By BRIAN JENNINGS
It’s been a few weeks since the boys and girls outdoor track and field teams fell short at Glastonbury in the season opener, but the Knights regrouped for a successful second try.
Southington swept the boys and girls competitions at Conard on Wednesday, April 20, and both teams made large strides toward the postseason. The girls team qualified 10 athletes in five different events for the Class LL state meet and broke a school record. The boys team left with eight qualifiers in five different events, including two relays.
The Lady Knights (1-1) won their first meet of the season by defeating the Chieftains, 100-50.
After she broke a school record in the discus during the first meet of the season at Glastonbury, Amanda Howe was at it again. Howe improved her state-qualifying mark in the discus (122’8”) and broke her own school record by over three and a half feet. She is currently ranked first in the state in the event.
Howe improved her state seed in the shot put, too, achieving a personal best by almost four and a half feet. She improved her seeding in the javelin as well, eclipsing her past mark by two feet.
Natalie Verderame qualifyied for the state meet in four different events, including a relay. She qualified in the 100m, 200m, 400m, and teamed with Natalie Rickard, Abby Connolly, and Rylee Van Epps to reach the LL meet in the 4x100m relay.
Gabi Napoli, Kate Kemnitz, Taylor Hubert, and Erin Angelillo carried their state open success from the indoor season to the outdoor season by qualifying Southington for the state meet in the 4x800m relay at Glastonbury. But Southington decided to shake up the rotation, as Sarah Minkiewicz, Isabella Scalise, Laini Pizzitola, and Lauren Perkowski qualified Southington for a second straight meet in the same relay.
Other Lady Knights that qualified for the state meet included Connolly (200m); Katie Ieradi (200m); Napoli (1600m); Kemnitz (1600m); Perkowski (3200m); Scalise (3200m); and Kali Pliego (shot put).
The boys (1-1) also claimed their first victory of the season with a 97-53 victory over Conard.
The Knights were shut out of the postseason during the season opener, but John Meade led the rush with qualifying times in three different events, including a relay. Meade qualified in the 100m, 200m, and Ryan Montalvo, Anthony Plantamuro, and Alessio Diana to earn a spot at the state competition in the 4x100m relay.
Other Blue Knights that will be running at the Class LL meet include Plantamuro (200m); Dorau (300m hurdles); and the team of Cameron Coulombe, Adam Dorau, Mike Mauro, and Joe Verderame (4x400m relay).
The Knights will look to qualify more athletes for the state meet when they travel to Wethersfield on Wednesday, April 27 and compete at the O’Grady Relays in Danbury on Friday, April 29 and Saturday, April 30.
To comment on this story or to contact sports writer Brian Jennings, email him at BJennings@SouthingtonObserver.com.