By KEVIN ROBERTS
Southington’s indoor track and field athletes had a great day overall at the Class LL state championship meet on Feb. 9, according to co-coach Dan Dachelet.
Junior thrower Trinity Cardillo was back to her early season form and captured a gold medal in the shot put at New Haven’s Floyd Little Athletic Center. Fellow junior Sydney Garrison showed concentration and confidence and claimed a silver medal in the high jump. Senior Ryan Slesinski put in an evening of hard work and was part of three bronze medal finishes for the Blue Knights.
Southington’s boys finished tied for eighth place as a team while the girls took ninth. Hall won the boys team championship while Danbury captured the girls team crown.
Cardillo had taken some time to focus on the weight throw and hadn’t been doing as well in the shot put as she was earlier in the season, according to Dachelet. That changed at the Class LL meet, where Cardillo captured gold with a throw of 39’6”.
“I think she figured it out today, which is great. That’s when you want them to figure it out is at the end of the season,” Dachelet said. “She’s got the Open, and I think she’s got 40 feet plastered all over everything in her head right now, so it’s good.”
Garrison overcame a tough break when trying to clear 5’0” in the high jump. She wound up clearing 5’0”, then she cleared 5’2”, which tied her own school record. Garrison finished second to NFA’s Allyson Lewis, who cleared 5’6”.
“It was a weird knock of the bar, it happened at the last second,” Dachelet said. “Normally they would have counted that one, but it looks like they waited. That could have thrown her off, but she still came back. I was as impressed with that as I was with the 5’2” mark. That was fantastic.”
Slesinski teamed up with senior Trevor Porter, junior Johnny Carreiro and senior Joe Verderame for bronze medal finishes in the 1600m sprint medley and the 4x400m relay. The sprint medley finished third in a time of 3:44.58, which bested the school record of 3:45.26 set in 2008. The 4x400m relay finished third in 3:33.27.
“They just missed their own school record by a tenth of a second,” Dachelet said. “These guys are tripling, some of them. Ryan Slesinski, he had a really tough meet. It was a solid meet, but it was a lot of events to do. He stepped up big-time today, and that was fun to watch.”
Slesinski also ran in the 600m, where he took bronze with a time of 1:25.51. Senior Kate Kemnitz claimed a bronze medal in the 1000m in 3:10.29. Fellow senior Casey Selinske took bronze in the pole vault with a vault of 12’6”.
“Casey clearing 12’6” was huge for us, that was great,” Dachelet said.
What also impressed Dachelet were good efforts given by athletes who didn’t score points. Sophomore Diane Pillsbury had a great run in the 1600m, topping her personal best time by nearly 10 seconds. Pillsbury finished the race in 5:36.17.
“She’s surprising herself and us, which is good,” Dachelet said.
For those Southington athletes who struggled, there were others who picked them up. That’s the way it goes at a state meet, where not everyone will have a great day or run a personal best time, Dachelet said. The Knights are sending several athletes to the state open this coming Saturday, which starts at noon at the FLAC in New Haven.
Cardillo is seeded second in the shot put while Garrison is sixth in the high jump. The boys 4×400 and sprint medley relays are each seeded sixth while Slesinski is eighth in the 600m. Selinske is seeded 11th in the pole vault while Kemnitz is 13th in the 1000m.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Kevin Roberts, email him at KRoberts@SouthingtonObserver.com.