Boys track advances 3 to state open

By KEVIN ROBERTS

STAFF WRITER

The Southington boys outdoor track and field team didn’t put up as many personal records as coach Dan Dachelet had hoped for at the Class LL state meet, but there were still some great efforts out of the Blue Knights.

Senior Casey Selinske had the top highlight of the meet for Southington with his gold-medal win in the pole vault (13’0”). Selinske was joined by seniors Eli Rodriguez and Ryan Slesinski at the state open meet on Monday in New Britain.

Class LL meet

MAY 29, 30—Selinske vaulted 13’ on his first attempt at Willow Brook Park in New Britain, and no one was able to match him.

“Casey’s 13’ jump at the second-to-last meet in his high school career was phenomenal,” Dachelet said.  “As a coach you want good things to come to all of your athletes, but Casey has always had such a great attitude towards the event that you’re thrilled to see it all come together for him.”

Selinske cleared 11’ and 11’6” on the first attempt, then got over 12’ and 12’6” on his second attempt at both heights. Dachelet gave credit to not only Selinske, but his coach Jim Gruenbacher, whom he said is “phenomenal”.

“Three years ago, all of our vaulters had to travel to Massachusetts, eastern Connecticut and western Connecticut to find solid coaches,” Dachelet said. “He’s built our vault program into one of the top programs in the state with a pipeline of kids that’s going to be dangerous in the years to come.”

Elijah Rodriguez just missed the state open medal round in the 110m hurdles.

Rodriguez claimed bronze in the 110m hurdles (15.25).

“Eli’s third place finish was fantastic to see,” Dachelet said. “He’s worked hard over the four years to get to the open, and he’s very deserving.”

Slesinski ran to a fifth place finish and a medal in the 800m (1:58.76).

“Ryan’s fifth place in the 800 was another solid performance right around his personal record,” Dachelet said. “It was a gutsy race in a good field that advanced him to the state open, a first for him.”

There were other good efforts from the Knights as well. Sophomore Brendan Kiyak ran a personal and season-best time in the 400m dash (53.21).

“He’s been a great addition to the squad and will go far as he matures,” Dachelet said.

The 4x400m relay team of senior Trevor Porter, junior John Carreiro, senior Joseph Verderame and Slesinski also did well (3:31.07).

“Our 4×4 ran a season-best time in a quality field with everyone doubling or tripling prior to the race. It was also the No. 5 [time] all-time,” Dachelet said.

Southington seniors Kolby Rogers, Porter, Verderame and Russell Hotchkiss competed in their final meet at Class LL. The Knights finished 16th as a team.

State open

JUNE 3—Selinske, Rodriguez and Slesinski competed against the state’s best at Willow Brook Park.

Rodriguez just missed making the final for the 110m hurdles and was ninth (15.28). Slesinski took 12th place in the 800m (1:59.87) and Selinske was 14th in the pole vault (12’6”).

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

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