BY BRIAN JENNINGS
Southington’s indoor track and field team embraced the top competition in the conference in the CCC Championship at Hillhouse High School in New Haven on Saturday, Jan. 28. Southington added just one more Knight to their long list of state-qualifying athletes, but coach Dan Dachelet said it was the program’s best meet of the season.
The Knights proved that they are ready for the upcoming state meet with a pair of runners-up, three all-conference athletes, and a number of personal bests.
“For our varsity athletes, I think it was definitely the best meet we’ve had,” the coach said. “Over a half got personal records. A personal record is not the easiest thing in the world to do. We’ve just grown accustomed to our kids getting personal records on a regular basis.”
Dachelet said that the program had two goals coming into the conference meet. One was to get more athletes to qualify for the state meet given the weather challenges the team had to face. The other was for the top-tier athletes to have a good meet when it counts.
“It’s great, fine, and dandy to throw or jump in a low-pressure meet,” said Dachelet. “But every coach’s ideal situation is to compete at the end of the season when the championships are there. When we’re setting up our training, we want the best at the end of the year.”
The girls team placed eighth out of 23 teams with 23 points. Bloomfield (110.5) won the girls conference title, and Glastonbury (101.5) finished as runner-up. The boys team placed 13th out of 26 teams with 15 points. Glastonbury (74.5) won the boys conference title, and Manchester finished as runner-up.
“I don’t know how eighth place stacks up in the history of Southington schools, but I’m guessing that it’s pretty high for us for the girls,” the coach said. “Eleventh for the guys is great as well. Our end goal is to be a top-five program.”
All-conference athletes included conference runners-up Amanda Howe (37’6.25”) in the shot put and Megan Biscoglio (11’0”) in the pole vault, along with third place pole vaulter Zach Burleigh (11’6”). Biscoglio and Burleigh tied their state-qualifying marks.
Top-eight finishes included the following: Tyson Harris (20’1.25”) placed fourth in the long jump; Kate Kemnitz, (3:14.29) placed fifth in the 1000m; AJ Mondo (19’8.75”) scored sixth in the long jump; Tayler Riddick, Rylee Van Epps, Marisa Matthews, and Kemnitz combined for sixth place in the 1600m sprint medley (4:36.69); and Mark Murdy finished eighth in the 3200m (10:18.54).
With his finish, Murdy joined the growing list of athletes which will advance to the Class LL championship.
Improved state-qualifying times included the following: Ian Agnew, Tyson Harris, Elijah Rodriguez, and Tyler Cyr in the 4x200m relay (1:39); Adeline Kilgore in the 55m dash (7.78); Natalie Verderame in the 55m dash (7.86); Samantha Przybylski in the 55m dash (7.99); Kate Kemnitz in the 1000m (3:14.29); Jeffrey Hannigan in the 600m (1:29.44); Isabella Scalise in the 1600m (5:42.38); and Cameron Coulombe, Teagan Duffy, Joe Verderame, and Jeffrey Hannigan in the 4x400m relay (3:50.27).
“It was great to see our pole vaulters match their lifetime bests,” said Dachelet. “Some of our long jumpers came close to their marks. A lot of our sprinters went out and ran season bests as well. That’s kind of what we’re looking for. We’re looking to momentum to carry ourselves over into the state meet.”
Southington will enter the state meet with 17 Lady Knights in 13 out of 15 events and 14 Blue Knights in 11 out of 15 events.
The following female athletes are qualified: Natalie Verderame (55m dash, 300m, 600m, 4x400m relay, 1600m sprint medley), Adeline Kilgore (55m dash, 4x200m relay), Samantha Przybylski (55m dash, 4x200m relay, 1600m sprint medley), Allison Brown (300m, 4x400m relay, high jump), Kate Kemnitz (1000m, 4x400m relay, 4x800m relay, 1600m sprint medley), Isabella Scalise (1600m), Tayler Riddick (4x200m relay, 1600m sprint medley, long jump), Jenna Sheehan (4x200m relay), Marissa Matthews (4x400m relay), Sarah Minkiewicz (4x800m relay), Anny Moquete (4x800m relay), Brooke Lynch (4x800m relay), Amanda Howe (shot put), Trinity Cardillo (shot put), Amanda Brocki (high jump), Sydney Garrison (high jump), and Megan Biscoglio (pole vault).
The following male athletes are qualified: Tyson Harris (55m dash, 300m, 4x200m relay, 1600m sprint medley, long jump), Tyler Cyr (55m dash, 4x200m relay, 1600m sprint medley, long jump), Elijah Rodriguez (55m hurdles, 300m, 4x200m relay), Jeffrey Hannigan (600m, 4x400m relay), Mark Murdy (1600m, 3200m), Ian Agnew (4x200m relay, long jump), Cameron Coulombe (4x400m relay), Teagan Duffy (4x400m relay), Joe Verderame (4x400m relay, 1600m sprint medley), Shane Leone (1600m sprint medley), Anthony Mondo (long jump), Kolby Rogers (long jump), and Zachary Burleigh (pole vault).
“We have a great staff and a good diversity of athletes with multiple disciplines,” said Dachelet. “We have a balanced program, and I think we’re on the right track.”
The Knights will compete at Hartford Public High School on Saturday, Feb. 4 in one last shot to qualify athletes on the bubble. But the Knights will return to Hillhouse to compete against some of the top athletes in the state in the Class LL Championship on Friday, Feb. 10.
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