Connecticut claimed 11 championship plaques and 94 All New England certificates in relays or individual events on Saturday during the New England Track and Field Championships at The Reggie Lewis Track in Boston.
The Nutmeg State dominated the relays taking five of the six gold medals. Bloomfield's quartet of Zaidra James, Cheyenne Brown, Andrea Mills and Cassidy Palmer broke the CT state record in the 4 x 200m last Saturday at North Shore HS Pre- National Invitational with a 1:40.66. While they couldn't quite duplicate that performance again, they still managed to win by a little over two seconds with a time of 1:41.95.
James and Mills teamed up again for the 4 x 400m and were joined by Jahleah Harris and Jillian Mars. This race was much closer as the lead changed several times before the sophomore Mars was able to hold off Alexandra Damron of Ridgefield to take home her second gold medal of the day. Bloomfield's time of 3:58.63 was also the 36th fastest time In the country and Glastonbury, who won the previous heat in 3:59.21 ranked 45th nationally. Surprisingly, Connecticut's six entrants in the event finished in the top nine and all qualified for either the championship or the emerging elite sections of New Balance Indoor Nationals next weekend.
While Glastonbury finished 2nd in the 4 x 400m, they came away with a new Connecticut state record in the 4 x 800m and led our state to a 1-2-5-6 and 7th finish in the event. The Tomahawks' team of Morocca Wiley, Kaylen Hughes, Olivia Allen and Erin McGill combined to run a 9:13.06 which broke Hillhouse's four-year-old record by a little under two seconds. They ran the 2nd fastest time in the United States while Ridgefield's 2nd place time of 9:14.55 is ranked US #4. Greenwich's 9:17.32 for 3rd was good enough for the 15th best time in the country and even 6th place Weston earned a 35th place national ranking with their time of 9:28.18.
Danbury boys continued to excel in the relays and they started off their day by defending their title in the 4 x 800m. The Hatter's first two runners Trevor Reed and Malcolm Going hovered in the pack and handed off to Daniel Campbell brought Danbury into the lead for the first time with a 1:57.5 split. St. John's High School of Mass regained the lead but senior Terrell Cunningham, who has been a member of three other New England championship relay teams, patiently waited until the last 50m to make his final move and claim another victory for Danbury with a time of 7:57.60.
Going, Campbell and Cunningham joined forces with junior Sean-Michael Parkinson in the 4 x 400m to claim another win for Danbury in a time of 3:22.81. In a photo finish, Cunningham edged out Jordan Greene of Newton North in MA who was a mere .006 seconds behind.
The brightest individual star of the day had to be Weaver's Mark Doyley who sped to the meet record in the 55m dash with a time of 6.33. The All- American sprinter's time is currently ranked 3rd in the country. With very little recovery time after the trial and finals of the dash, Doyley came back to claim his second gold medal in the 300m with the 13th best time in the country of 34.24.
Other championship performances included Vickie Milledge of Simsbury who tied the state's best time of 8.25 in the 55HH. Connecticut dominated the event with Zaidra James of Bloomfield, Penda M'Bengue of Norwalk and Danbury's Bridget Chiaravalle taking 2nd, 3rd and 5th.
One of the biggest surprises of the day, Weston's Stephen Tyler came in as the 9th seed and left with a New England championship plaque. He took over the lead with two laps to go but was passed by Andover's Devin Connell who held the lead until the last 40 meters. Tyler found another gear and claimed the win with a time of 3:31.53, just over a tenth of a second ahead of the MA junior.
Brittany Jones of Bloomfield continued her undefeated season by winning the shot put with a throw of 43'10 go give the War Hawks their 3rd New England title of the day
Greenwich's Scott Safir won the high jump with a leap of 6'9 and earned a second medal with his 21'7.5 jump which was good for 6th place.
In one of the best non-winning performances, Trumbull's Tyler Gleen went against the New England record holder in the event Rodney Agyare-May of Burncoat, MA. RAM, as he is known, took it out hard and Gleen did all he could to stay close. The Trumbull senior managed to gain on the winner, but Agyare-May held on to break world record holder Cas Loxsom's meet record in the event with a time of 1:18.31. Gleen, the defending champion still managed to run a personal best and the 3rd best time in the country with a 1:19.52.
With the many outstanding distance runners that have come out of Fairfield County the past few years, merely great runners can be overlooked. Well, Fairfield Warde senior Will Brisman has made great strides his senior year. Last winter he wasn't even breaking 10 minutes for 3200m, much less qualifying for the New England meet. In the space of one year, Brisman has dropped to a best of 9:16 and won the State Open in the event. At the New England meet, the Fairfield Warde star, ran with the pack and went after eventual winner Patrick O'Brien of Oyster River, NH with a furious kick on the last lap. While he came up short against the Footlocker finalist, he ran the second-best time in the country with a 9:13.55. Cheshire's Brendan Murray also ran well and took 4th with a 9:14.30.
While Connecticut didn't take home a medal in the 2 mile, four Nutmeggers set big PRs. Trumbull's Katelynn Romanchick took 7th in 10:53.63 good for a number 16 national ranking. Bridget Selfors of Mercy took 9th in 10:55.12, Fairfield Ludlowe senior Sarah Leatherwood finished 11th in 10:55.89 and Morgan McCormick of Wilton also broke 11 min by .06 seconds. All have earned top 30 national rankings.
Many Connecticut track and field athletes will conclude
their season this upcoming weekend with the New Balance Indoor Championships in
New York City. Look for previews from
CT.Milesplit once the final event entries are posted.