The high school track and field season is officially over. Well, until the indoor season starts this winter. But for me, that’s too far away. I need a little closure. And I’m sure the rest of you track and field fanatics do as well.
So here’s a list of the Top 10 highlights of the indoor and outdoor season combined.
There were a lot of great moments, but the following are just what I thought were the best of the best!
10. One last go: Heptathlon and Decathlon champs. After a disappointing New England Championship finish in the hurdles, Branford senior Anna Atkinson responded in the best way possible: she won the CIAC Heptathlon title. Atkinson put on an impressive Day 2 comeback performance, winning the javelin with an over 100 foot throw and then secured the crown with a third-place finish in the 800. She was the first girl from Branford to win the title.
On the boys’ side, Tyler Latham of Fitch, who was named the Gatorade Male Track and Field Athlete of the Year for Connecticut, was just so impressive. He scored an unreal 6,304 points and really did not have a weak event.
9. 100 straight for Amity. Seriously? Yeah, 100 straight wins for the Amity boys track team. This past April the Spartans accomplished such a rare feat as they won their 100th straight dual meet, defeating Branford, Hand and Xavier. The Spartans, who compete in the SCC, have not lost a dual meet since 2004.
8. A long-time coming for Sheehan. Sheehan boys track coach Charles Farley has been waiting quite some time for his first outdoor state title. At the Class M meet in June that goal was finally met. There were tears, hugs and a lot of smiles. But Sheehan, with just nine members, scored 55 points to win the program’s first-ever outdoor title.
7. DMR dominance. At the New Balance Outdoor Nationals in Greensboro, North Carolina, the Staples girls’ distance medley relay team set a state and school record running 11:46.20, for second place, which is ranked No. 2 in the nation now.
The Darien boys DMR finished in second place as well, running 10:03.49, which also ranks No. 2 in the nation. Quite the two relay teams!
6. Midnight magic. The Spartan Midnight-Sunrise Invitational on May 9 proved to be quite special for Westhill senior Claire Howlett. Howlett ran a blistering state, and at the time, national-best 5,000 meter time of 16:28.71.
Howlett, who will run for Stanford this fall, finished the season with the second fastest time in the nation in the 5,000. She holds the outdoor state record in the 5,000.
5. Alvarado national mile champ. It took till his last race of his high school career, but Fairfield Prep’s Christian Alvarado can finally call himself a national champion. Alvarado ran a personal-best time of 4:06.88 at the New Balance Outdoor National Championships to win the boys’ 1 mile. The win was a long time coming for Alvarado who earned his first All-American status. Alvarado’s mile time ranks as the 12th-best in the nation.
4. Cross SMR 2nd at Indoor Nationals. In one of the best anchor legs of the indoor season, the Wilbur Cross girls’ sprint medley relay team proved they belonged on the national stage. Running in the second fastest heat at the New Balance Indoor Nationals, the team of Chaslynn Saucier, Gabby Curtis, Shea Connors and Danae Rivers ran an impressive time of 4:02.68, with Rivers using a come-from-behind 800 leg to secure them second and All-American status. The relay team finished the indoor season undefeated in the state of Connecticut and also helped Cross win its first State Open title since 2004.
3. Four girls under 4:50. The girls’ 1,600 race at the State Open at Middletown on June 9, was one Connecticut track fans may not see for quite some time. Four girls clocked under four minutes and 50 seconds, an unheard of feat. Craziness. Danae Rivers of Cross won the race in a record Open time of 4:47.45, while Staples’ Hannah DeBalsi was second in 4:47.50. Overall, seven girls finished in under five minutes.
2. Alex Ostberg shatters 5,000 outdoor record. Just a junior, Darien’s Alex Ostberg turned in the easily the best individual boys performance from a Connecticut distance runner this spring. Ostberg ran a blistering 14:16.61 to win the New Balance Outdoor Nationals 5,000 meter title. His time ranks No. 1 in the nation as he shattered the Connecticut state record of 14:32.60 that was set by Donn Cabral in 2008.
1. Hannah DeBalsi breaking 10 minutes in the 2 mile. Racing thousands of miles away in the Brooks PR Invitational in Seattle, Washington, Staples’ Hannah DeBalsi saved her best race of the outdoor season for when it mattered most. Up against a talented and elite field, DeBalsi ran a near-flawless 2 miles and nearly won. She clocked 9:55.05 to finish in second place and become the first girl in Connecticut history to go under 10 minutes. DeBalsi broke the state 2 mile record and her time now ranks as the fourth-fastest all-time, according to milesplit. And oh yeah, she’s just a sophomore.
Think I missed a highlight? Feel free to post your thoughts!