By BRIAN JENNINGS
Southington qualified nine more athletes for the Class LL meet, including a relay, after competing in a dual meet and invitational this past week.
Southington competed at Wethersfield on Wednesday, April 27 in their third dual meet of the season. The boys team (1-2) fell, 118-32, and the girls team (1-2) fell 88-62. But there were still qualifiers for the conference and state competitions in the meet.
Alessio Diana (100m), Sean Garrison (800m), and David Pastor (javelin) qualified for the state meet. Diana and Garrison both just qualified by tenths of a second, while Pastor qualified by inches.
First-place finishes from the meet included Elijah Rodriguez (300m hurdles), and Mark Murdy (3200m).
On the girls side, freshman Alijah Vega (javelin), Allie Brown (high jump), the team of Jami Pliego, Vega, Olivia Fournier, and Marissa Mathews (4x400m relay) qualified for the state meet. The team of Abby Connolly, Natalie Verderame, and Katie Ierardi (4x100m relay) improved their state qualifying time. Vega qualified by just over a couple of inches and Brown earned a spot by jumping right on the state mark. The 4x400m team made it by a second.
First-place finishes from the meet included Natalie Verderame (400m), Gabi Napoli (3200m), Amanda Howe (shot put, discus), Megan Biscoglio (pole vault), and the girls 4x800m relay team.
Southington headed out to the southwestern corner of the state on Saturday when they competed in the 36th annual O’Grady Relays at Danbury High School.
The boys team placed 28th, eighth out of the large schools. Danbury won the meet, followed by Wethersfield and Trumbull.
The girls team tied with Sheehan for 19th out of 30 schools, finishing eighth out of the large schools. Danbury won the meet on the girls side as well, followed by Ridgefield and Weston.
Adam Dorau (300m hurdles) was the only Blue Knight state qualifier from the meet.
Top 10 finishes from the boys team included the 4x1600m relay team of Garrison, Mark Murdy, Tom Murdy, and Shane Leone (6th); the 2000m steeplechase relay of Jordan McMeans, Ryan Slesinski, and Shane Leone (9th); and the javelin relay of Pastor, Mike Steminsky, and Richie Rivera (9th).
The Lady Knights did not have any state qualifiers from the meet, but still had top 10 finishes across the board and broke school records.
Top 10 finishes included the 4x1600m relay of Kate Kemnitz, Erin Angelillo, Gabi Napoli, and Isabella Scalise (2nd); the 800m sprint medley relay of Ierardi, Abbey Connolly, Rylee Van Epps, and Verderame (2nd); the 4x800m relay of Marisa Matthews, Lauren Perkowski, Laini Pizzitola, and Sarah Minkiewicz (10th); the sprint medley team of Ierardi, Connolly, Verderame, and Napoli (6th); the distance medley team of Kemnitz, Napoli, Angelillo, and Verderame (5th); the steeplechase relay of Perkowski, Catherine Myers, and Scalise (5th); and the triple jump relay of Grace Cardozo, Tayler Riddick, and Emily Maciejewski (8th).
The 4x1600m relay and 800m sprint medley relay both broke school records.
Howe also set a school record by placing first with a national qualifying mark in the hammer throw. Her throw was good for the top 30 in the country.
Southington will look to qualify more athletes this week when they host Simsbury in their only home dual meet of the season on Tuesday, May 3.
Following Tuesday’s meet, the Knights will compete in the 11th annual Irv Black Invitational at New Britain High School from Friday, May 6 to Saturday, May 7. Schools from Connecticut, New York, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island will compete.