By BRIAN JENNINGS
The Blue Knights outdoor track and field team competed in the 10th annual Irv Black Invitational on Friday, May 8 and Saturday, May 9 at Veterans’ Stadium inside Willowbrook Park in New Britain.
The Knights qualified two male athletes for the Class LL State Meet.
Vincent Zhang (2:03.94) qualified for the state meet with an 11th-place finish in the 800m and Sean Garrison (9:56.10) qualified with a seventh-place finish in the 3200m
“Friday was a fun day,” said Southington coach Colleen Roarty. It was really nice out. Quite a few of our boys competed in the steeple chase. Sean Garrison placed second in that event, which was awesome. He ran 6.44, which was good to see and won a medal. Jordan McMeans also got a medal because he got sixth place in that event. Everyone competed in that event did well because it’s tough. Matt Steeves threw hammer and broke his own school record in that by throwing 90’11”. I hope he has more opportunities to throw this year, but he did a really great job and I was happy.”
On Saturday, John Meade (23.82) tied for eighth in the 200m and Tom Perzanowski (11-00.00) tied for ninth in the pole vault
Katherine Mellitt (2:27.26) took eighth in the 800m, Gabi Napoli (5:32.45) took eighth in the 1600m, Erin Angelillo (11:57.66) took fourth in the 3200m, and Lauren Perkowski (12:32.87) took 10th right behind Angelillo in the same event.
In the relays, Abby Connolly-Nicolette St. Amand-Mellitt-Jamie Pliego (4:25.97) finished sixth in the 4x400m. Jessica Howe-Sarah Palko-Kelsea Allen-Raquel Romano (2:00.94) finished second in the 800 sprint medley. Their time qualified them for the New Balance national meet in North Carolina this June.
Earlier in the week, the Knights traveled to West Hartford on Tuesday to compete in a dual meet against the Conard Chieftains. The boys’ team just edged out Conard with a 77-73 win, but the girls’ team was the exact opposite, falling short to a 77-73 score.
Both 4x800m (Zhang-Mike Fazzino-Jack Myers-Meade, 8:53) and 4x100m (Matt Maxwell-Alex Jamele-Anthony Plantamuro-Vance Upham, 44.4) relay teams finished first.
Jamele (11:01.02) qualified for the state meet by taking first in the 100m, as did Plantamuro (11.5) in the same event. Dan Parzych (53.81) took first in the 400m, Adam Dorau (45:08.02) took first in the 300m with Evan Aiudi right behind in second.
Meade (22:09.02) qualified for states by taking first in the 200m and Garrison (10:31.05) took first in the 3200m with Tom Murdy right behind in second.
In the field, Steeves (39’7”) threw for first in the shot put with David Massabni throwing in second. Perzanowski (11’0”) vaulted into first in the pole vault. Maxwell qualified states in the triple jump by finishing in second.
However, the meet would be decided on the last two events, the discus throw and the high jump. The Knights couldn’t get swept either of the events if they wanted to win and Massabni came through with a second-place finish in the discus throw and Maxwell helped put the meet away with a second-place finish in the high jump.
“Conard was a pretty evenly match team with us,” said Roarty. “It came down to the last two events, which were discus and high jump. That was going to determine who won the meet. A lot of people don’t really get to watch the high jump because it’s going on during the meet, but this time, both girls’ and boys’ teams gathered around to watch the high jump, which was really nice to see. Matt Maxwell tied with the guy from Conard, but was able to get second-place points because he had fewer missed jumps. The boys were really excited.”
The 4x800m (Napoli-Mellitt-Pliego-Taylor Hubert, 10:43) was the only relay team to finish in first place at the meet for the girls. Angelillo (5:34) took first in the 1600m with Perkowski trailing behind in second.
Amanda Howe (86’9”) threw for first place in the javelin throw with Natalie Liquindoli following behind in second. Howe (29’3”) returned to throw in the shot put ass well, taking first for a second time at the meet.
Palko (14’5”) displayed her stride and hang time in the air by taking first in the long jump with Jessica Howe behind in second. Palko also finished second in the 100m and qualified for the state meet.
Jessica Howe (29’11”) returned to the triple jump where she became a double winner on the day by taking first place with Grace Cardozo in second. The Knights swept the high jump with Sarah Dolan (4’4”) finishing first, Raquel Romano finishing second, and St. Amand finishing third.
“We kept going back and forth with Conard,” said Dachelet. “Literally, it could have come down to the last race, had we won the 4x400m relay. There were a lot of great performances, but Conard’s a good team. They have a long tradition of being good at track and field. We’re developing. I don’t like to lose, but to lose by four points to that team was fine.”
The Knights look to stay positive next week in their last regular season dual meet at home against the New Britain Hurricanes.
To comment on this story or to contact sports writer Brian Jennings, email him at BJennings@SouthingtonObserver.com.