By BRIAN JENNINGS
The Southington indoor track and field teams returned to Hillhouse High School in New Haven for the second time this season to compete at the Elm City Coaches Invitational on Saturday, Jan. 9. The Knights had quite the day in the Elm City, qualifying five more athletes for the state meet, and breaking a school record.
The team of Jami Pliego-Taylor Hubert-Kate Kemnitz-Marisa Matthews not only took first (10:33.91) in the 4x800m relay but broke the school record of the 10:49.33 set by the team of Lauren Glowa, Kristin Quinn, Margaret Kelly, and Lara Dalidowitz at the 2005 Class LL championship.
Kate Kemnitz and Gabi Napoli paced the individuals, qualifying for the postseason in two events. Kemnitz qualified for the state meet by just over two seconds in the 1000m (3:22.56). Gabi Napoli (3:24.84) also qualified for states with a top 20 finish in the same event.
Both followed up their stellar runs with state-qualifying times in the 1600m. Napoli (5:39.55) edged Kemnitz (5:43.15) in a pair of top 20 finishes. Lauren Perkowski (5:48.23) joined the pair and qualified for states with Southington’s third top 25 finish in the event.
Natalie Verderame (45.53) qualified for states in the 300m with an 18th place finish.
Megan Biscoglio returned to competition for the first time since Dec. 19 and made the best of it, beating the state qualifying height by six inches in the pole vault (8’6”), and Emily Maciejewski (14’0”) just missed states by six inches with an 11th place finish in the long jump.
Once again, Sean Garrison led the boys as he continues to carry his solid cross country season into the winter with one of best indoor track performances of his career. Garrison (2:43.74) edged Jack Consolini (2:44.26) of Darien to take first in the 1000m, and he just missed a second first-place finish on the day, finishing second in the 1600m (4:40.71) to Alex Connery (4:40.46) of Glastonbury by 0.25 seconds.
Mark Murdy (4:50.99) was not too far behind in the 1600m with another top 10 performance, missing the state cut by just over three seconds.
Adam Dorau (8.84) qualified for states for a second straight time in the 55m hurdles by taking third. Tyler Cyr (39.13) qualified for states in the 300m.
Jeffrey Hannigan (1:33.08) missed states by just 0.44 seconds in the 600m.
Zach Burleigh (9’6”) just missed states by an inch with a third place finish in the pole vault. Tyler Cyr (18’7.5”) just missed the state line by a 0.5 inch in the long jump.
Jake Monson (36’0”) was also close when he was just off the state mark by two feet in the shot put.
Southington will compete against schools from all of the New England states, as well as Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia when they travel to the Yale Coxe Cage on Friday, Jan. 15 and Saturday, Jan. 16 for the 34th Yale Interscholastic Track Classic. Friday’s action starts with boys 25-pound weight throw at 9am. Saturday starts as early as 7:30am with the girls 3000m.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Brian Jennings, email him at BJennings@SouthingtonObserver.com.