On Saturday, Jan. 21, Southington’s indoor track and field team capped the regular season with more postseason athletes than last season. The Knights improved multiple state marks and qualified seven more athletes in five more events for the state meet at the SCC Coaches Invitational in New Haven.
“To get inside the meet, you had to make a mark that was pretty much close to a state qualifier already,” said Southington coach Dan Dachelet. “So it was a great opportunity for some of the varsity kids that are starting to ramp up mentally for that higher level of competition.”
Different from most meets, the SCC Coaches Invitational is a split meet where the boys competed in the morning and the girls competed in the afternoon. With less recovery time between events, the meet can add stress to tired legs. But the Knights rose to the challenge.
Southington brought a total of 24 athletes to compete in 19 events at last year’s state meet. The Knights currently have 17 females in 13 out of 15 events and 14 male athletes in 10 out of 15 events qualified for the state meet. It is an impressive feat, considering that most of Southington’s meets this season were cancelled due to inclement weather.
“I would have liked to have another opportunity where I could have run a couple more kids in these events that still have good races ahead of them or could have had some better races,” said Dachelet. “It’s just a limitation on the number of tracks in the state and the number of meets that they offer.”
Southington still has one last opportunity to load even more Knights into the state meet when they compete at the upcoming CCC Championship, but Dachelet said that one meet won’t be enough to make up the meets that they missed.
“That’s the nature of sports,” said Dachelet. “Obviously, you want these kids that have worked so hard to achieve a goal that are that close. Most of them will at least have outdoor though.”
At the SCC Coaches Invitational, the girls team placed fifth out of 40 teams. The boys team tied for 30th out of 42 teams. The following females qualified for the state meet: Sarah Minkiewicz, Anny Moquete, Brooke Lynch, and Kate Kemnitz in the 4x800m relay (10:45.03); Isabella Scalise in the 1600m (5:48.27); and Trinity Cardillo in the shot put (30’3.5”).
“Trinity Cardillo never picked up a shot put in her life,” said Dachelet. “But she’s throwing a state-qualifying mark at a four-foot personal record in one day.”
The following males qualified for the state meet: Jeffrey Hannigan in the 600m (1:31.73); Mark Murdy in the 1600m (4:43.61); and Tyson Harris (37.0) and Elijah Rodriguez (38.93) in the 300m.
The following improved their state marks: Tayler Riddick, Jenna Sheehan, Adeline Kilgore, and Samantha Przybylski in the 4x200m relay (1:54.22); Kilgore in the 55m dash (7.82); Kemnitz in the 1000m (3:14.67); Riddick in the long jump (15’1.5”); and Ian Agnew, Casey Selinske, Joe Verderame, and Tyler Cyr in the 4x200m relay (1:39.48).
“Jenna Sheehan is one of the smoothest runners I’ve seen in a long time,” the coach said. “She’s coming out and qualifying as a freshman. Watching her do that with very little training is exciting for the future.”
The time in the girls 4x200m relay broke a school record (1:56.2), which was set by Ashley Sisk, Alexa Cox, Alissa Munoz, and Alexandra LaPorte during the 2008-09 season.
Sydney Garrison tied her state mark by tying for eighth (4’8”) in the high jump. Zachary Burleigh also tied his state mark by finishing ninth (11’) in the pole vault.
Amanda Howe won the shot put (39’4”), and Megan Biscoglio won the pole vault (10’). Other top-eight finishers included the following: Harris (300m), Kemnitz (1000m), Murdy (1600m), the girls 4x200m relay, and the girls 4x400m relay.
The Knights will enter the postseason this week when they return to Hillhouse High School to compete against the top athletes in the conference at the CCC Championship on Saturday, Jan. 28.
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