By John Goralski
Coach Colleen Roarty was actually considering scratching Stephen Barmore from the 100m finals when she saw him limping toward the starting line. The senior sprinter hobbled into the finals with one of his worst times of the season, and his chances at making the state open were dire at best.
But that’s why they run the races. Barmore (11.53) trimmed almost a tenth of a second from his seed time to climb three spots in the rankings. His fifth place finish was enough to earn a Class LL medal.
More importantly, it qualified for the final spot in the CT State Open.
“He knew that he would have to go all-out in the finals,” said Roarty. “He definitely did everything he could to push through and get to the finish line. It was one of his worst times of the season, but we’re still happy to get him to the state open.”
Barmore wasn’t the only one that had to overcome obstacles when the Class LL championship opened on Tuesday, June 3. Thunder caused a delay after the 400m, and play didn’t resume until two days later. Still, Southington managed four medalists and three entries into the state open.
Ridgefield (85) edged Danbury (78) and New Britain (61) atop the Class LL standings, but Southington battled into the top 15 with 19 points.
“I think this was good for my first season, but we’re obviously going to be looking to improve upon this next year,” said Roarty. “We want to score even better. We want to get more athletes into the state open, but we did have a lot of great performances.”
Matt Bennett led the Knights with a third place finish in the shot put (50’6.5”) and the discus (140’3”). Bennett will advance to the state open in both events.
“I think he’s peaking at the right time, especially in the shot put,” said Roarty. “His throws keep going further and further. His goal is to get back to New Englands and even get back to nationals. I’m rooting for him.”
Charles Morelli was the only other Knight to medal at the Class LL meet with a sixth place finish in the 110m hurdles (16.19), but he missed the state open qualifying time by less than one second.
The 4x100m relay team came even closer. Despite his injury, Barmore joined Zach Maxwell, Matt Maxwell, and Tyler Hyde for a 10th place finish in the relay (44.32), and their time came within two one hundredths of a second from the state open benchmark.
“It was frustrating. We felt like it was going to rain the whole time we were there, and it was so humid on day one,” said Roarty. “I think it affected us mentally because the performances when we had to go back on Thursday weren’t as good except for Sean Garrison. He ran a really good time in the 3200m (10:08.05), but other than that we didn’t do that great.”
So the Knights will settle their postseason hopes on Barmore and Bennett. The competition happened after this story went to press.
To comment on this story or to contact sports writer John Goralski, email him at jgoralski@ southingtonobserver.com.