By KEVIN ROBERTS
Southington track and field athletes tested their mettle in a slew of CIAC individual events at Manchester High School on June 11-12. This past weekend, the Blue Knights sent some of their best to North Carolina A&T University in Greensboro, N.C., to compete against the nation’s elite in the New Balance Nationals Outdoor meet.
The highlight of the week belonged to junior standout Trinity Cardillo, who won the CIAC girls hammer throw on June 11 (139’11”) at Manchester. Cardillo didn’t have her best day, but her one throw was good enough to claim the top spot ahead of Hillhouse-New Haven sophomore Leah Moore (137’4”).
“With only one throw she won the entire meet. The beauty of the throwing events is sometimes it only takes one,” coach Connor Green said. “She has been getting better and better with her rotational throws and this being the first year, she really focused in on improving her technical aspects. She has been great.”
Sophomore Matthew Geary finished 13th in the CIAC boys hammer throw on June 12 (97’6”). Geary had three attempts, and his best throw was his second of the day.
“Matt is a great athlete for us,” Green said. “He spends a lot of his free time working techniques and just wants nothing more than to throw farther and farther. He has a bright future.”
Fellow sophomore Michael Balachandar competed in the decathlon on June 11. Balachandar scored 2,396 points, which wasn’t enough to get him to the second and final day of the decathlon. A contestant must score at least 2,500 points to advance.
Freshman Brendan Leone competed in the boys 2000m steeplechase on June 12, as did sophomores Sebastian Maslinski, Michael Ditota, Aiden Dolan, Jackson Alfano and Jeff Wu. Senior Benjamin Hoffman also ran in the 2000m steeplechase. Maslinski had the best finish in the group (37th, 7:48.57).
New Balance Nationals
Competing in the national meet in North Carolina gave the Knights a chance to see where they stood.
“The experience is great, it’s one of the few sports where you can really match yourself against the best from around the country and see where you land on the totem pole,” Green said.
Southington had athletes compete in the emerging elite divisions of the girls javelin, the girls 1600m sprint medley, and the boys 800m sprint medley on June 14. Sophomore Alexah Zaczynski took 27th overall in the javelin (100’5”), and the girls 1600m sprint medley team of sophomore Livvy Pizzitola, senior Samantha Przybylski, senior Natalie Verderame and senior Kate Kemnitz took 31st (4:19.55). The boys 800m sprint medley team of senior Kolby Rogers, junior Anthony Penta, senior Trevor Porter and senior Joseph Verderame placed 42nd (1:38.41).
On June 15, junior Sydney Garrison competed in the emerging elite division of the high jump. Garrison finished 29th with a height of 5’3”. Cardillo took part in the championship division of the shot put and hammer throw on June 16. Cardillo finished 21st in the shot put (41’8.5”) and 24th in the hammer throw (141’6”).
“I was very happy for our athletes to either end their career or for some get their first taste of the Nationals experience,” Green said. “We had some great days for each athlete, but for me, having our seniors show up and truly compete was great to see. It’s always hard watching a group of great student-athletes graduate, but they were able to truly set a new standard for our program and they did a great job adding to their legacy one more time.”
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Kevin Roberts, email him at KRoberts@SouthingtonObserver.com