Girls Track and Field preview: Knights have big shoes to fill

Junior Alijah Vega leaps into the pit last spring, above. It’s going to take a full team effort if this year’s Knights are going to repeat last spring’s success.

By KEVIN ROBERTS

STAFF WRITER

It will be hard to top what the Southington girls outdoor track and field team did during the 2018 season. The Lady Knights rode three individual championships and a fourth place finish to earn the school’s first state open team title—boys or girls.

Those three athletes—Amanda Howe, Megan Biscoglio and Janette Wadolowski—all competed at the New England championship meet. All three also graduated from the 2018 state open championship team. Howe won the shot put and discus at the open, Biscoglio took first in the pole vault, and Wadolowski was fourth in the javelin. Howe (discus) and Biscoglio (pole vault) also won New England titles.

Howe, Biscoglio and Wadolowski are big losses, as are several other seniors who moved on. Southington girls coach Connor Green doesn’t see the situation as a need to replace those individuals.

“We have been very fortunate to have some incredible athletes in our program’s history, but I don’t view it as replacing them, but more along the lines of continuing to build on the legacy they started,” Green said. “With such a great mix of new and veteran athletes returning, we will find our strengths, build up our weaknesses and find new ways to succeed.”

Returning for the Knights are seniors Natalie Verderame, Kate Kemnitz, Samantha Przybylski and Alijah Vega; juniors Trinity Cardillo and Sydney Garrison; and sophomores Livvy Pizzitola, Morgan Hubert and Shannon Litchfield. Each brings their own event expertise, which means Southington will score plenty of points in its various meets.

“One of our greatest strengths, just as it was last year, is that we have great leadership in every group,” Green said. “We have multiple state qualifiers coming back from last year’s team that won the state open and are looking to score well at every level of competition, but the goal is progress over the season in a way that allows us to peak at the class and state open meets.”

Verderame, Przybylski and Pizzitola are focused on relays and sprints while Kemnitz runs middle distance and relays. Vega throws the javelin while Cardillo competes in the shot put and discus. Garrison is strong in the jumps, Litchfield competes in sprints, and Hubert runs distance events. There are areas where Green is looking for improvement.

“Areas that can be worked on are our hurdle races, in terms of depth, as well as some of our field events where were graduated a lot of varsity level athletes that will need to be replaced if we hope to compete against the top talent in Connecticut,” Green said.

Green said the atmosphere at the first practices has been great, a welcome sight given there are over 110 girls on the team.

“We have a large underclassmen group that brings welcomed energy and excitement, as well as our upperclassmen, who have done a great job of mixing among groups so that everyone feels welcomed,” Green said.

Southington opened the season with a home meet against Avon on Tuesday.

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

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