By BRIAN JENNINGS
They’re much older than they’ve been in the past. There’s more of them than there’s been in the past. They have a pair of senior athletes that have represented Southington in the postseason season and on the national stage numerous times. The girls indoor track and field team seems to be more primed and ready than they’ve ever been for their best season yet.
“We’re also going to have a lot of talented juniors and sophomores from last year that are now going to be stepping into bigger roles for us,” said Southington coach Connor Green. “I think we’re going to be set up pretty well.”
The girls team placed eighth at last year’s CCC championship and tied for 11th with 18 athletes in 12 events at the Class LL championship, advancing two to the state open and one to the New England championship. The good news for the team is that they lost only four athletes to graduation after last season, and just one of those four athletes competed at the state meet.
“We did a great job last year of finishing in the top 11,” said Green. “This year, we have much more loftier goals, and a top eight finish is definitely on our agenda. We have some awesome seniors returning…ones that can definitely be point scorers for us.”
Those loftier goals might not be as hard to reach with the fact that girls from national qualifying relays during the outdoor season are joining the indoor team for the upcoming season. Also, this year’s outdoor girls team is much bigger than last year’s squad with over 100 girls on the roster.
“There’s going to be at least one or two studs that we can hopefully pull out of new athletes,” said Green. “That will really compliment it.”
Key returning seniors for the upcoming season that competed at the state meet include Megan Biscoglio (pole vault), Amanda Brocki (jumps), Allison Brown (hurdles, relays, jumps), Amanda Howe (shot put), Sarah Minkiewicz (relays), Tayler Riddick (relays, jumps), and Isabella Scalise (distance).
It seems as if Howe has achieved longer distances in throwing and Biscoglio has reached higher marks in pole vaulting each year since they’ve joined Southington’s track and field programs. Both are owners of school records and are heading to Division I schools next fall to continue the athletic careers that they have dominated in their time at Southington. There’s no indication that they are going to slow down any time soon, and the upcoming season could bring even more school records.
Howe finished last winter with a season best of 39-feet-11-inches as runner-up in the shot put at the CCC Central Region championship and Class LL meet. She advanced to the New England championship with a third-place finish at the state open where she placed 15th in the Northeast.
“I think if anything, she was a little disappointed about that placement,” said Green. “She’s worked very hard in an event that she considers her least favorite event and was still able to finish as one of the top contenders in New England. When that’s a least favorite event and you’re still finishing that high in the region, it’s pretty impressive.”
For someone who loves to compete in the discus and hammer throws in outdoor track and field, Howe currently garners the school records in both events that she set last spring. She doesn’t have the school records in the shot put for either season, but that doesn’t mean that she won’t be gunning for the indoor school record of 44-feet-2-inches for the upcoming season.
Bloomfield’s Brittany Jones and Shelton’s Samantha Stevens snatched the CCC Central Region and Class LL titles from Howe in the shot put last winter, but both have since graduated. Based on last year’s indoor season, Green said that Howe is the top returner in the shot put as one of only two girls in the state over 37 feet, and this season’s conference and state titles are hers to lose.
“If she wants to reach those goals, which I know she does, it’s going to take a consistent effort throughout the season and, more importantly, 39 feet or more to really get back up there,” said Green. “There were multiple girls throwing over 40 feet at the New England championship last year.”
If pole vault was contested in the state of Massachusetts, Biscoglio would have been right alongside her teammate at last year’s New England championship. However, she still ended her season on a high note. Her runner-up performance at the conference meet was followed by fourth and sixth-place finishes at the state meet and state open, as she finished the last winter with a season best of 11 feet.
Since last winter season, Biscoglio has vaulted over 11 feet and currently holds the school record in the pole vault for the outdoor season after catapulting to a personal best of 12 feet last spring, taking the conference and state open titles.
“You can’t really set goals for her because she’ll just break them so quickly,” said Green. “Basically, since the day the national meet ended in outdoor track, she has worked her butt off to get that state title for indoor. She’s miles ahead of where she was last year.”
Biscoglio has a friendship and rivalry with Greenwich’s Lia Zavattaro, who is the top returning pole vaulter in the state with a personal best of 12-feet-1-inch. Biscoglio finished as runner-up to Zavattaro at the outdoor New England championship.
“Those two and a girl from Branford are probably going to be the top two girls to watch out for,” said Green. “I think all three of them are kind of right near each other. It’s going to be who can keep cool under pressure and really get over some pretty big jumps, but I think we’re probably going to see a few records go down this year.”
Although they represent Southington well, Howe and Biscoglio aren’t going to be alone. Riddick, senior Julia Groll (shot put), sophomore Trinity Cardillo (shot put) are just some of the athletes that reassure Green’s reason to believe that the strength of the girls team will come from the field events.
“Julia Groll and Trinity Cardillo will potential be over 34 feet in the shot put as well, and those are point scorers at the conference and state meets,” said Green. “We’ve got two girls at five feet in the high jump coming back. In the long jump, we have the experience of Tayler Riddick, but you never know who else we might be able to pull out of this group of girls.”
If there’s any events that Green would like to see more athletes competing in, it’s the hurdles.
Key returning juniors that competed at the state meet include Kelly Doyle (relays), Kate Kemnitz (relays, mid-distance), Adeline Kilgore (sprints, relays), Samantha Przybylski (sprints, relays), and Natalie Verderame (relays). Sophomores, Sydney Garrison (jumps), Brooke Lynch (relays), Anny Moquete-Volquez (relays), and Jenna Sheehan (relays) also competed at the state meet.
Brown, Howe, Laini Pizzitola (distance), and Riddick have been named as team captains for the upcoming season. Green is entering his second year as head coach of the girls varsity indoor track and field program.
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