Track tests its newfound depth

Rylee Van Epps, right, closes the gap in Danbury during her leg of the 4x100m relay.



School records, state qualifications, and personal records pretty much summed up the week for Southington’s outdoor track and field program after the Knights competed in their first double dual meet of the season and traveled to Danbury High school for the O’Grady Relays.

A pair of large victories over Avon and Wethersfield earlier in the week proved why Southington has been particularly good in dual meets the past couple of years—sheer numbers. It also was another example of Southington’s newly, revamped depth they have now throughout the 18 events, which has the program moving in the right direction.

But to Southington coach Dan Dachelet, there’s more to the numbers than just winning dual meets.

“We’re starting to see a deeper group of performances at the state level in events that we traditionally failed to get kids into,” Dachelet. “I want to be able to win at a state or conference meet. So, you have to have that depth at more of an elite level.”

Avon, Wethersfield

APRIL 26—The Knights hosted Avon and Wethersfield for their first double dual meet of the season on Wednesday and swept the competition. The Blue Knights defeated Avon, 115-26, and Wethersfield, 95-46. The Lady Knights defeated both Avon and Wethersfield by a count of 81-60.

The following males finished first: Elijah Rodriguez in the 110m hurdles and 300m hurdles, the 4x800m relay, Sean Yong in the 1600m run, Jordan McMeans in the 3200m run, the 4x400m relay, Jake Monson in the shot put, Anthony Mondo in the long jump, Jeffrey Hannigan in the triple jump, and Zach Burleigh in the pole vault.

Monson, Hannigan, and Mauro (triple jump) qualified for the Class LL meet. Mondo improved his state marks in the long jump and triple jump. Tyson Harris improved his state time in the 100m dash. Rodriguez tied his state time in the 110m hurdles.

The following females finished first: Natalie Verderame in the 400m dash and 200m dash, the 4x800m relay, the 4x100m relay, Kate Kemnitz in the 1600m run, Sarah Minkiewicz in the 800m run, the 4x400m relay, Gabriella Mondo in the javelin throw, Amanda Howe in the shot put, Allie Brown in the high jump, and Megan Biscoglio in the pole vault.

Minkiewicz, G. Mondo, Kemnitz (800m run), Isabella Scalise (3200m run), and Sydney Garrison (high jump) qualified for the state meet. Kemnitz also improved her state time in the 1600m run. Brown improved her state mark in the high jump.

The discus throw was cancelled, due to field conditions.

Greater Bristol Invite

APRIL 28—On Friday, Megan Biscoglio took first out of 15 athletes in the pole vault with a mark of 11’ at the Greater Bristol Invitational at Bristol Central High School as the only Southington athlete to compete in the event. There has only been one meet this season where Biscoglio hasn’t cleared 11’.

“She does a great job of representing her team, whether it’s in a dual meet, and invitational, or at nationals,” said Southington coach Connor Green. “She’s always focused and ready to do her best. The fact that she’s consistently getting 11 feet is very good.”

Joseph Albanese sets the pace in his sprinting event at the O’Grady Relays in Danbury.

O’Grady Relays

APRIL 29—Southington closed out the week by traveling to Danbury High School to compete in the 37th annual O’Grady Relays, held from Friday, April 28 to Saturday, April 29.

The Lady Knights tied for 14th overall with 14 points out of 30 teams, finishing eighth with 35 points out of 12 teams in the large school rankings. The Blue Knights tied for 28th overall with three points out of 32 teams, tying for seventh with 32 points out of 12 teams in the large school rankings.

Bloomfield (70) finished first overall on the girls side, and Danbury (78) finished first on the boys side. Danbury took first for both boys and girls in the large school rankings.

Howe paced the girls team by taking first out of 77 athletes in the discus throw relay with a mark of 133’5” and finishing as runner-up out of 11 athletes in the hammer throw with a distance of 151’6”. She broke her own school record in the discus throw (132’3”) and hammer throw (136’2”), improving her Class LL mark in the discus. Both marks were set last season.

“She went from a pretty solid hammer thrower with a mark that would have already qualified her for nationals to her name being out there,” said Green. “She belongs in that level of completion. She just once again proves that she deserves to be there.”

Howe’s heave in the hammer throw was less than two inches shy of breaking the state record in the hammer throw, which was broken by Bloomfield’s Brittany Jones with a throw of 163’ at the meet. The previous state record was held by Bloomfield’s Karina Foster with a mark of 153’ in 2011.

Trinity Cardillo and Deborah Hannigan helped Howe with throws of 74’5” and 66’6” to land Southington’s best finish on the day, placing as runner-up in the discus throw relay behind Bloomfield (294’) with a total mark of 274’4”. The girls javelin throw relay was not far behind as well, coming in fourth with contributions from G. Mondo, Alijah Vega, and Jess Griffin.

Tayler Riddick, Samantha Przybylski, Abby Connolly, and Verderame broke the school record (2:00.94) in the 800m sprint medley relay with a time of 1:53.4. That record was set by Jessica Howe, Sarah Palko, Kelsea Allen, and Raquel Romano in 2015.

Przybylski, Jenna Sheehan, Megan Sheline, and Rylee Van Epps qualified for the state meet in the 4x100m relay. Garrison took fourth in the high jump relay and improved her state mark in the process.

Dave Pastor paced the boys team by taking 16th out of 86 athletes in the shot put relay with a toss of 41’7”, which was good enough for an improved state mark. Pastor also qualified for the state meet in the javelin throw.

Jake Monson and Keegan Jarvis helped Pastor with throws of 39’6.5” and 35’1.5” to take sixth in the shot put relay with a total mark of 116’3”. Monson also qualified for the state meet in the discus throw.

Cameron Coulombe, Joe Verderame, Jack Terray, and Jimmy Ringrose set a new school record in the 800m sprint medley relay with a time of 1:39.77.

Other qualifications for the state meet included Michael Mauro in the 300m hurdles and Brendan Taylor, Kenneth Dowler, Ryan Middendorf, and Joseph Albanese in the 4x100m relay. Rodriguez finished as runner-up in the 300m hurdles relay, and Burleigh tied for eighth in the pole vault relay.

Southington will be back in action next week when they travel to Simsbury on Tuesday, May 2 for a 3:45 p.m. dual meet.

 For this week’s box scores, click here: ( To contact sports writer Brian Jennings, email him at


Leave a Reply