By BRIAN JENNINGS
A dropped baton in a relay and a spike violation could be summed up as a series of unfortunate events for Southington at the CCC championship meet in New Haven. However, the Knights were close in what they had hoped to accomplish at their first postseason meet of the year.
Before heading back to Hillhouse High School for the fifth time this season, Southington coach Connor Green said that he pre-scored the meet based on all of the entries. He had boys team finished third and the girls team finished fourth. Both boys and girls teams came away with fifth-place finishes, as the girls team missed fourth place by a point.
“It was the best finish in school history for the girls and the best finish in the past 10 years for the guys,” said Green. “I think at the end of the day, they were all very happy. I know us as a coaching staff was very happy.”
Although there were points still left on the table for the Knights, Southington’s depth played a major part in those fifth place finishes. Athletes stepped up in areas that they weren’t necessarily expected to step up in.
Going into the meet, Green said that he was expecting the boys 4x800m to finish seventh, but they ended up finishing third overall. Green expected the girls 4x800m to maybe get a point or two, but they ended up taking fifth.
“It worked out,” said Green. “Obviously, could I ask or hope for better performances? Totally. But at the end of the day, I know that no one cut themselves any slack on how hard they worked throughout that meet.”
Hall edged out Glastonbury by 10 points to take the boy’s conference title out of 23 teams, and Glastonbury beat out Bloomfield by 17 points to take the girl’s conference title.
Megan Biscoglio took the pole vault title with a height of 11’7” and broke the meet record (11’6”) by an inch that was set by Amy-Erin Zadroga of Tolland at last year’s conference meet. She beat out Hannah Cloutier of Maloney by two feet and an inch.
“One of the biggest issues was that they were taking forever to figure out how to measure it and make sure it was a record,” said Green. “She got cold going into her 12-foot jumps and couldn’t get fully warmed up again because of how long it took. She’s still happy with 11’7” and has a couple more meets to get that national qualifying mark for the championships.”
Amanda Howe improved her state mark by taking the shot put title with a personal record of 42’3.75”, beating out Justyce Wilson of Bloomfield by over five feet.
“I think it was just Amanda being Amanda,” said Green. “The second she got over that 40 mark, it was kind of just watch out and see where she can go. It was one of those barrier moves that we were hoping would happen a little earlier. But the fact that it happened and she’s comfortable and feeling good, we’re pretty excited about it.”
Other medalists from the meet included the following: Zachary Burleigh in the pole vault (2nd); Jack Terray in the high jump (2nd); Conner Leone in the 3200m (3rd); Ryan Slesinski, Conner Leone, Matthew Penna, and Shane Leone in the 4x800m (3rd); Trinity Cardillo in the shot put (3rd); Kailey Schmarr, Meghan Sheline, Lauren Verrilli, and Anny Moquete-Volquez in the 4x800m (5th); Samantha Przybylski, Abby Connolly, Natalie Verderame, and Kate Kemnitz in the sprint medley (5th); Kemnitz, Allie Brown, Sheline, and Natalie Verderame in the 4x400m (5th); Trevor Porter, Joseph Verderame, Jeffrey Hannigan, and Ryan Slesinski in the 4x400m (5th); and Casey Selinske in the pole vault (5th).
In a last-chance effort, the following also qualified for the state meet: the girls 4x800m (10:40.19); the girls sprint medley (4:31.95); Trevor Porter, Johnny Carreiro, Joseph Verderame, and Shane Leone in the sprint medley (3:54.95); Verrilli in the 3200m (12:27.24); the boys 4x400m (3:40.76); Jared Martin in the long jump (19’1.5”); and Ian Agnew in the long jump (19’).
Others that improved their state marks included the following: Conner Leone in the 1600m (4:41.20) and 3200m (10:03.08), Terray in the long jump (19’9.25”) and high jump (5’10”), the boys 4x800m (8:37.94), Lauren Verrilli in the 1000m (3:18.81), and Cardillo in the shot put (35’5.75”). Conner Leone scored in three separate events for the Knights and improved his state time in the 3200m by almost 10 seconds, as did the boys 4x800m. Terray improved his state mark in the long jump with a lifetime best for the third time this season.
“Something that I was not expecting was Jack getting second in the high jump,” said Green. “We got lucky that the Wethersfield kid didn’t end of competing because he’s pretty consistently over six feet. But for him to get eight points out of that was huge for us.”
The Knights will return to Hillhouse on Saturday, Feb. 10 for the Class LL Championship. The meet is scheduled to start at 10 a.m. The boys team is qualified in every event, but the 1000m, 1500m, and 3000m. The girls team is qualified in every event, but the 55m hurdles, 1500m, and 3000m.
Green said that it’s tough to say where the boys and girls teams are in the Class LL mix two weeks before heading into the state meet. But he also said that a top five or six-place finish on both sides would really be awesome, and at the same time, attainable. It’s just going to have to be one of those days where they are really hitting on all cylinders.
“It’s going to come from all over the place wherever we can sneak a point in here and there,” said Green. “There are some really good athletes in Class LL, but we’re at that point now where we don’t fold when we see this. It helps motivate us to work a little bit harder and reach past heights that were previously thought to be our average.”
Danbury is both the defending boys and girls Class LL champions.
For this week’s box scores, click here: (southingtonobserver.com/2018/01/29/weekly-scoreboard-for-the-feb-2-edition). To contact sports writer Brian Jennings, email him at BJennings@SouthingtonObserver.com.