By BRIAN JENNINGS
Southington’s indoor track and field teams returned to Hillhouse High School for the fourth time this season to compete in the SCC Coaches Invitational on Saturday, Jan. 13 where the Knights swept the pole vault and came away with a pair of school records, along with more qualifications and improvements for the Class LL meet.
With male athletes qualified in every event for the CCC championship and female athletes qualified for almost every event, it’s no wonder that these Knights just keep rising to the occasion.
“This team has done a phenomenal job of handling the less than ideal training conditions and have really stepped up to have some great performances,” said Southington coach Connor Green. “I know it is in the back of their minds to place high at the CCC meet, as well as the Class LL meet.”
Both boys and girls teams placed sixth with 27 and 25 points. Staples (37) was the top boys team, and Danbury (69) was the top girls team.
Zachary Burleigh improved his state mark by taking first in the pole vault with a height of 13’6”, tying the school record that was previously set by Brian Stieg during the 2000-01 season.
“This has been a long time in the making,” the coach said. “Zach has put so much hard work into his training and has really grown as a competitor. He is now able to brush off the things that used to bother him after a missed jump and get back to business.”
Megan Biscoglio also reset the record books with a first-place finish in the pole vault on the girls side, just reaching above the meet record by an inch. She came close to her season best with a height of 11’8” and beat the next closest mark by more than two feet.
“Megan breaking the meet record is great,” said Green. “Her goal is to get as close to or over 12 feet with the hopes of clearing 12’4” to make it to the championship level of nationals.”
Trevor Porter, Elijah Rodriguez, Jeffrey Hannigan, and Joseph Verderame broke the school record (3:39.38) with a third-place finish in the 4x400m with a time of 3:38.07, which was set by Hannigan, Joseph Verderame, Shane Leone, and Rodriguez earlier in the season.
“The boys 4×400 record is a record I am very excited about,” the coach said. “It’s a great group of guys that have been working very hard. This is a relay that I am hoping can make it to the state open.”
Other medalists included Rodriguez in the 55m hurdles (2nd, 7.82); Sydney Garrison in the high jump (3rd, 5’); Meghan Sheline, Allie Brown, Kate Kemnitz, and Natalie Verderame in the 4x400m (5th, 4:24.80); Tayler Riddick, Samantha Przybylski, Kayla Pelletier, Natalie Verderame in the 4x200m (6th, 1:54.53); and Kolby Rogers in the long jump (6th, 20’6”).
The following qualified for the state meet: Kemnitz in the 1000m (3:12.59), Grace Michaud in the 1600m (5:48.70), William Downes in the 55m dash (7.03); Hannigan in the 600m (1:28.29), and Ryan Slesinski in the 1600m (4:47.35).
The following improved their state marks: Przybylski in the 55m dash (7.89), Lauren Verrilli in the 1600m (5:40.85), Rodriguez in the 55m hurdles, Casey Selinske in the pole vault (11’6”), and Rogers in the long jump.
The Knights will be back in action this week when they travel to New Haven for the Yale Invitational, which is scheduled to be held from Friday, Jan. 19 to Saturday, Jan. 20.
For this week’s box scores, click here: (southingtonobserver.com/2018/01/16/weekly-scoreboard-for-the-jan-19-edition). To contact sports writer Brian Jennings, email him at BJennings@SouthingtonObserver.com.