New Haven, CT - The CIAC Class action meets began on Thursday, February 13 and wound up with the Saturday afternoon Class M events. Anybody who headed down to Hillhouse's Floyd Little field house to see records get broken certainly got their fill as the four meets witnessed two state records and a total of ten Class meet records. Five records were earned in track events, and five were taken in field events, and there were many other close calls as records were missed by hundredths of a second.
Perhaps the two headliner records were the state bests, and there is a bit of a story for both of them. Going into her LL finals on Thursday, Tess Stapleton of Fairfield Ludlowe owned the LL meet record at 8.26 in the 55m hurdles and had twice run just a hundredth of a second off the state record of 8.06, with one of the 8.07's coming from a 5th at last year's New Balance Indoor Nationals and the other from her prelim race earlier in the LL meet. And we must confess here that due to a confusion about names, Stapleton wasn't listed as the top hurdler in MileSplit's CT rankings going into the meet, an error that has been cleaned up. Whatever, Stapleton blew away all the previous times for the 55H as she dipped below 8:00 with a stunning 7.96 time, a tenth of a second better than Hillhouse's Keisha Haughton 8.06 way back in 1999. Stapleton finished off her day by flying out just 3 inches short of the LL meet record to win the long jump.
It was unclear what the distance duo of Conard's Gavin Sherry and Manchester's Aidan Puffer would undertake at the LL meet. As it happens, they both chose to have another classic duel in the 3200m while eschewing the 1600m. The race began four hours after Sherry anchored his 4x800m Conard squad to the title after taking the stick in 5th place following a miserable hand-off, but just four seconds behind. Grabbing a short-lived lead with 300m to go, Sherry won the lean at the end to beat out Danbury by .02. The later 3200m race had maybe a little less drama as Sherry and Puffer exchanged the lead in the early going, but Sherry opened up a small margin later on as the two navigated the gauntlet of lapped runners. The winning time of 9:06.06 not only far surpassed Fairfield Prep's Drew Thompson's LL meet record of 9:17.09 in 2018 but also edged FP's Christian Alvarado's official state record of 9:07.63 from 2014. Puffer was second in 9:09.06. Both guys know that there are still a lot of barriers to surpass, because Darien's Alex Ostberg laid down an 8:48.88 in the longer 2 mile with a close 3rd at NBIN in 2015.
The LL meet witnessed two more meet records as Brien McMahon's Korey Morton saved his best for the last by following his 5th-best seeding from prelims to race to a 6.42 that nicked Danbury's Michael Lorick's 2007 record of 6.44. Norwich Free Academy's Paige Martin destroyed Southington's Megan Biscoglio's mark of 11-8 from 2018 as she repeated last year's win of 11-3 and upped the ante to 12-3.5 this time. Martin needs 2.5 more inches to get the NBIN standard for the Championship level.
Class L got a record by the smallest margin, but Simsbury's Elsa Martin (no relation to Paige, who does though have fellow triplets) held on for a 1:36.64 time that bested Fitch's Julia Rozier's mark of 1:36.65 in 2004. The Class M field girls had a field day, bagging three meet records. Tianna St. Louis of Tolland skied to 5-6.5 in the high jump to break Berlin's Patricia Mroczkowski's record from four years ago. St. Louis also got the NBIN Championship standard at that height. Weston's Elise Russell was the last competitor going at the Class meets Saturday night, and her 12-2 clearance in the pole vault broke Tolland's AmyErin Zadroga's 12-0 mark from 2017. Hillhouse's Leah Moore roared back from a 4th at last year's M meet to bury the record at Her House by throwing 41-11.75 to far surpass Ledyard's Lacey-Ann Parker's throw of 40-4.5 from way back in 2003. The Stonington SMR guys also destroyed a record by going 3:37.90 to best Weston's 3:38.99 from two years ago.
And one final meet record that really really crushed came in Class S. Bloomfield's Mike Campbell was 5th at last year's meet behind four seniors, one of whom was brother Nicholas. This year he powered out more than 12 feet further than last year to go 59-4.5 and blasted past the former record of 55-7 set by Derby's Enis Bukalo in 2010.
Though there were many great efforts at the Class meets, there were we believe 23 athletes who were individual winners who claimed two or more titles from individual events and relays. Starting the drum roll and trumpet fanfare again from Class LL: Tess Stapleton (Fairfield Ludlowe) 55H-LJ; Samantha Forrest (Glastonbury) 300-4x200-4x400; Mari Noble (Greenwich) 3200-4x800; Caleb Owen (Wilbur Cross) 300-4x200; Gavin Sherry (Conard) 3200-4x800.
Class L: Shelby Dejana (Wilton) 55-55H; Chloe Scrimgeour (Conard) 1600-3200; Jalah Cooper (Windsor) 300-4x400; Olivia Birney (Simsbury) 1000-SMR; Ralphael Hawkins (Hillhouse) 55-300-4x400; Talib McBride (Hillhouse) 600-4x400; Nate DeAngelo (Bristol Central) 3200-4x800.
Class S: Chelsea Mitchell (Canton) 55-300-LJ; Molly Coyle (Immaculate) 600-4x800-SMR); Liv DiStefano (East Hampton) 1600-3200; Elicia Colon (Bloomfield) 55H-4x200; Kymali Hay (Bloomfield) 300-4x400; Matthew Jennings (Haddam-Killingsworth) 1000-SMR; Sean Dixon-Bodie (Bloomfield) LJ-HJ-4x200.