By BRIAN JENNINGS
Southington sent five athletes to the state 2016 CIAC Boys and Girls Indoor Track and Field Open Championship at Hillhouse High School on Saturday, Feb. 20 to compete amongst the state’s top athletes.
Four of those five athletes were part of the girls 4x800m relay team, who continued to break barriers as they have been doing multiples times throughout the season.
Erin Angelillo, Taylor Hubert, Kate Kemnitz, and Gabi Napoli not only broke another school record, but broke their own record for the fourth time this season when they finished sixth out of 18 relays with a time of 9:57.98. The group smashed their seeded time (10:09.35) by over 10 seconds. Three of the four girls in the relay finished with season-best splits in the relay.
“Erin Angelillo led off with a 2:25, which was an eight-second season best. She set us up and set the tone for the rest of the ladies,” said Southington coach Dan Dachelet. “When Erin handed the baton off in first place, we had separated from the rest of the race, except for [Haddam-Killingworth].”
Dachelet said that Angelillo’s great start allowed the competitiveness of Hubert, Kemnitz, and Napoli to focus on a race with one school. What seemed for the entirety of each leg of the 4x800m relay was a battle between Haddam-Killingworth and Southington, featured with a few lead changes.
“It got us out of the larger group of girls,” the coach said. “It wasn’t about the time. It was about a dual between Haddam and Southington. They eventually beat us and took the win in that race, but we pushed them to a six or seven-second season best.”
The team was seeded 16th coming into the open and advanced to the open by finishing seventh out of 16 relays the week prior at the Class LL state meet.
“That pace and competition between the two teams ended up making the difference by getting us to qualify by time out of the slow heat,” said Dachelet. “On that given day, a lot of teams that had run faster than us didn’t do what they had done in the previous class meet. It’s great to see the girls peak at the right time.”
The 4x800m relay team from New Milford (9:30.08) won the race, followed by Glastonbury (9:31.76), Weston (9:33.46), Ridgefield (9:49.57), and Haddam-Killingworth (9:56.33).
Sean Garrison finished 14th in the 3200m with a time of 10:01.55. Garrison was seeded 17th coming into the open and advanced to the open by finishing 10th (9:49.38) at the state meet. Garrison might have been after a personal record on Saturday, but he had another goal in mind as well.
“He was running the pace that he needed to run,” said Dachelet. “He had a goal of going after the school record. He did what he needed to do on the front end to set himself up for that pace. It was a weird race.”
Eric Vanderels (9:29.22) of Brien McMahon won the race, followed by Jack Adamski (9:30.32) of Danbury, and Michael Rautter (9:33.66) of New Fairfield. Vanderels’ third race of the day came in the 3200m.
“For him [Vanderels] to win that race, he needed to take it slow,” the coach said. “So the pace was pedantic from the beginning. People that were trying to go for a faster time actually were hard-pressed to do that. Then the pace shifted and dropping that surge midrace took the wheels out of Sean a little bit.”
Dachelet said that the shift during the race disrupted Garrison’s pace.
“Sean runs a very nice, consistent pace, and when he gets on pace, he can hold it,” the coach said. “But I think that shift from a moderate pace to a fast pace midrace took it out of him a little bit. And he wasn’t able to finish that last half mile like he wanted to.”
Garrison may not have qualified for the open, but he still managed to qualify for the Eastern State Championships, which will be held on Tuesday, March 1 at the Armory in New York City, which is arguably one of the fastest tracks in the country. Garrison will be joined by teammate Amanda Howe, who will also be throwing at the meet in the shot put.
The indoor track school record in the 3200m is 9:45.90, set by Brian McKernan in the 1999-2000 season. Garrison’s time of 9:49.38 was his personal best in the 3200m on an indoor track.
Windsor (57) won the girls’ open, with Bloomfield (56) finishing as the runner-ups and Tolland (47) finishing third. On the boys’ side, Danbury (56) took home the gold, followed by Brien McMahon (50) and Wethersfield (32).
As results were pouring into the official’s table at the open on Saturday, the CIAC discovered issues during its review of all the entries from the meet.
A National Federation of State High School Associations rule limits athletes to competing in a total of three events, including individual events and relays. According to the CIAC, the rule was not understood by all coaches, and as a result, several entries were ruled as illegal and were disqualified. This was the first time the rule was enforced this year.
It was reported that entry violations were not detected until late in the meet on Saturday. Teams and media were told that the CIAC and timing officials would review all entries to insure the final results were correct, and would release them as soon as possible, with the possibility of not being released until Sunday.
However, all entries were reviewed in two hours following the meet, and the final results were then verified and released. A total of three girls teams and four boys teams were affected. The final results from ten boys and girls events (total of 20 events) were updated.
“The situation with the entries was unfortunate, and CIAC regrets the confusion and disruption that accompanied the conclusion of the Open Championships,” CIAC Indoor Track and Field Committee chair Steve Wysowski said in a CIAC press release. “We addressed the issue as quickly as we could to provide corrected results, and will certainly
review everything that took place to insure similar issues don’t take place in the future.”
The CIAC later released finalized individual and team results for the meet through email and on CIACsports.com. Pomperaug’s team finished sixth in the girls 4x800m relay race, but was disqualified, due to entry violations. Southington had originally finished seventh in the race, but was bumped up to sixth because of the disqualification of Pomperaug. Pomperaug was seeded fourth (9:49.45) coming into the open. Immaculate finished after Southington in the race and was also disqualified.
Southington’s 4x800m relay team will travel to the Bob McIntyre Track at the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Facility in Roxbury Crossing, Mass. on Sunday, Feb. 28 to run in the 29th annual New England Interscholastic Indoor Track and Field Championships. The 4x800m relay race is scheduled to start at approximately 1:30pm.