The success continued for Southington’s indoor track and field team when they traveled to Providence, R.I. to compete in the sixth annual East Coast Invitational at the Providence Career and Technical High School. The Knights qualified four more athletes in three new events for the Class LL meet, breaking three school records in the process.
“I’m trying to expose the kids to different, new places, and it worked out great,” said Southington coach Dan Dachelet. “It’s a phenomenal facility. It’s kind of set up like New Haven, except they have a lot more seating that can see particular events. But I liked it.”
The meet was held from Friday, Jan. 13 to Saturday, Jan. 14 and included schools from New England, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Delaware.
“Originally, this meet came on our radar because we wanted to get Amanda (Howe) in the meet,” the coach said. “It was a great opportunity to do the shot put and weight throw. As we’re trying to decide which meets to do during the season, this meet looked like a really great opportunity to compete against top-notch, regional-caliber athletes.”
Tyler Cyr finished 13th (6.9) in the preliminaries of the 55m dash and qualified for the state meet. He also teamed up with Ian Agnew, Casey Selinske, and Kolby Rogers to take 13th (1:39.97) in the 4x200m relay and qualify for the state meet in his second event of the day.
According to the CIAC, times in the 400m and 800m did not count towards qualifying for the postseason in this particular meet. But that didn’t slow down Tyson Harris. He broke a school record (53.95) by finishing sixth (53.4) in the 400m, which was set by Ben Gibbons during the 2012-13 season. Harris also improved his state-qualifying time by leaping into ninth (20’6.25”) in the long jump.
Kate Kemnitz ran in the 800m, but restricted qualifying standards didn’t hamper her morale either. She finished 11th (2:31.09) and broke her own school record (2:31.53) that she set last season at the Yale Interscholastic Track and Field Classic.
Records continued to fall when Catherine Myers finished 12th (13:12.74) in the two-mile race.
“She’s an awesome kid, one of the top in her class, a class president, and team captain,” said Dachelet. “You’re just happy that she gets to leave a legacy like that.”
Myers was the first Southington female athlete to set the record in the event.
“It’s never run in Connecticut,” the coach said. “The one meet where they ran it in Connecticut was an elite field. We had a handful of guys that ran it, but from what I researched, never had a girl run that race.”
Agnew improved his state-qualifying mark in the long jump as well, finishing four spots behind Harris in 13th (20’2”). Zachary Burleigh improved his state-qualifying mark after propelling into seventh (11’) in the pole vault.
The girls team added two more relays to their lineup at the state meet. Tayler Riddick, Samantha Przybylski, Rylee Van Epps, and Natalie Verderame qualified by taking 24th (1:57.56) in the 4x200m relay. Verderame also connected with Kemnitz, Allison Brown, and Marissa Matthews to take 14th (4:31.54) in the 4x400m relay and qualify as well.
Adeline Kilgore and Przybylski tag-teamed their entry to the postseason while tearing up the track in short distance, as both sprinters qualified for the state meet in the 55m dash. Kilgore finished 50th (8.0), and Przybylski trailed four hundredths of a second in 57th (8.04).
Howe finished as runner-up (39’11”) to Brittany Jones (45’) of Bloomfield in the shot put, improving her state-qualifying mark by 31 inches.
“I wouldn’t say that it’s a throw-centric meet, but Rhode Island is a throw-centric state,” said Dachelet. “They’re one of the few states to offer the weight throw and hammer throw. They had two shot put circles going, and it was just amazing to watch the number of kids that participated in the event.”
Megan Biscoglio also finished as runner-up, taking second (9’6”) in the pole vault.
Currently, Southington has 12 Blue Knights qualified in seven out of 15 events and 12 Lady Knights qualified in 11 out of 15 events for the state meet.
“The student-athletes are raising the bar,” the coach said. “This is just a product of the new culture on the team. The goal is to be a balanced program with depth, being competitive across the board. We’re trying to develop and grow as a program, and we’re not going to stop until we rewrite the records books and come into our own as a program.”
Southington will look to qualify more athletes for the state meet this week when they compete at the Glastonbury developmental meet on Wednesday, Jan. 18 and travel to Hillhouse High School in New Haven on Saturday, Jan. 21 for the SCC Coaches Invitational.