By BRIAN JENNINGS
Southington continues to add athletes to a growing list of state qualifiers as other continue to climb the rankings. With their only home meet of the season and an invitational meet just over the border, the Blue Knight track teams finally gave local fans a taste of things to come.
With just one more week in the regular season, the Knights have already qualified nine boys in five events and 12 girls in 11 events, along with qualifiers in five of Southington’s six relays.
Record shattered at Irv Black Invitational
Southington competed at the 11th annual Irv Black Invitational at Willow Brook Park in New Britain from Friday May 6 to Saturday, May 7, and Gabi Napoli led the way, breaking her own school record in the 3200m with a first-place finish (11:24.92). Napoli shattered her previous school record by just under 20 seconds.
Erin Angelillo finished fourth in the 1600m (5:18.2). Kate Kemnitz finished eighth (5:24.73), and Lauren Perkowski finished 13th (5:38.13), as the Lady Knights scored a trio of qualifying times in the 1600m.
Alijah Vega finished fifth-place throw in the javelin (99’4”).
Marisa Matthews, Taylor Hubert, Kelly Doyle, Sarah Minkiewicz, and Olivia Fournier took first in the 4x800m relay (9:55.62).
Sean Garrison paced the boys team, beating his previous qualifying time with a sixth place finish in the 3200m (9:43.59).
Other notable performances from Friday included Perkowski in the 2000m steeplechase (4th); Amanda Howe in the hammer throw (4th); Jordan McMeans (3rd), Ryan Slesinski (7th), Shane Leone (8th), and Connor Leone (9th) in the 2000m; and Mark Murdy, Shane Leone, Jeff Hannigan, and Garrison in the distance medley (2nd).
Other notable performances from Saturday included Megan Biscoglio in the pole vault (7th); Amanda Howe in the discus (1st); Natalie Verderame in the 400m dash (9th); Adam Dorau in the 400m hurdles (8th); Vega, Kemnitz, and Verderame in the 4x400m (3rd); and Tayler Riddick, Allison Krampitz, Natalia Rivera, and Olivia Fournier in the 800 sprint medley (7th).
Swept by Simsbury
Earlier in the week, Knights hosted Simsbury in their only home dual meet of the season but were swept by the Trojans. The boys track team fell, 92-58, and the girls suffered a 103-47 loss. Still, Southington managed to post a number of best times and qualifying marks.
Verderame, Jami Pliego, and Alijah Vega swept the top three spots in the 400m race, but it wasn’t enough to lift the girls team. Simsbury swept the Knights in the 100m hurdles, the long jump, and the triple jump to run away with the victory.
The girls 4x400m relay (4:17.23) was the only Southington relay to win its heat. Verderame (400m) and Kemnitz (800m) posted wins, and Howe claimed victories in the shot put and discus.
The boys managed to place at least one athlete in the top three of every event, but it wasn’t enough to match Simsbury’s depth.
Ryan Middendorf (200m), David Pastor (shot put), and Jake Munson (discus) scored victories for the Knights, and Southington bested Simsbury in the 4x400m relay.
Southington will look to qualify more athletes for the state meet this week when they travel to Hall on Tuesday. They’ll get one more shot at the Hartford Invitational at Simsbury High School on Saturday.
Then, it’s time for the postseason.
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