By BRIAN JENNINGS
NEW HAVEN—The Southington Blue Knights indoor track and field team was at the Floyd Little Athletic Center of Hillhouse High School on Sunday competing at the SCC Coaches Invitational. Blue Knights coach Dan Dachelet took about 25 of his varsity athletes to compete against about 30 schools from across the state. For some athletes, the Coaches Invite would be the last chance they would have to qualify for the postseason.
Dachelet said he thought that Hillhouse provides a world, college, premiere track and field facility.
“They’re willing to take on all of these important meets,” he said. “Hillhouse is the bread and butter facility, it’s a quality track, and they put on a great meet. The officiating and the timing group are first-rate. Back in the day without the technology, we would have been there for a lot longer. They’re knocking out a heat every couple of seconds. The lag time from one race to the next is almost nothing. So, that’s a credit to those guys for putting on a good meet.”
Having about half of his Blue Knights reach personal records, Dachelet said he thought there were a lot of stellar performances. “By and large, there were some really great efforts,” said Dachelet. “A bunch of people set some records and had a lot of qualifications for the conference and state meets. So, I think it was a pretty exciting day for most of the people. There were a few people that just missed qualifying by just fractions. That’s a disappointment, but they’re going to have another shot at outdoor.”
Erin Angelillo (3:10.74) captured her coach’s attention with her record shattering run in the 1000m (3:16), in an event she had never ran before. Angelillo will be running the same event at the conference meet.
Senior Megan Albert (12:57.18) ran her first race of the season in the 3200m, just making it under the wire and qualifying for the conference meet. Jordan McMeans (2:54.73) also qualified for the conference meet in the 1000m run.
“He started running indoor track this year and put in a good year of cross country,” said Dachelet. “He also had a solid summer of training as well.”
The team of Amanda Hamel, Catherine Myers, Kali Pliego, and Lauren Perkowski won their heat in the 4x800m relay with a time of 10:48.39. And they broke a 10-year-old Southington school record in the process. They will be returning for the conference and state meets in those events.
Tayler Riddick, Jessica Howe, Faith Ritchie, and Raquel Romano teamed up for a state qualifying time in the 4x200m (1:59.66). Sean Garrison, Adam Theriault, Jeff Hannigan, and Jack Myers qualified for the state meet in the 4x800m (8:59.24).
“It was a good effort across the board and everyone ran what I expected them to run, except for the freshman, Jeff Hannigan, ran a 2:15,” said Dachelet. “We have someone in the teams that can give us some flexibility. That was good to see.”
In the field events, Tom Perzanowski vaulted 10 feet, 6 inches in the pole vault, which equaled his season best.
Dachelet is optimistic about the CCC Championships on Saturday, Jan. 31 at Hillhouse High School, even though history shouldn’t make him believe so.
“In years past, indoor track has not done that well,” he said. “Last year, the guys scored eight points and the girls scored zero, so we’re hoping to improve on that. All the school records that have fallen this year were fun to see.”
As far as the future of Southington indoor track and field goes, Dachelet has plans to try and build a balanced team.
“We still have events that we don’t have people in,” said Dachelet. “We still have no high jumpers. We still have no female pole-vaulters. Southington’s a talented school and we just need to try to build a program, get the school excited about it, and have more kids come out. The talent is there. It’s just the function of getting them to come out. So, I’m really hoping that all these school records that the kids are hearing about on the morning announcements motivate more kids to come out for outdoor track. And then we’ll have a more rounded team.”