By John Goralski
The top ranked athlete in the shot put fell more than three feet in the final rankings, but it was still good enough to win. The 20th ranked thrower bested his personal record by more than four feet.
So much can go right or wrong at the New England Championship Indoor Track Meet. The throwers are jammed into a tight area. The pressure is high, and Southington senior Matt Bennett held his own.
On Saturday, March 1, Bennett entered the competition with the 8th best seeding, but his longest throw fell almost four feet shorter than his personal best. Still, his 46 feet, 6.75 inch throw was good enough to claim 19th overall.
“I’m proud of him. To make the top 20 at New Englands is a phenomenal job. It’s much better than any Southington boy has done in a long, long time,” said Southington indoor track coach Annie Groom. “It was just one of those days. He had to travel. He didn’t get a lot of training in ahead of time. there were a lot of factors that figured in. Sometimes you just don’t have it on certain days.”
Bennett will have one more chance to break his school record because the Southington senior has qualified for the national meet at the Armory in New York City on Friday, March 14.
Bennett is the first Southington athlete to qualify for the national meet since Cherraine Davis claimed 11th place in the shot put in 2011.
“He’s practicing indoors at the school because he still can’t get outside,” said Groom. “But he expects to make a good comeback and throw like he did at his best this season. I think he can do that.”
To comment on this story or to contact sports writer John Goralski, email him at jgoralski@ southingtonobserver.com.