Danbury Boys, Bloomfield Girls Dominate CT State Open

                                                                                                                                

Few teams have dominated their competition as much as Danbury boys and Bloomfield girls have done Monday night at Floyd Little Athletic Center in New Haven.  Danbury managed to defeat 2nd place finishers Staples and Shelton 55.25 to 28 and Bloomfield girls won in an even more convincing fashion with an 83.50 to 30 point win over Danbury                  

Boys Team Title

Danbury boys have won 12 State Open titles out of past 20 years including four consecutive in 2001-2004 and three in a row from 2007-09.  But this was their biggest margin of victory since 2008 when they won by 40 over Wilbur Cross.  They took the 2017 title with a balanced attack in which they scored in eight of 15 events, including a win in the final event of the night, the 4 x 400m relay. 

The team of Sean-Michael Parkinson, Malcolm Going, Daniel Campbell and Terrell Cunningham faced strong challenges from Hamden who ran 3:29.44 in the 2nd heat and then their cross-town neighbors Immaculate who came up hard on the anchor leg to go for the win.  Cunningham was able to find another gear to pull away from Immaculate's Sean Fahey to win the event in 3:27.86.  While the race was a great way for the Hatter to finish the meet, this win was clinched long before that event. 

 The Hatters did most of their scoring in the relays where they took 2nd place in the 4 x 200m, 4 x 800m and sprint medley relay along with their winning 4 x 400m.  Those events alone were enough to take the title.  

But Danbury also had strong individual performances from Cunningham who took 3rd in both the 600m and 300m in 1:23.88 and 36.28.  Junior Christopher Cledera has improved by leaps and bounds during this indoor season to take 4th with a time of 6.67 in the 55m.  Classmate Nathaniel Llanos, who has been injured since the fall and has been forced to limit his practice time, tied his PR from last winter and still managed a jump 13'6 to take 4th place.  Another junior, Sean-Michael Parkinson took part in the winning 4 x 400m and came back to take 6th in his best time at Hillhouse this year with a 36.58.

 Girls Team Title

While winning the State Open has been commonplace for Danbury, the Bloomfield girls finally took their first Open title after being one of the most successful programs in Connecticut over the past few decades.  Last week, they won their 8th consecutive Class S title and have enjoyed much success at the New England and national level.  But winning the State Open has been an elusive goal for the War Hawks who finished 2nd last year, only one point behind Windsor. 

 Nine difference girls scored in the Open for Bloomfield in nine events, winning seven and setting one state record.  Of all the athletes that had outstanding nights on Monday, no one had a better night that senior Cassidy Palmer who has run 7.10 or better four times this winter in the 55m.  Her one goal that had eluded her was breaking 7 seconds which would be enough to break Stacey Anne Smith's school and state record.  After she cross the line and the time flashed up as 6.99 seconds, her excitement was evident over her record which is the number 9 time in the country this season.  Palmer also won the 300m in another PR with a time of 39.96 to be the only Connecticut girl under 40 seconds this winter.  She did all of this after anchoring Bloomfield to a four second victory in the 4 x 200m, which was only .3 seconds off the State Open meet record. 

 Not to be overlooked on Bloomfield's team were seniors Zaidra James, Brittany Jones and junior Jahleah Harris who each won individual events.  James, who came in seeded 3rd, took the 55HH in a mild upset and ran a 8.25, the 39th best time in the country.  She also contributed to the winning 4 x 200m and 4 x 400m to join Palmer as a triple winner.  Jones, continued her domination of the shot put all season and defended her title with a throw of 44'11.25 to remain undefeated this winter. Finally, Harris, came in as the top seed in the long jump and rose to the challenge with a jump of 17'9.  She then came back to run a leg of the winning 4 x 400m which ran 4:01.06 to walk away with two gold medals.         

 Boys Highlights

Outside of the battle for the team title, there were many outstanding individual performances.  All American Mark Doyley of Weaver won his 3rd State Open in the 55m, tied his season best with a New England leading 6.40.  He also came back to take his first Open win in the 300m with a time of 34.96.

Trumbull's Tyler Gleen continues to be unstoppable in the 600m where he has been undefeated in the event against Connecticut competition for the past two years.   His time of 1:21.58, while off his best of 1:19.98 he ran last year at New Englands, shows great promise as the bigger meets come up.  His next big challenge with be at New Englands where he will face Rodney Agyare-May of Burnncoat, MA who recently won the Armory Invitational and set the New England record of 1:18.40.  Gleen also anchored his sprint medley to another win with time of 3:39.34.

The 3200m was supposed to be a coronation for CT cross country champion Zakeer Ahmad of Staples who has had an outstanding season running 4:15 for at the Millrose Games high school mile and just missing the state record in the 3000m at the Yale Invitational.  But no one told Fairfield Warde's William Brisman who challenged him the entire way and battled Ahmad down the back straightaway and refused to give in to the race favorite all the way through the finish line.  Brisman has improved nearly a minute over his 3200m since last winter and pulled out the win with a time of 9:16.26, only two tenths of a second ahead of Ahmad.   Both athletes are now ranked number 11 and 12 in the US. 

The pole vault has continued to improve in Connecticut and even with injuries to a few of the state's top returning vaulters from last year, it was still an exciting competition.  At 14 feet there were still three athletes left in the competition.  But Milan Spisek, who was one of only two Connecticut athletes to clear 15 ft did it again on his first attempt at the height and won his first State Open title after finishing 6th last year.  This gives him the 3rd best jump in New England and he is currently ranked 51st nationally. 

 Girls Highlights

In the girls' competition, Gabriella Viggiano, Tess Pisanelli, Anna Landler Katherine Jasminski started the the day started off big for Ridgefield by winning the 4 x 800m in a New Balance Indoor National qualifying time of 9:29.73.  Fairfield Ludlowe also got under the mark to qualify for the championship section of NBIN by running  9:31.91 to get second.

 After finishing 2nd and 3rd at the State Open the past two years, junior Leah Sarkisian of Danbury finally took her place in the winner's circle with a time of 1:37.79.  She came back to run a 61 second split in the 3rd place SMR and then ran 60.7 to anchor the 4th place 4 x 400m.  Olivia Turk, Natalee Seipio and Cassandra Sturdevant also ran that final event that clinched the runner up spot in the meet for the Hatters.

Middle distance star Emily Philippides continued her fine season by winning the 1000m and defeating last year's champion Katherine Deloreto of Tolland by just about a yard with a time of 2:58.99.  Philippides moved up to 1000m after winning the Open last year in the 600m and is working on moving up to the 1600m.  After running a 5:09 last week in the Class LLs to barely finish 2nd to Kate Romanchick, she came back again and took 5th in the 1600m in 5:15.72.  She then finished off her day to run Greenwich's anchor leg in the 4 x 400m that finished 7th, only .05 seconds behind 6th place.

UConn bound senior Mia Nahom has been among the state's best for the past four years, but has finally won her first State Open championship by winning the 1600m in 5:02.93.  While she ran faster at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix meet in Boston, where she ran 4:56.90 for the full mile, she won on Monday by about eight seconds and was never seriously challenged.  She will get that challenge when she faces New Balance winner Jacqueline Gaughan of New Hampshire who won the New Balance Junior Mile in 4:52 next Saturday at New Englands.

Cross country State Open champion Morgan McCormick of Wilton enjoys coming from behind to win races. She used the same tactics to win the longest distance event for indoor track by breaking 11:00 minutes for the first time with a performance of 10:56.15.  She comfortably ran in the pack most of the race until she made one big move on the back straight away with four laps to go and almost immediately put a gap between herself and the rest of the field. 

Finally, in the girls' pole vault, seven girls were still in the competition once the bar hit 11 ft. AmyErin Zadroga of Tolland, Danielle Cass of Weston and Lia Zavattaro of Greenwich remained jumping at 11'6 and took part in the most competitive pole vault competitions in CT history.   But when Zadroga cleared 12 ft on her first attempt to tie Jenna Calandro's State Open record, the others couldn't respond which allowed the Tolland senior to defend her State Open title in the event.

 New Englands

The top six finishers in all events, except the sprint medley and pole vault have qualified for the 30th Annual New England Indoor Track and Field Championships on Saturday, March 4th at the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Facility in Roxbury, MA. Click on this link for complete details.  2017-New-England-Indoor-Track-Packet.pdf

CIAC State Open Indoor

Meet Results

Girls Highlights

Boys Highlights


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