NEW HAVEN >> It’s been a long wait but the Staples girls’ indoor track team is finally starting to see results.
Wednesday at the Floyd Little Athletic Center, the Wreckers scored 60 points to capture second place at the FCIAC Championships. It’s the highest finish for the program since the 1990-91 season.
“It’s been a lot of hard work, and it’s not just this year; it’s taken years to really get to this point,” Staples girls’ head coach Jesse McCray said. “We’re just happy to get back to such a high level.”
Darien easily repeated as FCIAC champs as they scored an impressive 95 points. Ridgefield was third (47) and Fairfield Warde claimed fourth (40).
“I’m always pleased with the effort when we get to the championship meets,” McCray said. “We obviously wanted to win, but most importantly we wanted to make sure we put our best effort forward, and we did that. We had a great effort today, and we said if someone’s going to beat us they’re going to have to run a great race; and they did that.”
The Wreckers’ banner day was paced by an all-around effort. Sophomore distance runner Hannah DeBalsi, who was under the weather, finished second in the 1,600 (4:55.63) to Westhill’s Claire Howlett (4:54.15) and was runner-up in the 3,200 (10:30.79). Howlett won the event in 10:28.56.
“It’s really awesome (second place as a team),” DeBalsi said. “Everyone plays a part. It’s not just distances, the sprinters have to do well, the jumpers have to do well, so it’s just nice to know everyone’s coming together.”
The Wreckers’ 1,600 sprint medley relay (Sarah Neckritz, Kathryn Lieder, Olivia Wiener, Tyler Scanlin) finished in first place (4:20.73) and Bridget van Dorsten placed first in the high jump (5-0), defeating Warde’s Blossom Jean-Jocques (5-0) who took second.
In the 600, Scanlin finished in second place (1:39.18) and junior Erica Hefnawy was third in the 1,000 (3:05.66).
The Wreckers 4×4 (Brynly Marsh, Wiener, Hefnawy, Scanlin) ended the day with a second place finish (4:10.06).
Warde was paced by senior Cate Allen who won the 1,000 in 2:59.40. Allen edged out Ridgefield’s Laura Hergenrother (2:59.88).
The 1,000 it’s definitely a speed race,” Allen said. “I’ve had good competition in the race and the top three girls had a chance. We kind of worked off each other and I think it was a good race for everyone.”
Allen was also part of the 4×4 (Paige Hanley Sara Reilly, Hannah Dougherty) that finished in fourth (4:16.50) and placed third in the 3,200 (10:52.41).
The Mustangs 4×8 (Quinn Igram, Hanley, Roey Mappa, Dougherty) took second (9:57.33). Ludlowe, which finished 12th as a team, was led by Alex Wykoff’s fourth place (9.19) in the 55 meter hurdles. Teammate Emma Koether (43.22) in the 300 was fourth. The 4×2 relay (Rachel Hurst, Ali Gorab, Ali Johnson, Koether) finished in fourth (1:52.62).
Danbury wins title
Coming into the FCIAC Championships, the Staples boys’ team was ranked fourth from a paper standpoint. The goal for the Wreckers was to finish better than that. Led by Anthony Bravo’s first place finish in the long jump (21-01), Staples captured third place with 69 points. Danbury won the title with 89, while Ridgefield was second (78).
“I’m definitely happy with third,” senior distance runner Peter Elkind said. “Basically our goal today was not to get fourth, so we pulled it off.”
Elkind paced the Wreckers with a second place finish in the 1,000 (2:36.91), was part of the second place sprint medley relay (3:44.19) and ran on the 4×4 that took third (3:36.52).
“I’m pumped to get second in two events,” Elkind said. “That’s awesome, and definitely happy with my thousand time today.”
Also faring well was Robert Jacowleff, fourth in the 55 meter hurdles (8.0), while Bravo was fourth in the 55 (6.81) and third in the high jump (6-0).
In the 600, Victor Kolbin placed third (1:27.53), while Oliver Hickson was third in the 1,600 (4:27.21). In the pole vault, William Nolan finished fourth (11-0).
“We had some really good performances in a few events and a few spots where we could have done better,” Lawrence said.