DANBURY — Malcolm Going has accomplished just about everything for the Danbury track team, including a stellar third-place finish at New Balance Indoor Nationals in March, where he was the fastest American in the event.
But one of the crowning moments came while he was sitting in class. He received a message from a coordinator at Brooks, inviting him to compete in one of the most exclusive races of the entire calendar year.
The Brooks PR will take place June 15, but for now Going and his Hatters teammates are trying to beat the cold and work toward peak pace. Going won the New England title in the 600 before his national exploits.
“I was so happy, it came out of nowhere,” Going said. “I was so excited … for all my efforts to pay off in that fashion is pretty great. It’s another chance for me to run well at the end of the season against some pretty great competition.”
Going finished right in the pack for the national title; he took third behind Abdullahi Hassan of Canada and Luis Peralta, who is from the Dominican Republic.
“It came down to a classic track and field championship race,” said Hatters coach Rob Murray. “A lot of players were jockeying a little bit and figuring out how the race was going to unfold. It was a race for place; (the indoor track) is a little more tight and he got caught a little back on the third lap, but he finished strong on the last lap.”
Danbury — which has a pair of dual meets under its belt early on — is on the young side with few seniors; hopes are high of an improvement as the rosters expand to meet the outdoor demand.
Junior Jacob Hefele is coming off a season in which he claimed the Class LL title in the 3,200.
“The goal is to send three relays to New Englands,” Murray said. “Hall are probably the favorites based off what they did indoors, winning the state championships. But can we chase them? That’s why we’re here on spring break with sub-degree temperatures and the wind blowing.”
Senior Malik Thomas and junior Jaden Cazorla are key sprinters for the Hatters while freshman Luka Santos adds depth to the group. Gabriel Kwarteng is a middle-distance specialist for Danbury, which finished fourth in Class LL over the winter. Hall claimed the Class LL and State Open, leaving the Hatters in a position too chase down a rival.
“We’re really excited for the season,” Going said. “Our first big meet is this weekend with the New York Relays. As for the team, I’m hopeful for what we can bring at the end of the season. We have some guys who look strong.”
The girls team equally possesses standout athletes looking to improve for the stretch run, one that could deliver hardware.
Danbury has received an injection of talent from freshman Alanna Smith, a sprinter who torched the middle school age group before participating in cheerleading over the winter. Smith owns impressive times early in the season and coach Nick Fraticelli has worked with her on the nuances to help maximize potential.
“It’s striking how even-keel of a kid she is,” Fraticelli said. “She has a quiet intensity about her. I think she came knowing what it’s like to work hard through the (middle school) Flyers program. She came knowing what it’s like to be an athlete from the cheer program as well.”
Most of Danbury’s talent from the winter returns; the Hatters took third at the State Open in February after taking the FCIAC and Class LL championships.
“The girls are really excited to start the season because we only had two or three meets,” said senior Natalee Seipio. “We’re looking to start competing because we’ve looked forward to this almost all year.”
Southern Connecticut-bound Seipio is a key sprinter for the Hatters while jumper Giulana Robles is coming off an impressive indoor season as a freshman. Senior Shanell Stewart (sprints) and Jaylyn Carter (hurdles) are also key contributors.
Junior Meilee Kry will be in the hunt for the long and triple jumps as well.
“Given how well we did during indoor season, we’re looking to keep that momentum and success to the outdoor season,” Seipio said. “It’s my last season, so I do want to get a couple of PRs.”
The schedule offers a mix as Danbury’s track is undergoing renovations. Both the girls and boys teams will run at the O’Grady Relays, set for April 26-27 at Bethel High School, which begins a busy stretch that includes the Dream Invite — which is moved to New Milford on May 17. FCIACs are set for May 20 at Southern Connecticut.