By KEVIN ROBERTS
It was a good day for the Southington indoor track and field program at the CCC Championships this past Saturday at the Floyd Little Athletic Center in New Haven. The Blue Knight boys finished fourth in the conference, while the girls placed fifth.
“Overall, I thought the kids did a phenomenal job. Pre-meet scoring had us finishing fourth for both teams but those are just based off the entry list,” co-coach Connor Green said. “We had some athletes who really stepped up and lifted the team when others maybe had an off day.”
The highlight of the meet was the gold medal effort of the boys 1600m sprint medley relay team. The quartet of Trevor Porter, Johnny Carreiro, Joe Verderame and Ryan Slesinski (3:45.3) became the first gold medal relay team in a CCC indoor meet under the tenure of Green and co-coach Dan Dachelet.
“They did a great job,” Green said, pointing to all four of the legs, especially Slesinski’s anchor leg in the 800m to close it out and the space created by Verderame in the 400m leg. “They had really clean exchanges. They did a good job staying in that top three spots for positioning. Everybody just worked really well together, it was nice.”
Slesinski added an individual silver medal in the 600m (1:25.48), and Eli Rodriguez was a silver medalist in the 55m hurdles (8.07). Casey Selinske secured a bronze in the pole vault (11 feet, 6 inches), and the 4x400m relay team of Porter, Carreiro, Kolby Rogers and Verderame took bronze (3:33.41). Aidan Chesnanow claimed fifth place in the pole vault (10’6”).
For the girls, Kate Kemnitz took a bronze medal in the 1000m (3:10.12) and helped the sprint medley relay to a bronze in their race (4:32.90). Kemnitz teamed up with Shannon Litchfield, Samantha Przybylski and Natalie Verderame on that relay. Sydney Garrison was a bronze medalist in the high jump (5-0), and Trinity Cardillo took fifth in the shot put (35’5”).
The 4x400m relay of Kemnitz, Emma Plourde, Meghan Sheline and Natalie Verderame was fourth (4:23.95) while the 4×800 relay of Anny Moquete Volquez, Megan Wadman, Sheline and Lauren Verrilli finished fifth (10:32.70).
It wasn’t just the medalists who put in good efforts for the boys, and the girls.
Anthony Penta tied for 10th place in the 55m dash, but it was his improvement in time that stuck out to Green. Penta ran the dash in 6.88 seconds, which was a major improvement over his 7.21 from last year’s CCC meet.
On the girls side, Kayla Markette (8 feet) and Ella Shamus-Udicious (7’6”) finished fifth and seventh in the pole vault, which gave the Knights some team points.
“I would say that Anthony Penta’s time in the 55m and our pole vaulters on the girls side who were able to score a few points for us are big highlights that may fly under the radar,” Green said. “It’s two events where we always want to see impact and we finally are seeing strong results.”
It used to be that Top 8 or better was the goal for Southington’s indoor track teams, Green said. The teams of the last two years have raised the bar with consecutive Top 5 finishes. The boys fourth place finish was the best one since 2000.
Up next: Southington competes in the Class LL state meet on Saturday, Feb. 9, at the Floyd Little Athletic Center.
“As a team we would like to see multiple state open qualifiers and for both teams to finish in the Top 6 overall on each side,” Green said. “We have a very talented group and I know they are ready and excited for the opportunity to showcase their talents against some of the best in the state.”
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Kevin Roberts, email him at KRoberts@SouthingtonObserver.com