Knights keep the focus on postseason qualifiers

By BRIAN JENNINGS
STAFF WRITER

Southington’s indoor track and field team currently has athletes qualified in 20 events—including relays—for the Class LL meet after completing just their fourth meet of the season. Almost all of those qualifications came when the Knights traveled to Hartford on Monday to compete in the third Hartford Public Developmental meet of the season, qualifying nine females and seven males.

“There’s a couple new events that are popping up for us that we’ve had some success with, but not as much in years past,” said Southington coach Dan Dachelet. “I believe in training groups and kids working on technique that are specializing in various events, getting enough kids in groups that are working towards this common goal.”

Although a number of Knights have qualified early in the season, a number of Southington athletes have yet to have an opportunity to compete. Three of Southington’s scheduled meets this winter have already been cancelled due to inclement weather.

“We have a ton of mid-distance and distance runners that haven’t even ran races yet,” the coach said. “Mark Murdy hasn’t raced yet. We were taking some time off and then had meets that were cancelled. There’s probably 15 kids that haven’t qualified yet.”

Hartford Public Meet

JAN. 2—In Monday’s meet, Amanda Howe captured the shot put title by throwing a mark of 38’8”, distancing herself from the next girl by over three and a half feet. Kate Kemnitz finished as runner-up in the 1000m (3:16.37).

Natalie Verderame took third in the 600m (1:48.79), fourth in the 300m (45.02), and eighth in the 55m dash (7.92). Brooke Lynch took seventh in the 600m (1:55.92).

Tayler Riddick took third in the long jump (15’7”), and Sydney Garrison just finished with a top-10 performance in 10th (14’1”) in the same event.

Allie Brown sprung into third in the high jump (4’10”). Garrison and Amanda Brocki trailed a couple spots behind in fifth and sixth, both with a height of 4’8”.

The team of Danielle Flynn, Adeline Kilgore, Lauryn Reinhardt, and Jenna Sheehan took seventh in the 4x200m relay (2:04.67).

The following female athletes qualified for the state meet: Verderame (55m dash, 300m, 600m), Kemnitz (1000m), Howe (shot put), Riddick (long jump), Brocki (high jump), Brown (high jump), and Garrison (high jump).

In the sprints on the boys side, Elijah Rodriguez ran a 9.17 in the preliminaries of the 55m hurdles and finished third with an 8.61 in the finals. Tyson Harris ran a 6.91 in the preliminaries of the 55m dash and finished third with a 6.83 in the finals.

Harris later teamed up with Cameron Coulombe, Joe Verderame, and Teagan Duffy to help come away with the best finish for a Southington boys relay on the day, taking second in the 4x400m (3:51.96).

Shane Leone took fifth in the 1000m (2:51.4), and Jeffrey Hannigan was not far behind in seventh (2:52.9).

In the field events, Anthony Mondo leaped in third in the long jump (20’3”). Kolby Rogers finished right behind Mondo in fourth (19’9”). Tyler Cyr tied for 11th (19’2”), and Ian Agnew followed in 13th (19’1”).

Mike Steminsky threw for fifth in the shot put (37’8.5”).

The following male athletes qualified for the state meet: the 4x400m relay, Harris (55m dash), Rodriguez (55m hurdles), Agnew (long jump), Cyr (long jump), Mondo (long jump), and Rogers (long jump).

“We’ve reached a point where we’ve gotten a number of talented kids buying into a program that are willing to do the work that it takes to get good at it,” said Dachelet. “The kids are walking the hallways at school and are talking about the long jump or the high jump. It’s not just at practice. There’s this buy-in that occurs when everything’s firing right in practices and at the meets.”

Elm City Relays

JAN. 6—Later in the week, Southington traveled to the southern part of the state to Hillhouse High School in New Haven on Friday to compete in the Elm City Relays.

Verderame improved her state-qualifying time by tying for ninth in the 300m (44.54). Brown finished in 31st in the same event, but still managed to qualify for the state meet.

The team of Riddick, Verderame, Kemnitz, and Samantha Przybylski qualified for the state meet by taking fifth in the 1600m sprint medley (4:35.52). Their time broke a school record (4:40.5) from 1999 set by Rebekah Dudzik, Taneta McCaw, Lisa Krusienski, and Linda Kucharczyk.

Brown tied her state-qualifying height in the high jump by tying for seventh.

The team of Cyr, Harris, Verderame, and Leone qualified for the state meet by taking fourth in the 1600m sprint medley (3:54).

Harris qualified for the state meet by reaching his season-long of 20 feet in the long jump, finishing seventh. Cyr finished 12th in the same event and improved his state-qualifying distance by an inch.

Day two of the Elm City Relays resumed on Saturday, but Southington opted not to compete because of inclement weather. Although the team was off Saturday, Howe still traveled to the Armory Track in New York, NY to compete in the Hispanic Games.

Howe placed second in the shot put and won the weight throw with a distance of 44’8.5”, breaking her own school record of 33’ that she set earlier this season. She also qualified for the Emerging Elite section of the New Balance Indoor Nationals.

“I want to start seeing some depth in these events that we don’t have right now,” said Dachelet. “It’s nice that we have Amanda throwing far in the shot put, but I want to start scoring more points. That’s what we need to grow as a program.”

The Knights will be back in action this week when they travel to Providence, R.I. for their only out-of-state meet of the regular season, the East Coast Invite.

To comment on this story or to contact sports writer Brian Jennings, email him at bjennings@southingtonobserver.com.

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