NEW BRITAIN — Heading into the CIAC State Open boys meet on Monday, Chet Ellis of Staples, bothered by tendinitis in his knees, hoped to muster a height of 6 feet, 2 inches in the high jump and place somewhere in the top six.
“Going into it, if I did a 6-2 I was going to call it a day,” Ellis said.
As the day wore on, Ellis started feeling better and when he did 6-2 he felt pretty good. Ellis eventually got to 6-8, and when he jumped 6-10 to clinch the win, he decided to go for the state record.
On his second attempt, the large crowd that gathered to watch him jump cheered as he cleared 7 feet, 0.5 inches to set the record.
“This was not something I thought I would do today, especially with the tendinitis,” Ellis said. “At 6-2 I was prepared to call it a day. But I felt good enough to continue.
“Once I continued I fought through it, felt a little better and I knew I could win it. But to break the record, that is something special. It really hasn’t sunk in yet.”
Justin Forde of McMahon ended up second with 6-8.
Bloomfield used its depth to come away with the team title with 108 points. Hall was second with 43 points followed by Xavier (30), McMahon (28), Greenwich (27) and Hillhouse (26).
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Leading the way for Bloomfield was Aaron Williams who won the shot put (55-6.75) and teammate Nicholas Campbell was second with 55-3.
They also came in 1-2 in the discus with Campbell winning (154-5) and Williams taking second (150-9).
Freshman Malcolm Beckford won the 200 (21.72), Bloomfield won the 4×400 relay (3:21.75) and Sean Dixon-Bodie contributed with a second place in the long jump with 22-5.
WILBUR CROSS SETS 4×800 RECORD
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Wilbur Cross kicked off the boys meet by winning the 4×800 relay in a meet record in 7:47.20.
Travis Martin ran the last leg and surged ahead the final 50 meters to get the win.
Also running were Nassaiah Betancourt, Mohammed Hussain and Elliot Faulkner.
BIG WIN FOR CORMIER IN 1600
A close race was expected in the 1600 with Trey Cormier of Hall the top seed with a seed time of 4:17.77 and Robbie Cozean of Xavier the No. 2 seed with 4:17.81.
Cormier decided to be aggressive and took an early lead. Cozean did his best to stay close, but Cormier kept pulling away. Cormier kicked it in to another gear the last 200 meters and won in 4:14.24. Cozean ended up second in 4:17.41.
“I thought Robbie would stay on me,” Cormier said. “I was surprised I had a good lead the first 100 meters. My goal was to just go hard at the start and have fun with the race. I didn’t know if it would end up being a good or bad strategy, but it turned out to be good.
“For me it feels good, it’s a great feeling to get this win.”
Cozean rebounded by coming away with a win in the 3200 in 9:10.97.
WILLIAMS PULLS AWAY IN 110 HURDLES
Edward Williams of Sacred Heart wasn’t thinking about any records in the 110 hurdles. His focus was to “just run my race.”
It was close the first 50 meters and then Williams surged ahead for an easy win in a state record 14.03. Richard Papa of Amity was second in 14.61 and Deshaune Poole of Hillhouse was third in 14.62.
“I wasn’t focused on the other runners, just on each hurdle that was in front of me,” Williams said. “I was aiming for a record and getting the record is a dream for me. It’s an amazing feeling.”
SPEAKING OF HURDLES …
Poole wasn’t happy with himself after his third place finish in the 110 hurdles and used that race as motivation for the 300 hurdles. Poole used his typical late kick to take the lead with about 50 meters to go and won in 38.75.
“I took out my anger on the track in the 300 hurdles for the way I finished in the 110 hurdles,” Poole said. “I took a look on my side, saw some runners close to me early on and just decided to go. It’s not my best time but it feels good to win and more importantly get my team some points.’
DERBY’S HALE FOCUSED ON 400
Derby coach Nick DiLuggo said Ja’Kwan Hale was focused on running a big race in the 400 at the State Open. Hale made his move with about 200 meters left and pulled away for a win in 48.52.
“I didn’t get out as fast as I wanted to, but the last 200 meters I knew I could pull out the win,” Hale said. “I feel so happy to get the win.”
XAVIER’S SYLVAIN BY A NOSE
Xavier’s Pierre Sylvain beat back a late challenge by Tolland’s Stephen Stephen Sutton to win the 800 in a photo finish. Sylvain’s time of 1:54.62 was just .05 seconds faster than Sutton.
Jordan Davis of Sheehan won the javelin with a throw of 203-1, Hayden Rovelli of Coginchaug won the pole vault (14-6) and Pierre Sylvain of Xavier won the 800 in 1:54.62. Greenwich’s Ryan Raybuck claimed the 100-meter dash in a time of 10.77.