NEW HAVEN >> Hamden’s Evan Walker finally got to compete in the Class LL State Indoor track and field meet on Monday afternoon, and the senior made sure to make the most of it.
Walker ran on the winning 4×200 relay team, finished third in the long jump (20 feet, 10 inches) and ran on the sprint medley that captured second.
“For religious obligations he can’t compete on Friday and Saturday mornings. Luckily the meet was on Monday and he can come and show he’s one of the best kids in the state,” Hamden head coach Bryce Lindamood said. “He’s been a very good jumper, but he’s really developed into a great sprinter. He’s very special.”
Walker helped lead Hamden to a fourth-place showing as a team with 37 points at the Floyd Little Athletic Center. Danbury (71) repeated as the state champs, Staples finished in second (66) and Ridgefield was third (49).
“All the kids ran better than they had all season,” Lindamood said. “We had a lot of issues with the meet, the 4×4 we ended up on the ground, but they ran with great heart.”
Hamden’s Xavier Ward took second in the 55 dash (6.61 seconds), ran on the first-place 4×200 relay team (1:33.75) and was fourth in the long jump (20-09.75).
“Xavier Ward had a great performance today,” Lindamood said. “It was basically a full team effort today.”
Amity finished in fifth as a team as Aaron Rattley won the 55 hurdles (7.93) and ran on the 4×200 relay team that took second (1:35.13).
“It felt pretty good,” Rattley said of his time in the hurdles.
Sophomore Kyle Beaudette finished second in the 3,200 (9:41.07). He was edged out by Brien McMahon’s Eric van der Els (9:37.67).
Beaudette said he was hoping for faster racing conditions, but when van der Els made his move with about two and a half laps left, he couldn’t catch up.
“Eric battled hard and he deserved to win today,” Beaudette said. “I was hoping for better, but I also hoped for faster race conditions. We have another week to go at least, and with guys like (Alex) Ostberg and (Ari) Klau who are more than happy to like 9:20 the pace will be right where I want it.”
Amity’s 4×800 relay team finished in third, while West Haven’s Brandon Sabastian took second in the long jump (22-04.25) and Xavier’s John O’Hara was third in the 1,600 (4:30.93).
On the girls’ side Glastonbury and Staples battled it out for the team title, with the Tomahawks capturing the 4×400 and winning the overall tile with 77 points. Staples was second with 70 points and Danbury was third with 64.
“We knew it was going to be tough,” Staples head coach Jesse McCray said. “I told the girls the goal would be to score between 68-70 points, you had to get over 70 to win. We hit our goal of 70 points. We just didn’t have enough to get to 77. But I’m very proud of the girls.”
Locally, Shelton and Amity tied for fifth place with 32 points.
Amity senior Zoie Reed finished second in the 55 dash (7.33) and repeated as long jump champion, leaping 17-10.50. She also ran on the 4×200 relay team that took fourth.
“It’s pretty awesome,” Reed said on winning the long jump again.
Amity’s Melissa Taggart (1,000) and Emily Criscuolo (3,200) both took fourth.
“I think that was excellent, I think that’s right around where we expected to be,” Amity head coach Sean Mahon said of the team finish. “I think we got the points that we needed to get. (Zoie) she’s definitely brought someone we can rely on.”
For Shelton, fifth place was a welcomed finish as the Gaels only scored 13 points last year and finished in 13th place.
“Honestly, the girls on the team just care a lot more about track more than they used to,” senior Laurel Bailey said. “I think everyone is working as a team.”
Bailey led the way for the Gaels as she won the pole vault (10-6) and captured third in the 55 hurdles (9.08). Bailey said he would have liked to have more competition in the vault, but embraced the victory.
“I’m still crazy happy with it,” she said of her state title.
Teammate Samantha Hartmayer finished in second in the 600 (1:37.85) as Danbury’s Leah Sarkisian won (1:37.49).
“It was finally good to have competition, because so far this season I’ve run against the clock. It was really nice to have someone to race against,” Hartmayer said.
Shelton’s Samantha Stevens took second in the shot put (33-03.50).
Other top locals included Janaia Skibitcky of Cheshire’s second place in the long jump (17-06.25).