By BRIAN JENNINGS
In her second season with the Blue Knight boys track team, Colleen Roarty is excited to get back to work. The Knights are coming off one of their more successful postseasons in recent years, and the Knights are ready to make another run.
Southington finished the regular season with a 4-3 record last spring, but they qualified 17 athletes for the Class LL State Meet. The Knights went on to finish 14th of 25 schools and advanced two athletes to the state open.
“I think we did really well last season as my first season coming in, and it was unique being a female,” said Roarty. “We had a lot of athletic males on the squad, but we’re really looking to capitalize and do better this season.”
The Knights graduated 21 seniors from last spring’s team, three of which had top-10 performances at the last season’s outdoor state meet.
Stephen Barmore finished eighth in the 100m (fifth in finals). Charles Morelli finished sixth in the 110m hurdles (sixth in finals). Matthew Bennett had two third-place finishes in the shot put and discus throw.
It will be tough losing team-leading athletes, but Roarty said she likes the deep, athletic group she has coming back with the return of 12 key athletes, including a trio of veteran captains peppered throughout the events.
Senior co-captain Matt Steeves will be working with his football coach, Mike Drury, to hone his strength in the shot put. Dan Parzych will be anchoring the Knights on the short track and relays, mixing it up between dashing in the 400m, hurdling in the 110m and 300m races, and the 4x800m relay. Jack Myers will lead the distance crew in the 3200m and will join forces with Parzych in the 4x800m to carry momentum from a 10th place finish in the 4x800m during the indoor season.
They will be joined by a strong core of juniors and seniors.
Senior David Massabni is coming off an impressive showing at the indoor state meet with a 13th-place finish in the shot put (37’5”), although he could have had an even better placing with a throw around the 40-foot mark if it weren’t for a late foul call.
Senior Matt Maxwell will be a leader in the sprints and the jumps. Maxwell also helped the Knights in the 4x100m relay to a 10th-place finish in last season’s outdoor state meet. He’ll be joined on the short track by junior Alessio Diana (100m, 200m, 4x100m), senior Antoine Harris (400m), and Vance Upham (200m), who qualified for the postseason last spring as a freshman.
The distance crew will be bolstered by senior Mike Fazzino (800m, 1600m, 4x800m) and junior Sean Garrison (3200m).
Jumps should be solid with Maxwell, Diana, and junior Adam Dorau. Senior veteran Tom Perzanowski will will anchor the pole vaulters as he tries to build on his seventh place finish (10’6”) last spring.
Other fresh and upcoming athletes include Vincent Zhang, Matt Thompson, Jay Rose, John Meade, Mike Mauro, Peter Majchrzak, Matt Garry, Jeff Hannigan, Mark Howland, and Alex Jamele. Having a late start to the season due to weather won’t be the only concern of the team. Roarty said that having a lot of new faces that are multi-sport athletes will also take some time.
“Figuring out where each of the athletes belongs will be one of the keys to the season,” said Roarty. “We’re very athletic and in track, there’s an event for everyone. So it’s just finding out the best event for each of them.”
With a lot of experience on the track, sprints will be the focal point of the team this season. Roarty said she hopes to qualify more athletes for the state meet and have more success in the postseason. Improving last season’s team record is also one of the main goals on Roarty’s list.
“Obviously Class LL is really competitive because those are the biggest schools, but we should be right up there with schools like Simsbury and Glastonbury,” said Roarty. “That’s my goal and I’ve talked about it with the team. So, hopefully we’ll get there.”
To comment on this story or to contact sports writer Brian Jennings, email him at BJennings@SouthingtonObserver.com.