Led by 18 points scored by Audrey Kirkutis in the high jump and long jump, West Hartford’s Conard High School girls indoor track and field team placed third Feb. 11 at the State Championship meet.
By Howie Lam
The Conard girls indoor track and field team headed to the Floyd Little Athletic Center in New Haven, CT on Feb. 11, stronger than ever and eager for a shot to take on the top contenders in Class LL, and led by a win in the high jump by Audrey Kirkutis and second-place finishes by Liv and Tess Sherry in the 1000m and 1600m runs, the team finished on the podium in third place with 50 points, behind winner Glastonbury with 89 points and second-place Greenwich which had 61 points.
The CIAC divides teams between divisions based on population, and West Hartford’s Conard and Hall high schools are often toggle between classes. The Conard girls and Hall boys (which won the championship) indoor track and field teams both ended up in Class LL this year, while this season the Conard boys and Hall girls were Class L.
To kick off the meet, Keyera Craig, Mariana Tempoi, Bailey Hawkesby-Mullins, and Kathryn Ribarov stepped onto the track for the 4x200m to finish 18th overall in a time of 1:58.28. Followed by the 4x800m, Keira Jennings, Hailey Wojciechowski, Aspen Rosner, and Lucia Rittlinger were able to secure a 12th place finish in 11:22.08.
Angela Dulnuan was able to place seventh in the preliminaries of the 55m hurdles, to return and put down big points for the team for a bronze medal and third place in a finish of 9.17s, improving on her personal best. Dulnuan was also able to double back in the girl’s pole vault, in which she scored an additional 3 points for the team by placing fifth overall with a height of 9-00.00 feet. Daphne Brewer got to smash her personal best, clearing 8-00.00 feet in the pole vault.
Gracelyn Williams just missed finals in the 55m dash, however she was able to end off her indoor season with a new personal record of 7.67s. Daphne Brewer was able to cut some time off of her personal best as well, running 7.89s. Annabel Tracy finished behind in a time of 8.01s.
Liv Sherry became state runner-up in the 1000m after battling the entire race against Glastonbury’s Brooke Strauss, finishing with a time of 2:58.97. Sherry advances to the State Open and will look to inch closer to breaking the school record of 2:57.56.
Her twin sister, Tess Sherry, also placed second overall in the girls 1600m (5:04.16) following a battle with Glastonbury’s Strauss. Tess as well advances to the State Open and will look forward to racing against the best of the state.
Soon-to-be Princeton high jumper Audrey Kirkutis scored 18 points for the team, combining a first place finish in the high jump and a second place finish in the long jump. Kirkutis was able to clear 5-02.00 feet in the high jump and jump 16-08.75 feet in the long jump. She will return to the State Open next week in both events looking for success. “I feel that yesterday could’ve gone a lot better height-wise but I’m super grateful for another year of All-State honors. My performance yesterday definitely gives me the opportunity to figure out what to work on this week in practice,” said Kirkutis.
Her teammate Lizzy Bidwell was able to score 4 points for Conard as well, placing fourth overall in the high jump, clearing 5-00.00 feet.
To finish off the field events, Sasha Belabe finished in fifth place to score 2 points for Conard, launching the shot put 32-07.75 feet.
In the girls 1600m sprint medley relay (200m-200m-400m-800m), Annabel Tracy, Gracelyn Williams, Tess Sherry, and Liv Sherry all returned to double in their second event and finished in fourth place with a time of 4:21.23.
Closing off the meet, Maggie Gillis, Keira Jennings, Liv Sherry, and Tess Sherry placed eighth overall in the 4x400m relay with a time of 4:22.15, a result that gained them a place in the top-10 fastest times run for Conard.
“I am so proud of all of our athletes who competed this past weekend – their performances were truly outstanding,” Conard head coach James Redman said. “I would also like to thank all of our coaches and captains for making this past weekend a success,” Redman said of the performance Saturday.
Conard will return to the Floyd Little Athletic Center in New Haven with many of its athletes for the CIAC State Open Championship next Saturday, Feb. 18. To follow along, click this link for live results: https://live.athletic.net/meets/20153/.
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