By BRIAN JENNINGS
The Blue Knight outdoor track and field team earned their second win of the season in dual meets at a divisional rival and placed in the top 15 at their second invitational of the season with a champion pole vaulter this past week. They also qualified more athletes for the Class LL meet and broke more school records.
The Knights began the week on Tuesday, April 24 by traveling to West Hartford to take on divisional Conard. They edged the Chieftains by an event on the track and in the field, going 2-for-3 in the relays, to earn their second win of the season with a 90-60 victory. The Knights swept the 100m hurdles and 100m on the track and the javelin and pole vault in the field, while the Chieftains didn’t sweep any events.
Southington’s first-place performances on the day included the following: the 4x800m, Elijah Rodriguez in the 100m hurdles, Johnny Carreiro in the 100m, Conner Leone in the 1600m, Ryan Slesinski in the 800m, the 4x400m, Jake Monson in the shot put and discus, Jamie Lamson in the javelin, and Zachary Burleigh in the pole vault.
Second-place finishes included the following: Jack Terray in the 100m hurdles; Kolby Rogers in the 100m, 200m, and long jump; the 4x100m; Trevor Porter in the 400m; Shane Leone in the 800m; Conner Leone in the 3200m; Cameron Clynes in the javelin; Jeffrey Hannigan in the triple jump, and Casey Selinske in the pole vault.
Third-place finishes included the following: Clynes in the 100m hurdles, James Ringrose in the 100m, Matthew Penna in the 1600m and 3200m, Joseph Verderame in the 400m, Craig McPherson in the 300m hurdles, Samuel McCarty in the shot put, Jack Herms in the javelin, Russell Hotchkiss in the pole vault, and Hannigan in the high jump.
The following qualified for the state meet: the 4x800m (8:38), the 4x100m (44.7), Porter in the 400m (53.0), Slesinski in the 800m (2:04.9), Rogers in the 200m (23.5), the 4x400m (3:39.2), and Lamson in the javelin (148’1”).
Rodriguez (100m hurdles, 15.5) and Selinske (pole vault, 12’) improved their state marks. Burleigh tied his state mark in the pole vault (12’6”).
The Knights capped off the week by competing at the 38th annual O’Grady Relays, held at Danbury High School from Friday to Saturday, where they placed 13th out of 28 teams overall and eighth out of 10 teams in the large schools division. Danbury (65, 82.5) placed first overall and in the large schools division.
Out of 17 individual entries and nine relays, they came away with 10 medalists and one individual champion. Males and females combined, Southington finished with medalist performances in all but just one of the eight individual and relay events on Friday.
Burleigh skied high above the rest of the competition to lead the Knights with their only first-place finish in the O’Grady Relays after placing first in the pole vault relay with a height of 12’6”, tying his state mark for a second time this season. Selinske tied for seventh in the same event with a mark of 11’6” to help the Knights finish eighth out of 20 teams with an overall height of 24 feet in the pole vault relays in liaison with Burleigh, which was their highest finish in the relay events.
Southington’s other medalists included the following: Rogers, Terray, Verderame, and Rodriguez in the 800m sprint medley (2nd); Ringrose, Porter, Verderame, and Rodriguez in the 4x400m relay (2nd); Rodriguez in the 300m hurdles relay (3rd); Hannigan, Conner Leone, Shane Leone, and Slesinski in the 4x800m relay (3rd); Conner Leone, Shane Leone, Slesinski, and Penna in the 4x1600m relay (4th); Penna in the 2000m steeplechase relay (5th); Clynes in the javelin throw relay (6th); Ringrose, Rogers, Terray, and Carreiro in the 4x100m relay (6th); and the mixed 800m sprint medley (6th).
John Aligata, Carlos Velez, Teagan Duffy, and Marcel Pratt broke the school record (4:15.87) in the 1600m sprint medley that was set last season with a time of 4:06.7. Rodriguez (41.64, 300m hurdles); Monson (116’5”, discus throw); Hannigan, Conner Leone, Shane Leone, and Slesinski (4x800m relay, 8:16.34); and Ringrose, Porter, Verderame, and Rodriguez (4x400m relay, 3:30.88) qualified the state meet.
The Knights will be back in action this week when they travel to Farmington on Tuesday, May 1. Southington is 2-2 overall and 1-1 in the CCC West Colonial Division.
For more in depth coverage, see our weekly print edition. To contact sports writer Brian Jennings, email him at BJennings@SouthingtonObserver.com.