Cross Country: Dressed for success, costumes add to fun of the Sloper Relays

By KEVIN ROBERTS

STAFF WRITER

Southington cross country needed a bit of a reprieve following its double dual meet on Sept. 17 against Conard and Avon at the West Hartford Reservoir.

Luckily for the Blue Knights, they had the always fun 8th Sloper Relays to look forward to on Sept. 21. Nineteen high school and eight middle school teams took part in the relays, which matched boys against boys, girls and girls, and even boys and girls against boys and girls in co-ed relays.

“It’s a good time,” coach Dan Dachelet said. “The kids that go there say it’s their favorite meet of the year.”

A new addition to the relays was costumes, which runners from various teams took full advantage of. There were banana shirts complete with hats, shark suits, dresses, tutus, and eagle and hawk costumes, just to name a few. There was a boys relay dressed up as members of the rock band KISS, and one boy runner even donned dress pants, a long sleeve shirt and a tie to go along with his headband. There was plenty of paint used on faces, arms and legs as well.

“It’s a special meet,” Dachelet said. “It’s unique, maybe even in the United States.”

Not only was Southington High represented, but so were the DePaolo and Kennedy middle schools. Dachelet got a chance to see future Blue Knight and Lady Knight runners in action.

“I also liked it because the middle schoolers were there as well,” Dachelet said.

Jackie Izzo and Kate Kemnitz finished first in the Two Girls Division and combined to smash the race record with a time of 36:41. Grace Michaud and Matt Penna took first in the One Boy/One Girl Division in 34:58, and the tandem of Natalia Adamczyk and Ryan Asido were second in 36:25. Southington captured first in the Four Co-Ed Freshmen Division behind the team of Grayson Borla, Brendan Leone, Emma Swindon and Megan Wadman in a time of 37:47. High school runners needed to do a total of four laps, or six miles.

In the boys middle school 1.5-mile race, eighth graders Jake Nafis and Drew Nafis of DePaolo finished first and second in 5:47 and 5:56. Kennedy’s top runner in that race was eighth grader Ben Roper, who finished 12th.

In the girls middle school 1.5-mile race, DePaolo eighth grader Sofia Scalise finished second behind Litchfield Track eighth grader Abigail Johnston. Kennedy’s top runner in that race was eighth grader Emily Moskal, who took seventh.

Girls sweep, boys split at double dual meet

SEPT. 17—The girls cross country team had a great day in their meet against Conard and Avon at the West Hartford Reservoir.

The Lady Knights swept the Chieftains and Falcons by the scores of 21-37 and 25-31. Freshman Jackie Izzo won the 5K race in a time of 19:59.

“Jackie is continuing to impress, and she’s trying to find what her limit is,” Dachelet said.

Izzo became just the second Southington girl to break 20 minutes. Sophomore Grace Michaud took second place in 20:25 and senior Kate Kemnitz was fourth in 21:13.

“Grace wasn’t too far off of Jackie, so that was nice to see,” Dachelet said.

Senior Natalia Adamczyk ran a personal record time of 22:14 and finished 10th to put four Southington runners in the Top 10. Senior Kailey Schmarr finished 14th with a time of 23:20. The Lady Knights improved to 3-0 with the wins. Dachelet was happy with the better times that came from Adamczyk, Schmarr and senior Taylor Borla.

“It was a positive race,” Dachelet said. “We’re still not where we need to be, but we’re doing better.”

Southington boys cross country split the meet, beating Avon 19-40 and losing 15-45 to Conard. Chieftain freshman runner Gavin Sherry finished first in a time of 16:14. Sherry’s freshman brother Callum Sherry took third as Conard claimed the first five slots and seven out of the Top 10.

“These are no ordinary freshmen,” Dachelet said about his freshman duo.

Senior Ryan Slesinski ran a personal record time of 17:44 and finished sixth overall to lead Southington. Junior Matt Penna claimed seventh place in a time of 17:51 and fellow junior Lucca Riccio was ninth in 17:53. Junior Ryan Asido placed 12th in 17:59 and freshman Grayson Borla was 17th in 18:36.

“Ryan Asido ran well, Lucca Riccio and Ryan Slesinski ran decent,” Dachelet said.

The Southington boys to deal with a couple injuries and a wrong turn by one runner.

“It was a rough day for the guys’ side, but it’s just one meet,” Dachelet said, adding that the boys were focused on being better later in the season.

The Blue Knights dropped to 1-2 in dual meets.

Up next: Southington was scheduled to run against Farmington and Glastonbury on Thursday at Winding Trails in Farmington.

To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Kevin Roberts, email him at KRoberts@SouthingtonObserver.com

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