Schools Sports

West Hartford Track and Field Teams Win State Titles

West Hartford sweeps Class LL, with the Hall boys and Conard girls winning the track and field championship. Courtesy photo

Records were broken along the way at Wednesday CIAC outdoor track and field meet as the Conard girls won their first state title since 1979 and the Hall boys won their fifth state championship in a row.

The Conard girls track and field team won the CIAC Class LL state track and field championship on May 31, the team’s first championship since 1979. Courtesy photo

By Howie Lam

Competing through a warm spring afternoon at Willowbrook Park in New Britain, the Hall boys and the Conard girls earned the CIAC Class LL State Champion title on May 31, beating out a handful of the most competitive teams in the state and setting class and school records along the way.

The Hall boys pulled away to win the competition – their fifth in a row – with 134.5 points, ahead of Hamden’s 74 points, and the Conard girls earned their first state championship title since 1979, with a score of 85 points over the Glastonbury girls’ 79 points.

The Hall boys track and field team won the CIAC Class LL state track and field championship on May 31, the team’s fifth championship in a row. Courtesy photo

“I could not be more proud of our team,” Conard girls track and field coach James Redman said Thursday. “Yesterday’s win was a total team victory – and a tribute to all of our athletes’ hard work all season long. I would also like to give an extra special shout-out (and thank you) to our senior class, team captains and coaching staff for their leadership and dedication to our program all season long.”

The Conard girls track and field team won the CIAC Class LL state track and field championship on May 31, the team’s first championship since 1979. Courtesy photo

The Hall boys put down big points for an early lead after a win in the 4x800m, led by sophomore Jacob Szalewicz who ran an impressive leg of 1:58.46. Anchor Gabriel Sisk dropped the hammer on the last lap to bring home the win for the Titans. Sisk also raced the 800m in the second half of the day and added another six points to the team total for third place and a time of 1:57.23, and Szalewicz was able to rip another fast half-mile, improving to a new personal record of 2:01.01 for the sophomore.

Fareed Abu Rabia, Avery Allen, Gabriel Sisk, and Jacob Szalewicz won the CIAC Class LL State Championship 4x800m. Pictured left to right: Fareed Abu Rabia, Avery Allen, Gabriel Sisk, Jacob Szalewicz. Photo credit: Howie Lam

Tess and Liv Sherry scored a combined 18 points in the 1600m for the Conard girls, as they strung out the pack after the first lap and battled with Greenwich’s Esme Daplyn. All three girls smashed the sub-5:00 barrier for the four-lap race. Tess emerged victorious, as she crossed the line in a time of 4:55.16, and Liv was just behind her in a time of 4:56.15 for a silver medal. Daplyn took third in 4:56.84.

Ethan Striff-Cave represented the Titans in the boys’ 1600m, racing against a ridiculously strong field full of Ridgefield boys. Striff-Cave placed eighth overall in the 1600m, in a time of 4:25.81.

Hall hurdle-phenom Joe Nham earned the boys 13 points for the meet, as he dominated the 110m hurdles to finish runner-up by only a hundredth of a second in a time of 15.09. Nham returned a few hours later to place fourth overall in the 300m hurdles, crossing the line in 41.88 and advancing to the state open next Monday in both events. His teammate, Bryce Blodgett, also advances to the state open with a time of 42.19 for the 300m hurdles after a long fight with injury during the outdoor season.

Conard’s Angela Dulnuan scored crucial points for the Red Wolves, placing third in both the 100m hurdles and the 300m hurdles in times of 16.54 and 47.81, respectively. Dulnuan improved on her 300m hurdles best by over half a second, which now ranks her third all-time in school history for the sprint.

Conard girls track and field team holds the State Championship plaque. Courtesy photo

The Sherry twins weren’t done after the 1600m either. Liv doubled back into the 800m and was able to set a new class record of 2:11.78 for the race – also a new school record. Tess came back for the 3200m, and led the race wire-to-wire, winning by almost eight seconds in a time of 11:03.28.

Hall’s Jonathan York and Samuel Sandler were both forces to be reckoned with, as the two Titans went 2-3 on the podium for the boys’ 400m. Jonathan York took the race out hard and battled against Greenwich’s Gianluca Bianchi all the way to the finish line, finishing in a new personal best of 48.11 seconds. Sandler was just behind with his new season-best time of 48.99s. York and Sandler raced Bianchi once again in the 200m, yet this time York was able to out-lean Bianchi at the line, winning in a time of 21.87, right at his personal best. Sandler was fourth, crossing the line in 22.37 seconds.

Isaac Mahler and Colin Goldschmidt placed 1-2 in the boys 3200m. Photo credit: Howie Lam

CCC 3200m champion Isaac Mahler competed alongside Staples’ Ben Lorenz in the 3200m for the first seven laps of the race before dropping a blistering 66-second last lap to win the race and contribute 10 points to the Titans’ total. His teammate, Colin Goldschmidt, followed behind Mahler, catching Lorenz at the line to add another eight points for the event in a time of 9:22.27. Mahler’s time of 9:10.89 is now second all-time fastest in school history for Hall.

The Hall boys 4x400m team (Thomas Nash, Gabriel Sisk, Samuel Sandler, and Jonathan York) did what it does best – defend its state title. The four boys were able to hold off a blazing anchor leg from Greenwich, winning with a time of 3:19.74, a new season-best for the relay. The Conard girls secured a spot in the State Open 4x400m with a fourth place finish in the 4x400m in a time of 4:06.74.

The 4x400m placed first overall within the CIAC Class LL State Championship. Pictured left to right: Thomas Nash, Samuel Sandler, Gabriel Sisk, Jonathan York. Photo credit: Howie Lam

Liam Wright of Hall, recovered from a recent injury, cleared a massive jump of 15-00.00 feet in the pole vault, adding onto his school record by six inches. Dominic Roussos and Jacob Walters went 3-4 in the boys javelin throw, launching distances of 153-11 and 152-06 feet respectively. Aaron Sandler bettered his personal best in the triple jump, as he earned a silver medal with a jump of 42-09.25 feet. All four boys make it to the State Open championship.

Conard’s Audrey Kirkutis set a new class record as well as a school record, clearing a height of 5-08.00 feet in the high jump. Kirkutis is now ranked first in Connecticut going into the State Open championship and first within the New England schools. Lizzy Bidwell added six more points for the Red Wolves with a third place finish in the girls high jump, as she cleared 5-02.00 feet.

“Congratulations to all of our athletes and competitors on a job well done at the Class LL meet,” added Redman. “And we are looking forward to the State Open on Monday afternoon!”

Later in the day, the CIAC Class L State Championship featured the Hall girls and the Conard boys, which also featured many stellar performances. The Conard boys placed 13th among the 23 teams within the division, and the Hall girls ended in fourth, edging out Shelton by one point with a total score of 52 points.

The Hall girls finished as runners-up in the 4x800m with a time of 9:36.19, the fourth-fastest time in school history, with strong legs run by all four girls. Anchor leg Rylan Priest recovered well within the time to come back and place fifth in the girls 800m in a time of 2:17.69 – now within a second of the school record. Priest hopes to shatter the record at the State Open meet.

Anna Siciliano and Madison Vargas went 2-5 in the girls shot put, throwing 34-11.50 and 31-11.50 feet respectively. The two also scored big points for the Titans in the discus, with Siciliano’s throw of 111-10 feet that placed her third, and Vargas’s throw of 100-10 feet that found her in fifth place. Priyanka Magavi placed sixth in the girls pole vault, clearing a height of 8-06.00 feet – just shy of her personal best.

Conard’s Miguel Algarin added three points to the boys’ team score with an 100m dash time of 11.41 seconds. William Ladd followed in the 110m hurdles to place seventh in a time of 15.83 against an incredibly stacked field. Grant Walters is now ranked fourth all-time in school history for the 800m, with a sixth place finish of 1:58.39, a new personal best.

Michael Kurkutis and Anthony Catanzaro tied for fourth and contributed six points to the Red Wolves, as both athletes were able to clear 5-08.00 feet for the boys high jump.

Hall’s Lauren Moskal improved on her own 400m school record, as she finished fourth in the class, crossing the finish line in a time of 59.04 seconds. Moskal, who was joined by Rylan Priest, Julia Zydanowicz, and Kathryn Moskal, ran a combined time of 4:04.61 in the girls 4x400m relay, earning them fourth place. 

Many of the athletes will return to Willowbrook Park on Monday, June 5 for the State Open Outdoor Track & Field Championship meet.

From left: Donovan Connole, Uri Noiman, and Jonathan Pincus raced the 3200m against a very fast field. Photo credit: Howie Lam

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