NEW HAVEN >> For the Hillhouse boys, Saturday afternoon was all about execution.
The Academics placed in the top three in eight of the 15 events at the Floyd Little Athletic Center to score a dominating 92.50 points and win the Class M indoor track and field state title.
Weston finished second (67) and Ellington was third (42).
“The guys really came ready to perform,” Hillhouse coach Gary Moore said. “We didn’t have any hiccups or anything. But I tell the guys, you don’t have to come championship day and exceed. If you just come in and do what you’ve been doing, that should always be good enough.”
The victory gave the Academics a sweep of the Southern Connecticut Conference and Class M titles, something Hillhouse last accomplished in 2008.
“It’s a great, great feeling senior year to come in and do what we just did,” Hillhouse’s Corey Maddox said.
The Academics received points in 10 of the 15 events.
“The guys did a really, really good job today and they stepped up when it was time to step up,” Moore said.
Senior Akiel Smith turned in another impressive performance as he won the 55 meters (6.50), 300 (35.19) and ran on the 4×400 (3:29.07) relay that finished second to Weston (3:29.01). Both Hillhouse and Weston ran under the old meet record of 3:31.11.
“Smith, he’s doing his thing this year,” Maddox said.
Hillhouse separated itself from Weston by capturing three of the top four spots in the 300. Smith took first, Tyreise Swain Jr. was second (35.49) and Darius Wise finished fourth (36.73). Senior Shawn Fletcher tied for first in the hurdles (7.72) and Maddox took fourth. The 4×200 relay finished in second, while Brendan Stewartson was third in the 600 (1:25.52).
In the field, Fletcher took third in the long jump, Gabriel Abul-Karim was second in the high jump and Jalen Gardner finished fourth in the shot put.
“I think we did a great job,” Smith said. “Next step is State Open.”
Other top performances included Sheehan junior Griffin Cobb’s win in the 600 (1:24.48).
“I’ve always kind of been dreaming of it,” Cobb said. “That was my goal.”
The Branford 4×800 (8:25.88) captured first.
The Hillhouse girls also made a strong attempt at a sweep, but defending champion Tolland was too much in the end. The Eagles won the meet with 102 points, while Hillhouse and Windsor tied for second with 67.
“The real turning point for us was really the (sprint medley relay),” Tolland coach Corey Bernier said. “Once we did that, I knew we were in the driver’s seat going in. Hillhouse and Windsor are phenomenal teams.”
Tolland won six events, including a meet record in the SMR of 4:16.24.
Heading into the final event with a two-point edge over Windsor, Hillhouse put together an impressive 4×400 relay as senior Jaliyah White willed her team from third to second place and past Tolland to give her team two extra points. Windsor won the relay, but the eight points from the Academics helped them finish tied for second overall.
“I knew we were losing at the moment,” White said. “I knew that I wasn’t going to go out without a fight. I just had to dig deep and pull through on that one.”
It was those types of performance from the Academics all afternoon that carried them to a strong finish.
“I think the girls, on a whole for me, exceeded expectations,” Moore said.
Hillhouse’s Alethia Moore continued her dominant year as she won the 55 in a meet-record 7.14. The senior sprinter said she’s much more confident this season.
“Coming into the race it was mandatory for me to break a record,” she said. “I was too close not to break it.”
Moore won the SCC title last week in a record time of 7.16. She said the biggest difference this year for her success has been her starts.
“I’m really proud of her,” White said. “She worked really hard this season. She deserved it.”
While Moore left her mark in the 55, the rest of the Academics turned in solid performances. White won the 55 hurdles in 8.73 and finished second in the 300.
“It’s my senior year and I wanted to leave with a title today in the hurdles and 300,” White said.
The Academics’ 4×200 won in 1:49.51, Tonija Young Spencer finished second in the 600 (1:42.25) and Aalayjhia Cobb took third in the shot put.
Sheehan’s Michaela Mendygral won the shot with a throw of 37-01.25. After finishing second at the SCC meet, the senior knew her No. 1 placement wasn’t a guaranteed gold.
“I was seeded No. 1, and that can change in a second,” she said. “I came in here and I was like, do my best, because no spot is comfortable. I wanted this title. It’s my senior year.”
Mendygral said she feels like she does have a 40-foot throw in her.
“It’s coming, maybe outdoors,” she said. “But we’ll try and get it for Opens, maybe New Englands.”
Career, which finished fourth, was led by Dahsia Middlebrooks’ first-place finish in the high jump (5-2). Branford’s Alyssa Case won the pole vault (9 feet).