CT Action Heats Up as Temps Go Down and Records Go Down

About a month's worth of CT indoor track action was capped off by some explosive performances in NY over the weekend. At the Armory for the Air Force Hispanic Games on Friday, Conard's Gavin Sherry added the CT indoor mile mark to his state record collection (indoor 3200m, outdoor 1600m) while also passing the 1500m mark at a time well below the official record set by Kevin King back in 1980. Sherry's US #1mark of 4:06.72 bested the old mark of Staples' Henry Wynne of 4:08.15 set during his win at the 2013 NBNI Nationals. Sherry's brother Callum Sherry powered in to a 2nd place at 4:11.36 that places him at US #2.

Amity's Mason Beaudette in 7th at 4:24.09 and Staples' Zachary Taubman in 12th at 4:31.81 gave CT an impressive showing in the mile on the day. Beaudette's teammate Parker Paragas was 5th in the 3200m at 9:46.30, while Brodey Lu was 10th in the 800m. The Spartans also ran wild in the relays with a 1st in the 4x400m, 3rd in the 4x800m, and 4th in the 4x200m, missing the 2nd place needed to hit for the cycle as the sprint medley team was back at 7th.

Another state record falling at the Hispanic Games was for the weight throw, an event that is lightly competed in by CT athletes. Gary Moore Jr. of Hillhouse had already won the shot put contest earlier by almost ten feet with a 62-0 throw that was just 15 inches short of the 53-year-old state record by Hartford Public's Melmouth Taylor. In the final throws event of the day, Moore finished 2nd to HS Construction's Michael Pinckney by 17.5 inches but broke the CT state record with his throw of 72-11 to move him to US #3. Moore went all out on his last three attempts to catch Pinckney but fouled. Moore's teammate Ralphael Hawkins brought the team more laurels with a 3rd place in the 200m at 22.45.

Fairfield Ludlowe's (and Flying Circus of Warwick NY's) high-flying tandem of Bennett Hemphill and Steve Ditelberg also impressed with a 1st at 14-0 and 2nd at 13-6 respectively. Ditelberg resides among the top 50 in the nation from a 14-7 vault he did back in October at one of the Flying Circus's club events.

CT's top distance girl continued her big season at the Hispanic Games as Somers' Rachel St. Germain followed up her twin killing of the 1600m and 3200m (11:09.93, approximately US #13) in late December at the Joe Sinicrope invite as she blasted to a 15-second win in the 3000m at 9:55.63 that set her up as US #2, just .12 behind RI's Sophie Gorriaran. Hall's Katherine Sanderson finished 4th in 10:23.06.

Another athlete continuing a soaring trajectory at the Hispanic Games was Fairfield Ludlowe junior Tia Stapleton who remained undefeated on the season in the high jump. Her winning leap of 5-2 was not quite as high as the more stratospheric 5-5.5 at the Marine Corps Holiday Classic that is currently US #10, but it did the job. Stapleton passed 5-4 after winning the event to try for a PR at 5-6. Stapleton had a busy day as she also took the triple jump at 35-5.5, about a half foot short of her season's best. Another big performance in the field events came from Hillhouse's Olivia O' Connor who along with Moore gave her school a sweep of the weight throw with a US #6 toss of 48-2.5.

Another meet where CT speed was on full display Saturday was the Ocean Breeze Freedom Games. Danbury's Alanna Smith may have cut it a little close in the 55m prelims with the 7th best time overall, which earned her a finals starting spot over in the out-in-the-wilds Lane 1. That position suited her just fine though as she got off to a great start on the outside and held off a charge by prelims-favorite Logan Daley of Holy Trinity to win in 7.22, a tenth of a second off her US #18 time while winning at the North Shore Invite in December. Smith then hooked up in a duel in the 300m with the 55 hurdles champ Sanae Hebron of Neshaminy, who posted a US #8 time there. The two had hooked up earlier at North Shore with Smith edging Hebron with a time of 38.86 (currently US #5) to 38.94. This time though Hebron just crushed the first half of the race and won in 38.90 while Smith was 2nd at 40.00.

CT athletes have had some standout performances at other out-of-state meets this year. Among the top highlights:

North Shore Invite.  Mohammed Abunar of Trumbull, 1st in 1600m at 4:31.33. Sean Kennedy-Wonneberger of Hale-Ray, 1st in the 3200 in US #30 at 9:34.82. Alanna Smith of Danbury as mentioned captured both the 55m in 7.12 and 300m in 38.86. Esme Daplyn of Greenwich, 2nd in 600m at 1:40.27 and also finished 5th in the 1500m. Stephanie Quieroz of Danbury, 3rd in 3200m at 10:49.87. D'jior Delisser of Bloomfield, 2nd in high jump at 5-0.

Ocean Breeze Holiday Classic. Gary Moore, Jr. of Hillhouse was 1st in both the shot put at 61-8.25 and the weight throw at 69-5. Olivia O' Connor was 4th in the shot put at 34-5.

Marine Corps Holiday Classic. Callum Sherry of Conard, 1st in the Mile at 4:17.00. Levi Huss of Amity, 2nd in high jump at 5-10. Tia Stapleton of Fairfield Ludlowe took both the high jump at 5-5.5 and the triple jump at 34-6. Steve Ditelberg of Fairfield Ludlowe, 1st in pole vault at 14-1.

And some of the bigger marks at Hillhouse for the pre-New Years pair of meets.

Joe Sinicrope Invitational.  Kimberley Poulos of Woodland, 1st in 600m at 1:47.61 and Chloe Poulos of Woodland, 1st in 1000m at 3:18.49 and 2nd in 1600m. Rachel St. Germain won both the 1600m at 5:15.04 and the 3200m at 11:09.43. Zachary Taubman of Staples, 1st in the 1600m at 4:33.59 and 2nd in 3200 at 9:56.44. Luke Stoeffler of Tolland, 1st in 3200m at 9:52.64. Joshua Wilkie of Ellington, 1st in 55 hurdles at 8.29 and 1st in the high jump at 6-0.5

Coach Bob H. Saulsbury Invitational.  Molly Harding of Glastonbury, 1st in 1600m at 1:40.52. Jacqueline Izzo of Southington, 1st in 1000m at 3:07.06. Katherine Sanderson of Hall, 1st in 1600m at 5:21.92. Olivia O'Connor of Hillhouse, 1st in shot put at 34-10.5. Shaylin Murphy of Maloney, 1st in high jump at 5-2. Ralphael Hawkins of Hillhouse, 1st in 55m at 6.68. Samuel Sandler of Hall, 1st in the 600m at 1:26.52. Jeremy Rivera of Prince Tech, 1st in the 1000m at 2:39.24. Francis Porrini III of Bristol Central, 1st in the 1600m at 4:25.55. Walker Beverly of Hall, 1st in 3200m at 9:39.23. Timothy Watson of Simsbury, 1st in high jump at 6-4.

Hillhouse Holiday Invitational. Malcolm Beckford of Weaver, 1st in 55m at 6.52 and 1st in 300m at 35.40. Aidan Puffer and Sean Barkasy of Manchester, 1st and 2nd in 1600m at 4:21.24 and 4:27.42. Gary Moore Jr. of Hillhouse, 1st in shot put at 57-9. Robert Dunkley of Bloomfield, 1st in high jump at 6-4. Nicholas Rivard-Lentz of East Hampton, 1st in pole vault at 12-6. Molly Harding of Glastonbury, 1st in the 300m at 42.03.

Alanna Smith wins 55m at Ocean Breeze Freedom Games from lane 1 at right.

Note: Apologies to CT for a general lack of coverage this season, but with the media restricted from filming or photographing events in CT due to Covid protocols, the situation is pretty tough right now. Hopefully by the time of the League meets in February, things will be better. We can hope.

In the meantime, hope to see some athletes at the Ocean Breeze Invite in NY coming up on the last weekend in January and other meets outside the state before the big push for post season laurels.