By KEVIN ROBERTS
Southington indoor track and field will send two girls to the New England championship meet after their strong performances at this past Saturday’s state open meet.
Juniors Sydney Garrison and Trinity Cardillo each finished in the top four in their events to earn a trip to the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center in Boston for the March 2 meet. Garrison tied for second place in the high jump with a school record of 5’4”. Cardillo took fourth in the shot put with a throw of 39’8.5”.
Garrison has been consistently been clearing 5’2” this season, according to co-coach Connor Green. At the state open, Garrison cleared 5’4” for the first time…and she did it on her first attempt.
“I have told her many times that consistently clearing [5’2”] is a good thing because in big meets if comes down to numbers of attempts a lot of the time, and that’s exactly what happened,” Green said. “She cleared every height on her first attempt, except for 5-foot-6.”
Garrison tied Class LL state champion Allyson Lewis of Norwich Free Academy at 5’4”. Berlin senior Patricia Mroczkowski won the event with a jump of 5’6”.
Cardillo faced what Green said was “probably one of the strongest fields in the past few years.” Cardillo fouled on two of her first three attempts, with a toss of 38’0.5” in between the fouls. She came back with her high of 39’8.5” on her next throw. It took strong efforts from the top three finishers to beat out Cardillo.
“Trinity was in second place going into final throws and her competition stepped up,” Green said.
Cardillo’s season goal was qualifying for the New England meet. She met her goal, and now she has time to prepare for it. It’s the first time in the indoor track tenure of Green and co-coach Dan Dachelet that two girls have made it to the New England meet. There is no pole vault at the New England meet, so Megan Biscoglio was unable to compete there with Amanda Howe in 2018. Howe competed in the shot put in 2018. Biscoglio and Howe were a dynamic duo, and now Southington has another one in Garrison and Cardillo.
What’s great for the Knights is that Garrison and Cardillo are both juniors, Green said. “They set the tone for our field events and help raise the standard every time they compete,” said the coach. “We are very fortunate to have such dedicated athletes who set very high goals for themselves.”
Southington qualified two relays for the state open, but put its focus on the 4×400. The Knight quartet of Trevor Porter, Johnny Carreiro, Joe Verderame and Ryan Slesinski finished the race in 3:31.84, breaking their own school record by two seconds.
“Even though they were disappointed about finishing in 10th place overall, the school record helped ease the sting,” Green said. “They have worked extremely hard all season long and as far as I am concerned accomplished some incredible things at that meet.”
Porter, Verderame and Slesinski are all seniors and Carreiro is a junior. Slesinski also competed in the 600m at the state open, where he finished ninth in 1:25.72.
Up next: Garrison and Cardillo compete in the New England championships on March 2 in Boston.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Kevin Roberts, email him at KRoberts@SouthingtonObserver.com