By BRIAN JENNINGS
For the first time in the program’s history, the Lady Knight outdoor track and field team won the state open, and they did it with only field athletes. Southington coach Connor Green said that there was definitely some shock when he found out that the Knights were the team winners on Monday, June 4 at New Britain High School.
“Before I came in four years ago, we sent Cherraine Davis to the state open,” said Green. “To win the entire thing almost eight to 10 years later with only field-event athletes is just incredible. I knew that we would be in the top five or six, but I never, for a minute, thought that we could come away with the entire thing.”
Amanda Howe was a big part of Southington’s open title, scoring 20 of the team’s 35 points by earning her second state open title in the discus and first state open title in the shot put. After finishing sixth at last year’s state open, she beat out 25 other competitors to win the shot put with a season best of 40 feet, 4 inches, edging Danbury’s Celyna Custodio (38’10.75”) by over a foot and a half. Howe’s mark came on her first attempt, as she was the top seed coming into the shot put.
Green said it was business as usual. “She knew that the field was going to be tough, but she also knew that if she threw like she was supposed to and like she had practiced,” he said. “There wasn’t a girl in the state that was going to touch her.”
Howe also dominated the discus. She fended off 23 other hurlers with a distance of 132 feet, 3 inches, beating out the next closest competitor by almost nine feet. Her mark came on her third attempt. She was the top seed coming into the discus.
“When you get the kind of confidence of winning an event that she’s basically been third in for the past two years, it definitely helped fire her up a little bit for discus,” said Green. “When she got those 10 points and I told her where we were at as a team, she started to care a little bit less about her individual performance and more about how her 10 points contributed to the team.”
Megan Biscoglio earned her second state open title as the No. 1 seed in the pole vault by breaking her own school record by an inch that she set earlier this season. She beat out 19 other vaulters to win the pole vault with a height of 12’6”, edging Old Saybrook’s Tyra Finkeldey (11’6”) by a foot. Aside from breaking the school record, she tied the meet record and qualified for the New Balance Nationals Outdoor meet. Her mark of 12 feet, 6 inches came on her eighth attempt.
“It was the typical Megan that we always see,” said Green. “She was focused and excited. She was willing to stay loose and keep moving constantly in between jumps. She was feeling really good.”
Janette Wadolowski will join Howe and Biscoglio at the New England Championship in her first appearance at the regional meet in her first year throwing javelin. She finished fourth out of 25 athletes in the javelin with a distance of 110’8”. Her mark of 110’8” came on her second attempt, as she was seeded third coming into the open.
“She’s been a great part of our team,” said Green. “She’s just used to this high-level stress and competition that comes from basketball and when she played softball. Now, the only stress that was on her was the pressure that she wanted to do well.”
Mikaela June was not far behind Wadolowski and finished 12th in the javelin with a season best of 106’10”. Trinity Cardillo backed Howe in the shot put, finishing 20th with a mark of 33’3.5”.
Howe, Biscoglio, and Wadolowski will travel to the University of New Hampshire in Durham, NH for the 73rd annual New England Interscholastic Track and Field Championships on Saturday, June 9.
Class LL Championship
MAY 30—The Knights entered the second leg of the postseason on Wednesday when they traveled to New Britain High School for the Class LL Championship. They entered 25 athletes in 16 events and placed fifth out of 23 teams with seven medalists.
Southington’s top performance on the track came from Natalie Verderame in the 400m. She took sixth out of 20 runners with a season best of 1:00.63. Southington’s top performances in the field came in the form of four individual Class LL champions.
Howe advanced to the state open by earning her third Class LL title in the discus with a distance of 134’7” and her first Class LL title in the shot put with a mark of 39’9”. She finished third in the shot put at last year’s class meet.
Biscoglio advanced to the open by earning her first Class LL title in the pole vault with a height of 12’1.5”. She finished third at last year’s class meet.
Wadolowski advanced to the open by earning her first Class LL title in the javelin, coming close to her season best with a mark of 117’8”. She edged Shelton’s Jacquelyn Simington by a little over two feet.
June earned her first trip to the open with a fifth-place finish in the javelin (106’6”). Cardillo also earned her first appearance at the open with a fourth-place finish in the shot put (35’8.25”).
Other top-ten finishes included Julia Groll in the javelin (7th); Kate Kemnitz, Allison Brown, Meghan Sheline, and Verderame in the 4x400m (8th); Kemnitz, Anny Moquete-Volquez, Morgan Hubert, and Sarah Minkiewicz in the 4x800m (8th); Samantha Przybylski, Abigail Connolly, Tayler Riddick, and Verderame in the 4x100m (9th); Brown in the high jump (9th); and Deborah Hannigan in the discus (10th).
For more in depth coverage, see our weekly print edition. To contact sports writer Brian Jennings, email him at BJennings@SouthingtonObserver.com.