By BRIAN JENNINGS
Southington coach Connor Green stated that his Lady Knight outdoor track and field team was definitely setting up to be in a great position for the postseason. He said that it was going to take a team effort and a lot of depth to win a conference title, and Green wasn’t too far off his postseason predictions, even in sloppy conditions.
The Knights entered the first leg of their postseason stretch when they traveled to Hall High School on Wednesday, May 22 for a rainy CCC West Championship and were on the doorstep of a conference title after finishing as runner-up with 121.2 points to Glastonbury (183.4) out of eight teams, garnering 19 medalists and six conference champions. Simsbury (116.2) placed third, followed by Hall (91.2), Avon (86.5), Conard (55.5), NW Catholic (27), and Farmington (20).
Green said that every other conference in the state either had their conference meet on Monday or moved it from Tuesday to Wednesday. He said that the West Division was the only branch of the CCC that decided against moving their conference meet to another day to avoid the rain.
“We experienced all the rain and cold,” said Green. “For my girls to still go out there and compete at the level that they did, I was extremely happy.”
Green said that Tuesday could have been one of those days where his girls arrived at the meet, saw how crappy the conditions were, and gave up. But instead, Green said that he knows for a fact that every one of them gave their best effort.
“Did they get their best performances? Maybe not,” said Green. “But I never, for once, doubted their integrity and intention when it came to competing.”
Southington’s lone first-place finish on the track came from Morgan Hubert, Sarah Minkiewicz, Anny Moquete-Volquez, Kate Kemnitz, Kailey Schmarr, Amanda Perkowski, Meghan Sheline, and Emma Plourde in the 4x800m with a time of 9:40.95, which was Southington’s fastest 4x800m time on the season.
Green said that Southington was neck-and-neck with the other teams through the first leg. Hubert handed the baton off to Minkiewicz, who was kept close to Simsbury and Glastonbury. Southington started to pull away from Glastonbury, and then it just came down to Simsbury.
Green said that once Moquete-Volquez received the baton, she closed on the small gap between Southington and Simsbury immediately and eventually passed Simsbury, building a big enough lead by the time the baton found Kemnitz’s grasp.
“That was spectacular to watch,” said Green. “Simsbury, Glastonbury, and Hall are teams that are not slouches by any means. Anny Moquete-Volquez closed on the Simsbury girl immediately, which was phenomenal. Even though Simsbury and Glastonbury had stud anchors, we had a big enough lead that Kate Kemnitz was able to hold them off.”
It seemed like the Knights dominated the field events, as they had done all season. As the only Knight to claim the conference crown in two events, Amanda Howe took first in the shot put with a mark of 38’11.5” and discus with a distance of 136 feet. Howe beat out the next closest competitor in the discus by an inch under 30 feet.
Allie Brown took first in the high jump with a height of 4’10”, edging four other competitors in a tiebreaker as the only athlete in the event to hit 4’10” on her first attempt. She came within two inches of her season best.
Green said that Brown has been battling an injury over the past couple of weeks. She was on a schedule where she would compete one day and then take the next couple of days off until she competed again. He said that she went a couple of weeks without competing coming into the conference meet.
“She was tied for the number one seed,” said Green. “But for her to actually come out, be a senior captain, lead our team, and get 10 points for us was just fantastic.”
Megan Biscoglio took first in the pole vault with a height of 10’6”. Janette Wadolowski took first in the javelin with a distance of 108’2”.
Wadolowski was just one of seven Knights that competed in the javelin, as they all finished in the top 13 out of 21 competitors. Those athletes included Mikaela June (2nd), Julia Groll (4th), Alijah Vega (5th), Jessica Griffin (8th), Gabriella Mondo (9th), and Brianna Harris (13th). June improved her state mark (99’10”) in the event an inch shy of four feet.
Southington’s other medalists included Tayler Riddick, Abby Connolly, Samantha Przybylski, Natalie Verderame, Livvy Pizzitola, and Shannon Litchfield in the 4x100m (2nd); Kemnitz, Plourde, Brown, Verderame, Minkiewicz, Hubert, Logan Fischer, and Sheline in the 4x400m (3rd); Trinity Cardillo in the shot put (3rd); Lily Scalise in the 300m hurdles (5th); Deborah Hannigan in the discus (5th); Livvy Pizzitola in the 100m (6th); Verderame in the 400m (6th); and Kemnitz in the 800m (6th).
The Knights will enter the second leg of the postseason on Wednesday, May 30 when they travel to New Britain High School to compete in the Class LL Championship. Meet time is 3 p.m. Danbury is the defending champion.
The Knights have athletes qualified in all 18 events of the state meet. They are deepest in the javelin with six athletes qualified. Green said that the 4x800m is currently ranked third in Class LL and in the top six in the state.
With 15 all-conference athletes heading into the state meet, Green said that Southington is a long shot for a team state title, but should compete for a number of individual state titles.
“Our goal is to have, at least, four or five individuals and possibly two or more relays make the state open,” said Green. “A goal of top three is probably pretty realistic.”
For more in depth coverage, see our weekly print edition. To contact sports writer Brian Jennings, email him at BJennings@SouthingtonObserver.com.