In the team’s final tune-up before today’s Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference indoor track championships, both the Greenwich High School boys and girls indoor track teams traveled to Staples High School Saturday for competition in the FCIAC Western Division championships.
“We were getting the performances that we were expecting, and that’s what we like to see,” GHS head coach Evan Dubin said. “The boys were the same way, but the lack of depth on the boys side was catching up with us a little bit. Those that are here are doing really well. Kathryn Bernstein really stepped up huge, Naomi Leeds was strong, Dan Wilbanks has been running well, Austin Longi had a strong finish in the 50-meter dash.”
The Lady Cardinals were in a battle with Staples throughout the meet and finished second overall with 86 points. The Wreckers barely got by Greenwich and won the FCIAC Western crown with 90 points. The next closest team was Danbury, which finished with the bronze and 70 points. Trumbull took fourth overall with 63 points and Westhill rounded out the top five with two points.
“We came into this meet knowing that there will be a lot more competition than the last couple of meets,” Naomi Leeds said. “It was more exhilarating running here because of teams like Danbury and Staples and we haven’t been running with them for the majority of the season. This gave us a taste of what FCIACs and states will be like.”
On the boys side, Big Red finished fourth overall with 30 points. No one was getting past Staples High School, as it easily won the FCIAC Western Division title with 134 points. Danbury grabbed the silver with 106 points and Trumbull took a distant third with 37 points. Westhill rounded out the scoring with four points.
“As a team we got a lot more points in places that I didn’t think we would,” Daniel Wilbanks said. “We had some points in the long jump and some of those were slightly unexpected. We have a lot of injuries, especially with the sprinters. That’s not looking good for us in the next few meets, but the distance runners did well and I think we stepped up as a team today and filled in the places that we needed to.”
The highlight for the Greenwich girls team was in the relay events, as Big Red grabbed three gold medals. The foursome of Isabella Narvaez, Anna Black, Emily Johnson, and Leeds took top honors in the 4×240-meter relay with a time of 2:17.03, beating out Staples’ second place time of 2:17.39.
Narvaez, Black, Jenny Goggin and Leeds blew by the competition in the 4×400-meter relay, netting a time of 4:17.61, nearly three seconds better than the second-place team. In the 1,600-meter sprint medley, the Greenwich group of Johnson, Lindsay Noskin, Anna Giannzzi, and Kathryn Bernstein was golden with a time of 4:42.28.
Big Red also took top honors in the long jump, as Lindsay Alfano reached a distance of 15-00 1/2. Although the Lady Cardinals didn’t have any more top finishers in the championship, they had a plethora of athletes net a top five score.
Black took second in the 50-meter dash, posting a time of 7.20 seconds. Joining Black was Noskin, who took fourth overall with a time of 7.34.
Not to be outdone was Narvaez in the 300-meter dash, as she took silver with a time of 43.74. Leeds wasn’t far behind, finishing third in the event with a time of 43.77. Another second-place finisher was Liz Persau in the 3,200-meter run, as she crossed the finish line with a time of 12:34.88.
During the 600-meter run, Big Red’s Julia Marache finished third overall with a time of 1:49.46, while teammate Mia Bonanno netted a fifth-place time of 1:50.60.
Greenwich went three-four in the 1,000-meter run, as Goggin took the bronze (3:16.03) and Bernstein took fourth overall with a time of 3:16.72. Goggin was also a part of another back-to-back finish. Competing in the 1,600-meter run, Goggin took fifth overall with a time of 5:53.18. Teammate Sabrina Thurber netted fourth and posted a time of 5:46.08.
In addition to Alfano’s finish in the long jump, Big Red added two top finishes in the high jump. Placing third was Kylie Ginsburg, who grabbed a height of 4-08, tying teammate Anna Piper.
“Our relays are really strong and we won three of the four relays, so that’s what we want FCIACs to look like for us,” Leeds said. “We are going to go for first. Individually we have a bunch of girls that are looking to place in the top six at FCIACs. I am expecting a lot of personal records at FCIACs. It’s going to be the best event that we’ve been to all year.”
Wilbanks paced the Greenwich High boys team during the FCIAC Western Division finals. His time in the 1,000-meter run of 2:40.28 was good enough for fourth place overall. He fared better in the 1,600-meter run, taking third overall with a time of 4:42.13.
“I felt all right,” Wilbanks said. “My times weren’t great, but I think that at FCIACs I can do really well. I’m not sure how many top finishes we can get, but I think we can get a lot more in the four, five and six area. I know a few of the guys could get up there.”
Longi also had a stellar day in the 50-meter dash, as he blew by Staples’ Daniel Ciotoli, and his time of 6.41 was good enough for the bronze. Competing in the other sprinting event on the schedule, Paul Quiroga grabbed a fifth-place time of 38.47 in the 300-meter dash. Ryan Pasquali took ninth in the event with a time of 39.61.
Quiroga also grabbed fifth in the 600-meter run, as he netted a time of 1:30.19. GHS teammate John Pulitano also was in the race and finished 13th overall (1:36.70).
During the longest event of the day, the 3,200-meter run, Greenwich had two runners crack the top 10. Andy Jarombek took home a fifth-place time of 10:24.97, while fellow Cardinal John Sulich also was in the event and finished ninth with a time of 10:42.10.
Joining Wilbanks in the 1,000-meter run was Spencer Helmrich, who finished 13th overall (2:56.48). In the 1,600-meter run, Sean Clarke took eighth overall (5:01.80).
In the field events, Greenwich was led by Stephan DeCarlo in the long jump, posting a third-place distance of 18-04 3/4. Alex McGee also fared well in the shot put, taking home a fourth place finish of 38-09 1/2. Not far behind was Dan Claroni, who finished seventh overall with a distance of 36-02.
Big Red had three finishers qualify for FCIACs in the high jump. Finishing fifth was Chandler Lasorsa, posting a height of 5-06. Two spots down was DeCarlo, who also took home a height of 5-06. Right behind DeCarlo was Taiel Gookool, who finished eighth overall (5-02).
Rounding out the FCIAC qualifiers in the field events was Thomas Chessman in the pole vault, as he tied Trumbull’s Tyler Morin for 10th overall with a height of 9-06.
While Dubin stated that he was pleased with the team’s overall performance at the FCIAC Western Division finals, he also said that little changes will be made before today’s FCIAC finals.
“The lineup isn’t going to change too much, Dubin said. “We might make a few tweaks here or there and try to maximize the most points. Today was a good trial run to see where we stand in the FCIAC West. When we get to FCIACs on Thursday, the strength of Darien and Wilton will shine through. I still expect us to be in contention.”
In order to get ready for the meet, Dubin said, he wants his team to believe that they could accomplish great things.
“They are certainly training well, so that’s something we want to see continue throughout the championship season,” Dubin said. “If there is something I want to see them improve on, it’s their self-confidence. I am hoping that seeing the competition and faring well against them will give them the confidence to say that they could do great things.”
Although the competition will be tough during today’s FCIAC finals, which will be held in New Haven’s Floyd Little Athletic Center starting at 4, Dubin still believes his team will make some noise.
“On a 200-meter track and a faster surface, I expect the times that we got today will be improved,” Dubin said. “I want to see the kids run their best. If we come home with a bunch of PRs, I would be pleased. I think the girls could bring home a second-place and the boys could make the top five. If that happens, I would be ecstatic.”