By John Goralski
Stephen Barmore was in perfect form when he exploded from the gate at the sound of the starter’s pistol. Conditions were perfect as he opened his stride on the first sunny meet of the season, but it was the rare sound of feet just behind him that kep Barmore pushing himself toward the finish line of the 100m race.
It was the Conard runner on his heels that pushed Barmore past a school record pace to secure a victory in the race. Ian Steele set the previous best in 1993, but Barmore’s time (10.64) snapped the 21 year record.
“There was a Conard guy pushing him, and I think that was the first time he’s been pushed all year,” said Blue Knight track coach Colleen Roarty. “The Conard runner caught up to him, but Stephen surged ahead. Everything was in his favor. He came out ready to go, and he did it. I was so excited for him.”
Barmore was far from finished. He had already won the 4x100m race with Tyler Hyde, Matt Maxwell, and Zack Maxwell (44.95). He went on to capture wins in the 200m (22.66) and 400m (53.57), and Southington snapped their two week losing streak with a 93-57 win over Conard.
“They were one of the top teams last year, and we knew that coming in,” Roarty said. “We knew that we really had to step it up, and we did. We came out prepared, and I really felt the positive atmosphere.”
The Knights won all but one event on the track. Charles Morelli qualfied for states with a win in the 110m hurdles (16.1) and came within two seconds with his victory in the 300m hurdles (44.6). Colin Murphy captured a win in the 800m (2:18). Jack Myers (10:50) edged Sean Garrison and Andrew Bielecki to sweep the 3200m race as the Knights shattered personal bests in one of their most dominant performances on the track.
“We’ve been working really hard at practice every day, and I’ve really been stressing that to all the athletes,” said Roarty. “They’ve been coming in and working hard on the form and all the little things that it takes to improve at every meet.”
Matt Bennett improved his qualifying distances with wins in the shot put (47’5”) and the discus (145’1”), but Conard won every other field event. Still, Southington athletes scoredtwo of the top three scores in each of the throwing events.
A number of Knights qualified for postseason events. Matt Maxwell finished second in the long jump (20’0”) but earned a postseason berth. Noah Violette qualified for the 200m with his third place score. Zach Maxwell qualified for the postseason in both the 100m and the 200m. Freshman Vance Upham didn’t score, but his time in the 100m qualified him for the state meet.
“All four of my top 100m guys qualified, and they’re posting some of the fastest times in the state,” said the coach. “I’m really happy about that. Now I want to keep winning, and I want to get even more people qualified.”
Greater Hartford Invite
On Saturday, May 10, Stephen Barmore finished fourth in the 200m (22.87) and fifth in the 400m (51.39). Matt Bennett finished fourth in the shot put (45’4”) and fifth in the discus (135’1”) to help lift the Knights into the top 10 at the Greater Hartford Invitational at Simsbury High School.
Staples (76) edged Bunnell (63) and Farmington (55) for the top spot, but Southington finished eighth overall with 29 points.
Sean Garrison scored with a seventh place finish in the 3200m (10:08.36). Charles Morelli scored with a fifth place finish in the 110m hurdles (16.53).
Matt Maxwell, Barmore, Tyler Hyde, and Zach Maxwell combined for a fourth place finish in the 4x100m relay (44.99).