By Senior Correspondent Marty Ogden, Photographs by Ron Knapp
On Saturday under clear skies in Greensboro North Carolina, it rained medals at the New Balance Nationals Outdoor Track and Field Championships and many of them landed on athletes from Connecticut. The Nutmeg State is one of the smallest states in the country, but it has taken more than its fair share of honors, taking home three national championships in a single day.
Hall High School had a day for the ages, winning the national championships in the 1600m Sprint Medley Relay, breaking Wilbur Cross’ state record 17- year old record by three quarters of a second. Seniors Yovan Rivera (200m), Blake Morin (200m), and Muhammad Ali (400m) teamed up with Miller Anderson (800m) to finish in 3:26.26, the fastest time in the United States this season.
Their finish time was a combination of talent and raw desire as Rivera, Morin, Ali and Anderson had a more difficult time in trying to determine how much sleep they had over the past two days. Their 12-13 hours of total sleep over the past two nights were the result of a late Thursday night-early Friday morning graduation celebration and a multi-delayed Friday night and 3am Saturday morning arrival in Greensboro.
After clean exchanges between Rivera to Morin to Ali, Anderson received the baton from Ali in the final exchange in fifth place that he overcame with a lifetime best 1:51.05 split to bring the team to the top of the podium.
With his best jump coming in the first round of the finals, Brien McMahon’s Justin Forde swept the indoor and outdoor national titles in the triple jump. His jump of 51' 6” was his third time over 51-feet this season. The future University of Miami Hurricane won the Penn Relays in April with his personal best of 51’9.75”, which is the second-best jump in Connecticut history.
A third National championship on Saturday came from Footlocker National Cross Country Champion Sydney Masciarelli of Northbridge MA and Marianapolis Prep in Thompson, CT. The sophomore, who won the 5000m Championship in a nationals leading time of 16:16.20 on Friday, doubled back the next day to take the 2-mile Championship in 10:11.99.
First year javelin thrower Jordan Davis of Sheehan has really taken to the event, winning the State Open, taking 2nd in the New England meet and now earning All-American status with his third place finish. His best throw of 207'6” came in the fifth round and was only seven inches off his personal record from the SCC Championship.
While Forde stole much of the limelight in the triple jump this year, junior Sean Dixon Bodie of Bloomfield has shown he has the potential to take over the championship mantle next year. Dixon-Bodie took home his second All-American certificate this year, taking fourth at New Balance National Indoor and then 5th place on Saturday with a personal record of 50’5.25”. His jump gives him the 5th best jump in Connecticut history and he is also the best returning jumper in the country.
These All Americans weren’t the only outstanding performances from Connecticut athletes. Medals also flowed to state athletes in the Emerging Elite and Freshman competitions on Saturday.
Sophomore Leah Moore of Hillhouse took 5th place in the EE Hammer Throw with a distance of 138-10. Her PR of 144’2”, which came at the Greater Hartford Invite, is ranked 31st nationally and she has the 4th farthest throw for sophomores in the country.
State Open champion Malcolm Beckford of Bloomfield finished second in the Freshman division of the 200m dash in 22.22. His winning time from the Open of 21.72 is currently the 8th fastest freshman time in the country.
The Bloomfield Boys team continued to show why they were the best team in the state this season and collected even more medals. State Open runner up in the Shot Put, Nicholas Campbell of Bloomfield, was fifth in the Emerging Elite Hammer with a throw of 171-9.
Other outstanding performances from the championship sections on Saturday included Wilbur Cross HS who took 10th in the championship 1600m Sprint Medley Relay. The team of Devin Cue, Jasiah Barnes, Caleb Owen, and Travis Martin combined to run an outstanding time of 3:29.72 with Martin splitting a 1:54.16 800m leg.
Unfortunately, Bristol Central was disqualified in the SMR. Their unofficial time was 3:29.85 with Jose Ramirez splitting a big PR 1:53.71. The race is worth watching to see Ramirez who tucked in behind the leaders the entire way and ran an incredible last 100m to win their heat.
Class S 3200m champion Eddie Nicholas of Nonnewaug finished 14th in the 2000m Steeplechase Championship in a time of 6:08.13. He has been guided by his sister/coach Jackie, who holds the girls state record in the event, to the 10th fastest 2000m steeple performance All-Time in CT.
Freshman Gavin Sherry of Conard took 14th in the Championship section of the 2 mile in 9:19.16 to mark his 4th consecutive time under 9:20 in last 17 days of championship racing in his first track season.
Jenna Zydanowicz of Hall took home another medal with her 6th place in Girls EE 2mile race in her PR 10:53.14 the day after her 3rd place in EE 1mile.
Class L champion Jason Sawicki of Notre Dame-West Haven earned a fifth place medal in the Emerging Elite High Jump clearing 6-4.2.
Bloomfield, the State Open champions, put all their best sprinters in the EE 4x100m to run the 2nd fastest time in the state this season of 42.22 for a 23rd place finish. The team of Malcolm Beckford, Jaylon Nealy, Shakur Hill and Kymali Hay combined to just miss their school record of 41.61 by just over half a second.
The Danbury girls’ team of Meilee Kry, Meilee, Jessica Glowacki, Jessica, Alanna Smith and Daniella Grullon-Pena ran 4:09.57 to take 14th in the EE 1600m SMR. Their time just barely missed their school record which their team ran at the Dream Invitational in May.
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On the other side of the country, Malcolm Going of Danbury took 6th in the 800m at the Brooks PR Invitational in the CT #1 time of 1:52.23. The New England champion in the 600m indoors, ran his fastest outdoor time to become ranked 44th nationally.
Also at the same meet, Staples graduate Henry Wynne, continued his professional career for Brooks Beasts and finished 2nd in the 1500m, running 3:35.14.