Greenwich High tracksters feeling good after FCIAC finals

Greenwich High School’s Sean Clarke competes in the 4x800-meter relay event during last week’s FCIAC championships. — Dave Stewart photo

Greenwich High School’s Sean Clarke competes in the 4×800-meter relay event during last week’s FCIAC championships. — Dave Stewart photo

While the Greenwich High School boys and girls track teams didn’t take the overall Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference championship, you wouldn’t know that looking at the faces of the coaches and athletes for the Cardinals.

With nearly every athlete finishing the day at the New Haven Athletic Center with a personal best time, height or distance, it’s obvious why GHS head coach Evan Dubin is smiling.

“We had a fantastic day and I couldn’t be more thrilled with the performances on both the boys and girls team,” Dubin said. “When you go through the results, it’s hard to be upset when you see that everybody set a season-best time. It’s even better because we didn’t have the ideal weather conditions to train in, so you can’t argue with the kids giving their best. I’m just thrilled.”

The GHS boys team finished the day with 31 points and tied Wilton High School for sixth place overall. The next closest team to Big Red was New Canaan, which took 22 points and eighth place. Overall, Danbury High School won FCIACs, netting 89 points. Ridgefield was second with 78 points and Staples High took the bronze with 69 points.

Darien finished FCIACs fourth overall with 60 points and Brien McMahon rounded out the top five with 44 points.

On the girls side, the Lady Cardinals finished in sixth place, netting 30.50 points on the day. Greenwich just beat out Norwalk, which finished seventh with 28 points, and was just over five points shy of passing Wilton for fifth.

Overall, Darien High School cruised to the FCIAC championship, finishing with 95 points on the day. The next closest team was Staples High School, as the Wreckers took the silver with 60 points. In third was Ridgefield, as they grabbed 47 points.

Taking fourth at FCIACs was Darien with 60 points and rounding out the top five was Wilton High School with 36 points.

Both the GHS boys and girls teams each had a gold medalist take home 10 points.

Once again, GHS junior Austin Longi proved that he’s the quickest kid in the conference. During preliminaries, Longi took home the quickest time of the trials, 6.69 seconds. In the finals, Longi did one better, crossing the finish line first with a time of 6.62 and successfully defended his FCIAC championship from last year.

“To defend the title is just fantastic,” Dubin said. “Of all the track events, the 55 is the most rigid. If you have a little slip, a bad start or any little misstep, it could come back to mess you up and not have you win. For Austin to be able to run the fastest in trials and then come back in finals and win was fantastic for him. I’m happy to see him do it. It’s very rewarding.”

For the girls, Sarah Cicchetti dominated the shot put event. Improving by leaps and bounds throughout the season, Cicchetti kept the good times rolling during FCIACs, finishing with a distance of 34’08” 3/4 which was good enough for top honors in the event. She was 3’3” farther than Darien’s Taylor McDonald.

“She just seems to throw two feet further after every meet,” Dubin said. “It’s amazing to watch. She’s getting more and more comfortable being able to master the techniques. My guess when you look at the result of the class LL meet, I wouldn’t be surprised if she throws 36 feet.”

Overall, both the GHS boys and girls indoor track teams had other stellar performances.

While nursing a hamstring injury throughout most of the season, Paul Quiroga competed in the 600-meter run at FCIACs and still finished top five, netting a fifth place time of 1:27.76 and was mere inches away from fourth overall, as Ridgefield’s Graeme Hewett finished fourth with a time of 1:27.54.

“He has the God-given ability to compete for the FCIAC championship when he’s not healthy,” Dubin said. “This nagging injury has been bothering him for all these races. Being able to fight through it and end up in fifth place is great because it shows that he’s getting back in shape. I think at the class LL meet, he’s going to run significantly faster than he did at FCIACs. Everything’s working well for him now.”

Joining Quiroga in the 600-meter run was Jon Pulitano, who finished 15th overall with a time of 1:31.81. In the 1,000-meter run, Mark Jarombek took home 12th on the day (2:48.47), while Spencer Helmrich finished 14th overall (2:48.61).

One of the more pleasant surprises on the day for Big Red took place in an event that Greenwich normally doesn’t get a lot of points from. For the first time in a while during the pole vault competition, a GHS athlete, Thomas Chessman, scored six points with a third place height of 11’ 6”.

“Thomas has been progressing nicely in the event,” Dubin said. “Due to his lack of training and facilities at Greenwich High, he goes away to a private clinic once a week. He’s really able to train and get the coaching he needs. His points are a huge help to the team.”

Joining Cicchetti in the field events for the GHS girls team, Kylie Ginsburg had a highly-successful outing, taking fifth place overall in the high jump and tying Fairfield Ludlowe’s Emily O’Keefe with a height of 4’10”.

For the GHS girls squad, their biggest strength was in the sprinting events and the mid-distance running events.

Leading the way was Anna Black. Competing in the 55-meter dash, Anna Black finished the event sixth overall, posting a blistering time of 7.62. Black fared much better in the 300-meter dash, as she took second overall with a time of 42.82 and edged out Trumbull’s Katie Foley, who finished third with a time of 42.86.

Black had several teammates compete in the 300-meter dash, as Treloara Harrisson took sixth and netted one point for Big Red with a time of 43.71.

Not to be outdone was Caroline Frey, who scored another top 10 performance in the 300-meter dash. Her time of 44.77 was good enough for eighth on the day. Teammate Emma Slagle finished 11th overall with a time of 45.22, while Erika Hvolbeck finished 16th (46.22), Liz Warner took 19th (46.33) and Callie Doyle finished 20th (46.60).

The Lady Cardinals picked up another top 10 time in the 600-meter run, as Jenny Goggin took home seventh overall with a time of 1:43.16. Tori McMachan also competed in the event and finished 13th overall with a time of 1:47.94.

“The sprints and short middle distance events are where the girls team excels,” Dubin said. “We seem to be successful every year in those events. If someone needed to drop out of the event, we could put someone else in there and not miss a beat.”

Daryl Kennedy also had a great afternoon in the girls 1,000-meter run, as she took seventh overall with a time of 3:18.10. Teammate Mia Bonanno crossed the finish line 14th with a time of 3:22.61.

Both the boys and girls teams also saw great success in its relay events.

During the 4×200-meter relay, the boys team of Robert Wilton, Ryan King, Quiroga and Chandler Lasorsa took home an impressive third place time of 1:37.69 and beat out a New Canaan team that took fourth with a time of 1:38.61.

Not to be outdone was the boys 4×800-meter relay team, as the Greenwich group of Helmrich, Sean Clarke, Jarombek and Sebastian Oe took third on the day with a time of 8:30.44. Once again the Cards got the better of the Rams, as NCHS finished fourth on the day with a time of 8:30.98.

“We knew going into the season that the 4×200 had the part to do positive things and have a nice, long season,” Dubin said. “They are living up to the expectation. The 4×800 was a pleasant surprise. We put together a lineup from a meet that we had at Yale a couple of weeks ago and they put on an amazing time. We used the same foursome for FCIACs and they actually ran faster and got third place. They are setting a high bar.”

The Greenwich girls team of Vitoria Galbier, Harrisson, Goggin and Black had a solid performance in the 4×400-meter relay, as they took home the bronze with a time of 4:12.21.

In an event that the Greenwich girls team hasn’t seen much success in recent memory during indoor season, the 4×800-meter relay, the group of Tori McMachan, Kennedy, Bonanno and Amy Wyle took sixth place and gave Big Red one point by netting a time of 10:09.58.

Competing in the 4×200-meter relay, the group of Slagle, Anna Giannuzzi, Frey and Erika Hvolbeck took fifth overall, posting a time of 1:52.68. What made the performance that much better was that the GHS foursome consisted of all sophomores and were only inches behind Fairfield Ludlowe, which took fourth with a time of 1:52.62.

“I wanted to give my 4×200 relay team the chance to grow and develop as a group,” Dubin said. “For them to come out of here with a fifth place is great, especially with that event being so strong overall. Having my 4×800 team take sixth place was nice to see, since we normally don’t get points from there. Going into the season, I thought the 4×400 relay would be the strongest event for the girls and they ran great at FCIACs. We had three great legs. They ran great and it was great they came home with medals.”

Greenwich will be back in action tomorrow morning, when they return to the New Haven Athletic Center and compete in the CIAC class LL championship meet at 10 a.m.

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