By KEVIN ROBERTS
Southington boys outdoor track and field is using its dual meet season as an extension of its training that takes place during the week. The Blue Knights want to be peaking when it counts most, at the conference and state championship meets.
Southington took that approach in its first dual meet of the season against Avon on April 2 at Southington High School.
“The plan for the day was we did a lot of people in off-distance races, or we put them in abbreviated events, so not as many events as they would normally run,” coach Dan Dachelet said. “We had Matt Penna, who is normally a two-miler, run the 800. We rested some guys in various events.”
The goal is to work hard and keep improving, and winning a dual meet is secondary. Southington lost 88-62 to Avon, but the score isn’t a big deal. Neither is entering athletes in as many events as can be to secure team points.
“That’s not the goal here. I think the guys get it, and they understand our approach to this,” Dachelet said. “You can only focus on so many things.”
Dachelet said he was looking for younger kids to achieve personal records, and they did, but so did some veterans as well. Penna ran a best time of 2:07 in the first leg of Southington’s winning 4x800m relay. Lucca Riccio followed with a solid 2:08 in his 800m. Ryan Asido and Ryan Slesinski finished the win in their 800m legs.
Jehvanni Morgan, who has returned to the program for his senior season, jumped 5’8” in his first time competing in the high jump and won with that personal record effort.
Senior Kolby Rogers, who is working his way back from an injury he sustained going into his senior year last fall, won the triple jump with a personal best of 36’5”.
Sophomore Ryan Andrews set a personal record to win the shot put (36’9”). Andrews threw the discus 91’3” and finished second in that event.
“He’s going to be good,” Dachelet said about Andrews.
Sophomore Aiden Chesanow won the pole vault at 10’6”.
Tom Nardi, also a sophomore, finished third in the shot put with a 33’1” (personal record). Freshman Jack Freyler threw the javelin 94’1” to finish third. Sophomore Jackson Landino ran under five minutes for the first time in the 1600m (4:59.65) to finish second overall.
“These are all developing guys who are just learning the ropes,” Dachelet said.
Southington won the 4x100m relay behind the team of sophomore Michael Balachandar, junior Ben Ragozzine, freshman Maxwell Hotchkiss and sophomore Brendan Kiyak. Senior Craig McPherson finished first in the 300m hurdles (48.79).
The Knights didn’t win any events at the meet, held at Bloomfield High School this past Saturday, but there were still good efforts.
Casey Selinske (11’6”), Chesanow (10’6”) and Jeremiah Segrue (9’0”) finished second, third and sixth overall in the pole vault. Segrue’s was a personal best.
The 4x100m relay of Rogers, senior Joe Verderame, junior Anthony Penta and senior Trevor Porter finished third (44.84).
Up next: Southington was scheduled for a road dual meet against Glastonbury on Tuesday. The Knights compete at the Record-Journal Invitational on Friday.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Kevin Roberts, email him at KRoberts@SouthingtonObserver.com