Cross Country: Sloper Relays draw record crowds

Anthony Riccio, center, battles a few paces ahead of Isabella Scalise during the coed Sloper Relays on Friday, Sept. 22.



Blue Knight coach Dan Dachelet markets the Sloper Relays for months, but he said the unique event basically sells itself.

With the addition of middle school teams and new features like food trucks and the Cookie Monster, it was nor surprise that the coed cross-country meet pulled in record crowds. On Friday, Sept. 22, more than 1,020 high school and middle school athletes converged on YMCA Camp Sloper.

Southington coach Dan Dachelet credits most of the event’s popularity to the atmosphere.

“The coaches realize that it’s a fun meet,” said Dachelet. “For the kids that attend it, it’s probably one of their favorite meets.”

The team of Ben Palladino, Lucca Riccio, Tanner Sperry, and Tyler Strong paced Southington with its best finish, placing ninth overall out of 167 relays and third in the four boys division with a time of 32:30.

Natalia Adamczyk, Taylor Borla, Amanda Perkowski, and Kailey Schmarr won the four girls division with a time of 38:52. Conner Leone, Sarah Minkiewicz, Isabella Scalise, and Sean Young won the four co-ed division with a time of 32:40. Michael Ditota, Jackson Landino, Kevin Le, and Christian Rivera won the four freshmen boys division.

Michael Dorsey and Jacob Mohr took 11th in the two boys division with a time of 34:42. Joshua Graikoski, Josh LaRoche, Diane Pillsbury, and Madison Zabel was the only relay to represent the four co-ed freshmen division.

Bristol Central’s Mark Petrosky and Matthew Roy finished with the best overall time (29:44), as Bristol Central’s boys team finished with the most successful male relays. Southington’s girls team finished with the most successful female relays.

In the middle school races, Kennedy’s Matthew Whitaker won the boys race with a time of 8:40, followed by Smith’s John McCarthy (8:45) and Kennedy’s Anthony Sena (8:55). Smith (41, 46:09) beat out Kennedy (51, 46:14) to win the boys race by place and time.

Brynn Bergin of the Litchfield Track Club won the girls race with a time of 9:20, followed by DePaolo’s Jacqueline Izzo (9:39) and Smith’s Molly Harding (9:44). DePaolo (38, 50:23) edged out Smith (41, 50:37) to win the girls race by place and time.

Kennedy won the spirit award, which was added for this year’s event to encourage runners to dress up and show school spirit.

Avon, Conard double dual

SEPT. 19—Southington competed in its first double dual meet of the season and came away with a number of best times, along with three wins at Fisher Meadow in Avon on Tuesday.

The boys team competed without their frontrunner, but the team remained undefeated by sweeping the meet with a 15-50 rout of Avon and one-point triumph, 27-28, over divisional Conard.

“If we would have scored this meet with 600 to go, we would have lost by three or four points,” said Dachelet. “That W came entirely from just pure guts on these guys on the last straightaway, just walking down Conard kids.”

In the place of his brother and frontrunner, Connor Leone, Shane Leone paced the boys with a second-place finish and personal best time of 16:39.

“You could definitely tell that Shane felt like he needed to step up without having Conner there,” the coach said. “You could tell just by the way he and all the guys attacked.”

Sean Young (17:02), Matt Penna (17:10), Ryan Slesinski (17:19), and Jeff Hannigan (17:54) also scored. Ben Palladino (18:03) and Luca Riccio (18:10) contributed. Conard’s Tyler Remigino (16:34) won the boys race.

The girls team managed a 19-45 victory over Conard, but fell, 15-50 to Avon. Dachelet said that he probably didn’t do as good of a job as he should have, to prep the girls on what they needed to do against Avon on such a fast course.

“I think that there was a little hesitancy to go faster,” he said. “It really wasn’t something that they should have been weary of doing, and that was my fault.”

Isabella Scalise paced the girls team with a sixth-place finish and personal best time of 20:37. Julia Michnowicz (20:46), Sarah Minkiewicz (20:54), Natalia Adamczyk (21:00), and Laini Pizzitola (21:09) also scored. Kailey Schmarr (21:11) and Amanda Perkowski (22:42) contributed. Kate Kemnitz did not run in the race.

Avon’s Sara Leavens (19:19) won the girls race, as five Avon runners graced the finish line first.

“By the mile mark, Avon’s five had already put a gap on my pack,” the coach said. “For us to race at this level, you have to play the cards you’re dealt, which was a really good Avon team going out hard today.”

For this week’s box scores, click here: ( To contact sports writer Brian Jennings, email him at

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