Track competes at decathlon, steeplechase, and national championship

By BRIAN JENNINGS

STAFF WRITER

Southington’s outdoor track and field programs closed out their spring season this past week with a trip to Willow Brook Park in New Britain for the CIAC’s outdoor track multi-event championships and a trip to the North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University in Greensborough, NC for the National Scholastic Athletics Foundation’s New Balance Nationals Outdoor competition.

Both trips were successful one after the boys teams produced a pair of medalists for the first time in years, and more school records were broken by the Lady Knights on the biggest stage of the year.

Multi-Event Championships

Cameron Clynes took a shot at the decathlon. The junior will look to build on his mark next year.

JUNE 13-14—As the only male athlete to represent the Blue Knights in the multi-event, Cameron Clynes took 31st out of 62 athletes in the decathlon in New Britain. Clynes highest finish came in the second-to-last event, the javelin throw, where he earned a sixth-place mark of 39.29m.

Southington did not have a Lady Knight compete in the heptathlon.

In the steeplechase events, Southington leaders included Kate Kemnitz (6th) in the girls 2000m, Ryan Slesinski (3rd) and Jeffrey Hannigan (4th) in the boys 2000m, and Conner Leone (12th) in the boys 3000m. Slesinski’s and Hannigan’s finishes in the 2000m steeplechase gave Southington a pair of male medalists in the event for the first time in years.

Amanda Howe finished as runner-up to Bloomfield’s Brittany Jones in the hammer throw. Julia Groll was not far behind in eighth place.

National Meet

Amanda Howe is just a junior, but she continues to set new school records almost every time she competes.

JUNE 16-18—Howe continued her postseason dominance a few days later at the national competition in North Carolina over the weekend. She broke her own school record (152’5”) for the second time this year after finishing 11th in the girls hammer throw championship with a distance of 154 feet, 7 inches.

It was the first time this season that Howe had three consecutive throws over 150 in the hammer throw. Going into the last flight, Howe was in the top seven, finishing as only one of two non-seniors in the top 13.

“The fact that she can compete all weekend long and still pull out a school record and finish in the top eleven in the entire country is awesome to see,” said Southington coach Connor Green. “It shows that her strength and endurance to go through that many events in that many days is just phenomenal. I’m happy to be just a small part of her success.”

Prior to her performance in the hammer throw championship, Howe beat out 24 girls to win the girls hammer throw emerging elite with a mark of 152 feet. In the girls discus throw emerging elite, she placed third to Bloomfield’s Brittany Jones (144’) and Piper Klinger of the Infinity Throwing Club in Pennsylvania. Jones’ first throw was her best throw.

“She really wanted to win discus,” said Green. “The fact that she got third kind of motivated her to do even better in her other events. She was definitely a little bit disappointed with championship discus, but she didn’t qualify for it last year. So, to place in the emerging elite and qualify for the championship is an amazing thing.”

Howe capped off her busy weekend with a 21st-place mark in the girls discus throw championship. Megan Biscoglio tied for 19th in the girls pole vault emerging elite.

Southington’s girls 1600m sprint medley of Samantha Przybylski, Abby Connolly, Natalie Verderame, and Kate Kemnitz broke their own school record (4:26) after taking 13th in the emerging elite with a time of 4:15.87. The previous school record was set last year by Connolly, Katie Ierardi, Verderame, and Gabi Napoli.

“I was very happy with them,” said Green. “They came out and ran exactly what they need to do. Also, every single one of them comes back, so that’s really exciting for us.”

The girls 800m sprint medley also broke their own school record (1:53.7) from earlier in the year after taking 29th in the emerging elite with a time of 1:53.34. Most of the girls are the same to the girls 1600m sprint medley. The only difference is that Tayler Riddick is the leadoff runner, which replaces Kemnitz.

“At the end of the day, they all wanted to run personal records and break their record,” said Green. “They wanted to get under 1:53, but it was a pretty hot day. The level of competition in this event alone has absolutely skyrocketed over the past three years.”

When Southington first sent a group to come at the national meet, the standard to get into the girls 800m sprint medley was two minutes. The standard is now 1:54.

The boys 800m sprint medley wrapped up the weekend for Southington by taking 34th in the emerging elite.

 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.

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