class M meet is the 3rd fastest time this year. Adam Crawford of Ledyard, Papa of Amity and Sephton Reid of Bloomfield have all run faster than they did at the Open, so they will be hoping to move up on their seeds.
Boys 4x800 Meter Relay
The deepest year in Connecticut history has been marked with four teams breaking the State Open record in the 4x800m relay. Wilbur Cross runners gave up on individual goals to become Connecticut Open champions and they are ranked as top seeds in this meet as well based on their 7:47.20 winning time. But don’t count out the Hall High school athletes who were less than a second behind the Governors. Suffield, who were New England champions and All American during indoor track, will be looking to finish their year strong and repeat as champions. Ridgefield runners will miss this meet to run individual events at the Battle Road Twilight Series. While Tolland and Staples both broke 8-minutes at the Open are seeded in the top 10 the Danbury team can’t be ignored since they own the facility record of 7:47.99 and will use Malcolm Going, the state’s fastest 800m runner, on the anchor leg.
Boys 4x100 Meter Relay
Lasalle Academy of Rhode Island has the top seed but Windsor, the 3rd seed, has the top time in New England with their 41.96 from the Middletown Invitational. Greenwich won the Open with a 42.40 and are seeded 2nd and Shelton will be in the fast heat based on their 3rd place finish at the Open. Bloomfield, Hall and Pomperaug are all seeded in the top 20.
Boys 4x400 Meter Relay
Newton North of Massachusetts is a perineal New England power in the 4x400m and arrive as the top seed. MIAA champion Needham and State Open runner-up Ridgefield are not entered. But State Open champion Bloomfield will be there to challenge Newton North along with Glastonbury who ran 3:21.69 at the Class LL . Danbury will also be in the fast heat based on their 4th place finish at the Open and Hall, New Milford and NFA complete the Connecticut qualifiers and all seeded in the top 16.
Boys High Jump
It was an exciting day at the State Open when Staples senior Chet Ellis broke the all-time CT record with his jump of 7-feet-half-inch. The height makes him the top seed at the New England meet with Maine’s Cayden Spencer-Thompson only an inch and a half behind and Lowell’s David Ajama the number three seed at 6’10”. Many of Connecticut’s qualifiers had personal record from meets other than the Open. Peter Fuller of Canton was New England runner-up during indoors with a 6’6.75” and Matt Santy of Enfield was 5th at the Open, but cleared 6’8” at the CCC East championship. Sean Dixon-Bodie of Bloomfield had a great Class S meet where he set his PR of 6’6”. Yazeed Amadou of Manchester, Russell Powell of Daniel Hand and Amity’s Shaun Graham complete the Connecticut qualifiers.
Boys Pole Vault
The boys pole vault features senior Travis Snyder of host school Thornton hoping to repeat in front of his hometown fans. He is the overwhelming favorite with a best of 16’9.25”, which is US #9.
But Connecticut sends a strong vaulting squad led by State Open indoor and outdoor champion Hayden Rovelli of Coginchaug who has a PR of 14-06. Sophomore Matt Bigelow of Weston surprised even himself when he made a one-foot personal record, clearing 14-6 at the Open. Naugatuck’s Zack Kosloswky has consistently been over 14 ft with a best of 14’6” is hoping to bring home a medal. Junior Aidan O’Connor of Lewis Mills has the 6th best vault in New England with his Class M victory of 14’3” and seniors Joseph Hinckley of Stonington of Stonington and Pomperaug’s Riley Fitzpatrick both set PRs at the Open to arrive as the 12th and 13th seeds.
Boys Long Jump
We are going to have to wait another week to see if Justin Forde of Brien McMahon can break any outdoor state records. The senior is taking this weekend off to prepare for Nationals next week so that leaves Cayden Spencer-Thompson of Mattanawcook as the top seed. Sean Dixon-Bodie, who helped lead Bloomfield to the State Open championship, is seeded 7th and will look to move up a spot to take home a New England medal. He will be joined by his teammate Anthony Simpson who is seeded 9th. Derby’s Zerion Montgomery, Israel Henriques-Setho of Hall and Jelani Johnson of Killingly are al seeded in the top half of the field.
Boys Triple Jump
Dixon-Bodie of Bloomfield was All American in the triple jump indoors when he jumped 50’2.5” inches to place 4th at NBNI. He is hoping to duplicate that effort and overtake top seed Cayden Spencer-Thompson of Mattanawcook. If Dixon-Bodie does reach his PR, the meet record of 50’1.5”, set by Robert Howard 25-years ago, could be in danger. Bloomfield also has sophomore Korey Steele entered in the triple jump and is seeded fifth. Enfield’s Matt Santy will be competing in the triple and high jumps where he is seeded 8th in the triple. Leonardo DaGraca of Wilby along with Israel Henriques-Setho of Hall and Owen Bianchi of Greenwich are all scheduled to make the trip and are seeded in the top 16.
Boys Shot Put
The Throws are particularly strong for the Constitution State. It is highly improbable that anyone will beat heavy favorite Aiden Felty of Innovation Academy, MA who won Indoor Nationals and is currently ranked top ten in the United States. Connecticut sends three throwers who are seeded in the top eight and could come home with New England Medals. Aaron Williams of Bloomfield set his PR of 55-6.75 to win the Open is seeded 6th. But his teammate Nicholas Campbell’s best throw of 56’2.5” from the 88th Greater Hartford Invitational is currently the 5th best throw in the region. Windham’s Natanael Barbosa Torres comes in with the 8th seed in the meet. Nathan Quaye of Manchester arrives with a best of 55’3 from the Loucks Games and Simsbury’s Jonathan Prell has thrown a 54’7” could all move up significantly on their seeds if they come close to reaching their best throws. Open discus champion Michael Campbell of Bloomfield qualified in the shot as well and could also be a factor.
Boys Discus Throw
Kyle Moison of Lincoln is the Rhode Island state champion with a throw of 176-04. He will face Michael Campbell and Aaron Williams of Bloomfield who are seeded in the top eight. Williams has the leading throw in Connecticut with his 161’0” from a dual meet in May. Jonathan Prell of Simsbury, Troy Baxter of East Hartford, Fitch’s Thomas Joyner and Natanael Barbosa Torres also represent Connecticut.
Boys Javelin Throw
Sophomore Ian Hall of Rogers High in Rhode Island leads all javelin throwers with a 214-5 mark. But Jordan Davis, a junior from Sheehan, has thrown 208’1 in the SCC championship and will give Hill a run for the money. Joseph Venables of Coginchaug hopes to conclude his senior year in style and is seeded 6th with a 182’1” with New Milford junior Andrew Grinnell a place behind in 7th. Gabe Fountain of Manchester and Adam Crawford of Ledyard are also seeded in the top 20.
Stayed tuned for the upcoming preview of the Connecticut Girls contingent competing at the 74th New England Interscholastic Track and Field Championships.
Rankings and personal records noted above are based on performance lists compiled at Athletic.net.