Scores of future Blue Knights poured onto the Southington High School sports complex on Sunday, June 11 for the third running of the Knights Cup meet. The annual event pits students from the town’s middle schools and elementary schools in a modified high school meet.
The students learn about various track and field events before plunging headfirst into competition. When the smoke cleared this year, Thalberg Elementary School collected 117 points to end the Derynoski dynasty and claim the 2017 elementary school title.
“I think that has a direct reflection on the Thalberg running club, which is really taking off,” said Blue Knight track coach Dan Dachelet. “The participation numbers are up, and they have great leadership. Derynoski is obviously the biggest elementary school, so it’s nice to see one of the smaller schools win.”
Hatton (48) finished as runner-up, followed by Derynoski (14) and Kelley (8), but Dachelet said that everyone comes away a winner—especially his Blue Knight boys and girls teams. The Southington coach has been watching his team grow in numbers each year, expanding so much that the outdoor track and field program was forced to add a stipend assistant coaching position this spring. Dachelet credits the youth programs and the Knights Cup.
As he prepared for this year’s event, Dachelet noticed a growing number of Knights Cup alumni that are currently leading the high school teams.
“That was the first time I saw that,” the coach said. “We’re starting to see some of the benefits of kids that participated in this at the middle school level. We do it for a lot of reasons, and certainly one of them is to create that energy to participate in high school track and cross country.”
The following elementary athletes took home gold medals: Riley Prozzo (Thalberg) in the 100m dash (15.00), Chris Regalbuti (Thalberg) in the 400m dash (76.94), Jason Matthews (Thalberg) in the 1600m run (6:39.3), Kevin O’Neill (Thalberg) in the shot put (15’11”), Devin Grove in the turbo javelin throw (53’5”), and Alvi Bylykic (Hatton) in the long jump (11’8”).
Runner-ups included the following: Miranda Poirer (Hatton) in the 100m dash, Prozzo in the 400m dash, Kaylee Regabuti (Thalberg) in the 1600m run, Claire O’Neill (Thalberg) in the shot put, Matthews in the turbo javelin throw, and Ihor Voronchak (Hatton) in the long jump.
There were no entries for the softball throw.
Kennedy (137) beat out DePaolo (81) by over 50 points to earn the honors of best Southington middle school.
The following middle school athletes took home gold medals: Sean Lafontaine (DePaolo) in the 100m dash (13.62), Jared Rivera (Kennedy) in the 400m dash (62.74), Drew Nafis (DePaolo) in the 1600m run (5:42.3), Ryan Ogren (Kennedy) in the shot put (23’4”), Evan Kristopik (Kennedy) in the turbo javelin throw (72’5”), Tralee Shea (Kennedy) in the softball throw (92’10”), and Kelsi Hourigan (Kennedy) in the long jump (13’11.5”).
Runner-ups included the following: Grayson Borla (Kennedy) in the 1600m run and long jump, Jake Nafis (DePaolo) in the 100m dash, Caitlyn Hourigan (Kennedy) in the 400m dash, Lincoln Cardillo (DePaolo) in the shot put, and Cameron Parke (Kennedy) in the turbo javelin throw.
With finals for school and end-of-the-year events happening, it’s tough to squeeze some free time into your schedule sometimes. During such a busy time of the year, Dachelet and his staff have yet to crack the code on when the best time is to hold the event.
However, that doesn’t mean that this year’s Knights Cup wasn’t a success, as Southington’s young running community continues to grow through the event.
“The kids that go to this have a blast,” said Dachelet. “The parents come up to us and tell us that it’s a great idea. Now, it’s just trying to spread the word a little bit better.”
For this week’s box scores, click here: (southingtonobserver.com/2017/06/20/weekly-scoreboard-for-the-june-23-edition). To contact sports writer Brian Jennings, email him at BJennings@SouthingtonObserver.com.