Dash away, Dachelet: SHS cross country coach called to active duty

Blue Knight cross country and track coach Dan Dachelet will be absent on the sidelines for the next couple of months. He has been called up for active service.



For the last month or so, there’s been a possibility that Southington coach Dan Dachelet could be called up to active duty with the Marine Corps. Dachelet had been serving on and off with the Marine Corps for the past 23 years, having served about seven of those years on active duty.

This past week, Dachelet received that call to serve his country through official orders to report to Camp Lejeune, N.C. to backfill a command element that will be forward deployed to Afghanistan. He is scheduled to remain in North Carolina until the end of February, but this could be the end of one chapter in Dachelet’s life, due to the love he has for his athletes.

“Although I am fairly certain that my remaining months in the Marine Corps are quite short, I’m not quite ready to retire just now,” said Dachelet in an email he sent out to parents and supporters. “This mobilization may very well be the final cap to years well spent in the Corps.”

Assistant coach Connor Green will take over head coaching duties for Dachelet for the remainder of the cross country season and all of the indoor track and field season.

“I am very excited to continue with the plan Dan set up at the beginning of the season,” said Green. “The kids are running well right now, and I know it’s because they believe in the process.”

In terms of what’s left of the fall season, Green said that he has always been on the same page with Dachelet when it comes to training and race strategy, and the program will continue in the same direction is has been going in since the start of the season.

“We have a great group of student athletes on our team, as well as a very supportive booster club and administration that are always there to help our team succeed,” said Green. “We will keep working hard going into the championship part of our season.”

Although he won’t be coaching Southington until, hopefully, the spring season, Dachelet said that he has the utmost confidence in Green from here forward. He also said that this is a very deep and talented boys team with an incredible amount of potential that definitely has an opportunity to go to the state open.

“They just need to find their rhythm in a race,” said Dachelet. “At this point of the season, they’ve done what they’ve needed to do. So right now, this is just about racing, getting their heads right, and racing up to their potential.”

The girls team is not as deep as the boys team, but Dachelet said that the potential is still there for great races.

“They need to find their mojo a little bit in the next couple of weeks,” said Dachelet. “They really have to fire on all cylinders, but they have the same opportunities as the guys team. I’m just hoping for them to walk away from the season with their heads held high, feeling like they gave it a shot.”

Conner Leone climbs the final hill at Wickham Park in his first visit to the postseason course.

The Knights will be back on the trails next week when they host divisional NW Catholic at Camp Sloper in their regular season finale on Tuesday, Oct. 10. Meet time is 4 p.m. The boys team is currently 5-2, and the girls team is currently 3-4.

Hall, Simsbury

Oct. 3—The Knights returned to Stratton Brook State Park for a second time this season where they managed to come away with just one win in a double dual meet against divisional Hall and Simsbury on Tuesday. The boys team defeated Simsbury, 22-34, but fell, 15-49, to Hall. The girls team got swept, falling, 19-44, to Simsbury, and, 16-47, to Hall.

Connor Leone paced the boys team by finishing eighth with a time of 17:39.5. Shane Leone (18:10.7), Sean Young (18:19.0), Matt Penna (18:40.3), and Ryan Slesinski (18:45.2) also scored. Marcel Prat (19:22.3) and Tyler Strong (19:34.1) contributed.

Hall’s Trey Cormier (16:59.1) beat out Simsbury’s Solomon Davis (17:00.6) to win the race, as six of the top seven spots were filled by Hall runners.

Kate Kemnitz paced the girls team by finishing sixth with a time of 22:19.0. Natalia Adamczyk (22:49.5), Kailey Schmarr (23:11.6), Isabella Scalise (24:23.9), and Sarah Minkiewicz (24:24.2) also scored. Kelly Koba (24:56.2) and Meghan Sheline (24:56.9) contributed.

Hall’s Jenna Zydanowicz (19:06.2) and Rose Kitz (20:32.4) marshaled the Warriors to a sweep, as four Hall runners graced the finish line first. Four of the next five spots were filled by Simsbury runners.

The Lady Knights fight for position in the pack at the start of the girls race.

Wickham Invite

OCT. 7—Southington traveled to Wickham Park in Manchester for the second time this season and received a preview of the postseason after competing in the 34th annual Wickham Invitational on Saturday. However, the 70-degree weather didn’t help either team’s cause.

The boys team finished second to last by place and dead last by time in the championship varsity race. The girls team finished dead last by place and time in the championship varsity race.

Conner Leone paced the boys team with a time of 17:29, finishing 29th out of 87 runners. Then there was a big gap between Connor Leone and the next male Southington runner. Young (18:30), Penna (18:44), Slesinski (18:51), and Shane Leone (19:00) also scored. Tanner Sperry (19:00) and Jeff Hannigan (19:58) contributed.

Cheshire’s Brendan Murray (15:58) beat out Shelton’s Robert Dillon (16:15) to win the race. Xavier (53) beat out Staples (66) to finish first overall as a team.

In a smaller field of only 37 runners, Adamczyk paced the girls team with a time of 21:44, finishing 16th. Schmarr (22:04), Minkiewicz (22:16), Scalise (22:53), and Laini Pizzitola (37th, 24:46) also scored.

Erin McGill (20:13) and Alexandra Ross (20:14) marshaled the Tomahawks (15) to a first-place finish over Cheshire (86), as five of Glastonbury’s seven runners in the race graced the finish line first.

For this week’s box scores, click here: (southingtonobserver.com/2017/10/10/weekly-scoreboard-for-the-oct-13-edition). To contact sports writer Brian Jennings, email him at BJennings@SouthingtonObserver.com.


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