By BRIAN JENNINGS
After the state meet was moved to later dates twice due to inclement weather, Southington’s indoor track and field team finally competed at the Class LL championship at Hillhouse High School in New Haven on Wednesday.
Southington sent 18 Lady Knights in 12 events and 11 Blue Knights in eight events, but managed to advance a pair of Lady Knights to the state open where both earned medals.
The Lady Knights tied for 11th with 14 points with NFA and Newtown. Danbury (64) won the girls Class LL title, followed by Glastonbury (61) as runner-up.
The Blue Knights did not place in the points. Danbury (116) won the boys Class LL title as well, followed by Greenwich (46) as runner-up.
“As in any meet, there were some that had hoped to achieve more,” said Southington head coach Dan Dachelet. “But when you bring a nearly, full bus load of athletes to a meet, there will always be ups and downs. It’s how we react as a squad and grow as a program that is a good measure of the meet’s success.”
Amanda Howe and Megan Biscoglio were the only Southington athletes to advance to the state open. Howe finished runner-up to Samantha Stevens (41’7.5”) of Shelton in the shot put with a throw of 39’.
Biscoglio placed fourth in the pole vault with a height of 10’6”, behind Lia Zavattaro (11’) of Greenwich, Lauren Russo (11’) of Newtown, and Kelsie Hall (10’6”) of NFA.
Other top performances included a personal best from Kate Kemnitz (5th, 3:11.53) in the 1000m, Anthony Mondo (7th, 19’7”) in the long jump, and Isabella Scalise (13th, 5:42.86) in the 1600m. Seeded 19th coming into the meet, Kemnitz dropped almost three seconds and missed the state open by 0.08 seconds.
Southington’s top finishes in the relays came from the 1600m sprint medley. Tayler Riddick, Rylee Van Epps, Natalie Verderame, and Kemnitz took eighth (4:31.83) and broke their own school record (4:35.52) that they set earlier this season. Ian Agnew, Kolby Rogers, Teagan Duffy, and Shane Leone took 10th (3:56.8).
“The biggest thing is we’re starting to see depth across the board in our events develop that we haven’t had since I’ve been here,” said Dachelet. “That’s a balanced track and field program. I think that speaks worlds about growing the squad as a varsity sport and making it more competitive.”
Howe and Biscoglio returned to Hillhouse on Monday, Feb. 20 where they represented the Knights at the state open. Both earned medals, and Howe advanced to the New England championships.
Seeded third in the shot put behind Brittany Jones (43’0.5”) of Bloomfield and Stevens, Howe finished third with a throw of 38’11.25”.
“She was a lot more nervous in the Class LL meet,” said Southington assistant coach Connor Green. “But coming to the state open meet, she was relaxed, easy-going, and was laughing and smiling at everything. She really kept her composure the entire time, and it was definitely a sign of growth that I was happy to see with her.”
Jones was crowned state champion after launching a personal best of 44’11.25”. Stevens finished as runner-up with a distance of 39’5.25”. All three will be joined by Lauren Gause (38’3.5) of Brookfield, Jhan Spears (37’4”) of Weaver, and Jalynn McCown (37’1.5”) of Guilford at the New England championship.
Biscoglio would have advanced if the pole vault competition was held at the regional meet.
She entered the state open as the sixth seed, behind Amy-Erin Zadroga (12’) of Tolland, Russo, Zavattaro, Tyra Finkeldey (10’6”) of Old Saybrook, and Hall, finishing sixth by tying her seeded height of 10’6”.
“To be one of the best in the state and in New England, you have to be a student of your sport,” said Green. “You have to be borderline obsessed with it. Megan takes that to the maximum. She eats, sleeps, and breathes pole vault, and that’s definitely what’s made her so successful.”
Amy-Erin Zadroga won the state title with a height of 12 feet. Danielle Cass (11’6”) of Weston, Zavattaro (11’6”) of Greenwich, Russo (11’) of Newtown, and Bridget Wirtz (11’) of Branford finished in front of Biscoglio.
Southington tied for 25th with Daniel Hand with seven points. Bloomfield (83.5) won the girls state open title, followed by Danbury (30) and Tolland (28). Danbury (55.25) won the boys state open title. Staples tied Shelton for runner-up with 28 points.
Howe will represent Southington at the 30th annual New England championship on Saturday, Mar. 4 at the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Facility in Roxbury, Mass.
For this week’s box scores, click here: www.southingtonobserver.com/2017/02/21/weekly-scoreboard-for-the-feb-24-edition/. To contact sports writer Brian Jennings, email him at BJennings@SouthingtonObserver.com.