Eugene, OR - More than a hundred young men and young women from Connecticut decided to go west to the NSAF USA Meet of Champions nationals, and their performances led to some big results from a small state.
But first before we talk about the times and distances, let's talk about the weather. The temperatures in Eugene had hit 111 degrees three days before the meet opened on the final day of June, but had plummeted to the mid 70s by the opening. Still, by the last two days when the bulk of the individual track events occurred on the so-called Sprints Day (Friday) and Distance Day (Saturday), temperatures were back up around or north of 90 degrees. And yes, that hugely affected the times and kept many runners a ways off of their PRs. The field events athletes and sprint relay teams on the first two Throws (Wednesday) and then Jumps (Thursday) periods had much more pleasant temps.
One athlete who maybe had a bit of relief from the heat on Friday afternoon was Marianapolis Academy's Sydney Masciarelli who had at least the potential for a dip in the steeplechase pool five times in the 2K SC. National record-holder Masciarelli shot out early and was well under record pace for the first two laps and still bit below after three, but the heat took its toll and she settled back at 6:36.24, eleven seconds off her record but still one of the best times ever in the event.
Another athlete who put the hammer down early in a run at a record attempt was Conard's Gavin Sherry in the 1 mile. Speeding through the first three laps at 3:02.45 and almost a three-second lead Sherry had a tougher final lap and fell back to 3rd at 4:07.20 and two seconds off the state record.
At noon on Saturday as the heat built up, the two Ridges (Ridgefield CT and Ridge NJ) battled to the finish in the distance medley relay as the Tigers got top performances from all four legs. In 4th after Liam Carcich's 1200m leg of 3:06.69 and in 3rd behind Union Catholic NJ and Redlands East Valley CA after Amit Markos's 49.22 400m turn, Ridgefield began the last leg in 5th after Ben Mickool's 1:57.68 800m as Middlesex MA and Ridge pushed ahead of the Tigers. Charlie King's anchor was clocked at 4:08.25 and it carried Ridgefield to a meet record of 10:01.72 just ahead of Ridge and Union Catholic. On Friday morning, a 4xMile Tiger team that included Carcich, Mickool, and King along with Charles Namiot placed 3rd in a time of 17:28.87
Two other guys who left it all on the track late on Saturday afternoon were Nick Bendtsen of Wolcott and Aidan Puffer of Manchester in the 2 Mile. Bendtsen led for five laps with Puffer hanging tough in 3rd, but by the end it was Joshua Truchon of West Allis Hale WI taking the win with Bendtsen taking the silver in 9:00.91 and Puffer 3rd at 9:01.17, while Gavin's twin Callum Sherry got 11th in 9:14.22.
Two other CT guys taking top 5 places were Tolland's Jackson Cayward who impressively came within a second of the state record in the 2K steeplechase with a 3rd at 5:59.52, and Xavier's Eamonn Burke placed 4th in the 5K in 14:39.88. Another relay team breaking into the top 5 was the Danbury 1600m sprint medley relay at 3:29.86, while Hall was a short ways back in 6th at 3:32.47. Another very notable 6th went to Eamon Sweeney of Haddam-Killingworth in the decathlon with 6445 points and of course especially big contributions from the 110H and javelin along with the discus.
Two other top 5 finishes for the girls included a 4th in the 2 Mile for Greenwich's Mari Noble at 10:41.01 in the late afternoon Saturday heat, and Haddam-Killingworth's Kedarjah Lewis flew to 19-2.75 for 5th in the long jump. New Milford's 4xMile relay team also bagged a 5th with 21:53.43.
Other participants on the boys side included Greenwich's Andrew O'Donnell with an 11th at 48.41 in the 400m; HK's Matthew Jennings 10th at 1:52.89 and Cheshire's Ryan Farrell 14th at 1:53.12 in the 800m; Westhill's Colin McLaughlin 15th at 4:14.46, Hall's Walker Beverly 32nd at 4:21.94, Avon's Jack Martin 40th at 4:25.96, and Bristol Central's Nate DeAngelo 42nd at 4:31.24 in the Mile; Hillhouse's Matthew Gibbs 16th at 56.70 in the 400H; and New Fairfield's Patrick Gibbons 8th at 6:10.66, Ridgefield's Brendan Distefano 16th at 6:17.97, Tolland's Luke Stoeffler 31st at 6:22.78, and Hall's Amruth Niranjan 29th at 6:32.05 in the 2K steeplechase. Ridgefield freshman Steve Hergenrother finished 8th at 4:28.16 in the frosh mile.
Other field guys included Simsbury's Timothy Watson at 15th with 6-2.25 in the high jump; RHAM's Patrick Oatman at 19th with a 14-8.25 in the pole vault; Hall's Israel Henriques at 31st in the long jump at 20-3.75; Hillhouse's Gary Moore 7th in the shot put at 60-9.5, 24th in the discus at 165-9, and 17th in the hammer throw at 176-8; Middletown's Trevor Drescher at 11th at 182-1 and Enfield's Ryan DeBarber 20th at 167-1 in the javelin; and Coventry's Alex Krause at 9th at 203-10 in the HT.
More guys' relay squads included Danbury at 17th in 43.76 in the 4x100m; Hall at 10th in 3:25.16 and Greenwich at 13th in 3:28.71 in the 4x400m; Avon at 17th in 18:28.02 in the 4xMile; Hillhouse at 9th in 1:35.22, Hall 10th at 1:35.43, and Danbury at 16th in 1:37.89 in the 800 SMR; HK at 10th in 3:37.10 and Greenwich at 12th in 3:38.56 in the 1600m SMR, Hall at 13th in 10:42.54 and Tolland at 15th in 11:08.25 in the DMR; and Hall at 8th in 2:01.75, Danbury at 10th in 2:02.04, and Derby at 11th in 2:04.55 in the 100m-200m-300m-400m Swedish relay.
The rest of the CT girls contingent included Danbury's Alanna Smith with a 21st in 12.08 in the 100m and 13th at 24.00 in the 200m; Simsbury's Olivia Birney at 11th in 2:11.15 in the 800m; New Milford's Claire Daniels at 25th in 4:59.49 in the mile; Rachel St. Germaine of Somers at 10th in the 2K steeplechase at 7:14.25 and 15th in 17:24.19 in the 5K, which also included New Milford's Madeleine Sweeney at 20th in 17:43.80 and Sydney Kelleher at 23rd in 17:50.10, Gabrielle White of the Foote School of New Haven at 26th in 17:55.73, Southington's Grace Michaud at 29th in 18:11.56, and Hall's Katherine Sanderson at 33rd in 18:25.74; Joel Barlow's Mariella Schweitzer at 34th in 15.09 in the 100H and 38th in 1:08.73 in the 400H, which also included East Hampton's Jessica Starr at 25th in 1:03.80.
Field girls also included Watertown's Courtney Rowland at 11th with 5-6.5 and St. Joseph's Nia Christie at 18th with 5-4.5 in the high jump along with a 20th in the triple jump at 38-4.25; Hillhouse's Leah Moore at 22nd in the shot put at 41-1.5 and 15th in the hammer throw at 150-9 which also included teammate Olivia O'Connor at 17th in 145-11; and Weston's Shea Greene at 13th in 135-4 in the javelin.
Girls relay squads also included Sheehan with a 13th at 49.87 in the 4x100m; Glastonbury at 12th in 4:01.25 in the 4x400m and 9th at 9:27.41 in the 4x800m and 8th at 12:14.74 in the DMR; Ridgefield at 13th in 9:33.75 and 10th in 21:36.82 in the 4xMile; Hall at 14th in 9:33.81 in the 4x800m and 11th at 21:53.43 in the 4xMile.