One season after placing a strong sixth in the team standings at the State Open, Class LL and FCIAC Championships, the Greenwich High School girls indoor track team is optimistic it will produce another season featuring personal-record times and medal garnering performances.
And for good reason.
The Cardinals have depth, experience and skill at each event and should be one of the teams to beat in the FCIAC and state during the winter season.
“We had a young team last year, so everyone is a year older and more experienced,” GHS second-year coach Casimir Loxsom said. “We have a more seasoned team this year. I also feel like we have more of a rhythm and routine in my second year with the team. Our team has a strong returning crew with a lot of exciting new athletes.”
Greenwich’s boys team, which placed 12th in the team standings at the State Open last season is looking to fill the void left by its graduating seniors.
“It is going to be an interesting year, because a lot of the guys are new,” Greenwich boys coach Jeff Klein said. “We have a lot of young guys, a lot of ninth-graders, which is great. It should be fun to see how they do during the course of the season.”
On the girls team, seniors Zoe Harris, Cali Hedbabny, Demi Janis, Izzy Jankovich and Jada Williams are each serving as captains. Harris, who is in her fourth season on the squad, has excelled for the Cardinals since her freshman year. She was a member of Cardinals when they won the triple crown — the FCIAC, Class LL and State Open team titles during the 2017-2018 indoor rack season.
“I’ve been here for four years and it’s been a lot of fun,” said Harris, who will compete on the track team at Columbia University next year. “I’ve grown into a leadership role and it’s awesome to be able to help people with things I’ve been through before.”
Harris plans on competing in the 600, 800 and 1,000-meter events. She finished third in the 1,600-meter run at the 2019 State Open (5:09.10) and was second in the event at the Class LL finals (5:15.49). She’s flourished for the Cardinals during the spring track season and cross country season for several years.
“Zoe did such a good job in the spring, she was our team MVP, Loxsom said. “She put in a lot of hard work in the fall during the cross country season and she is ready to go.”
Junior Mari Noble brings speed and experience to the Cards in the distance events. Noble won the 3,200-meter title at the State Open championships (11:00.83) as a sophomore and also won the event as a sophomore (11:06.55). On the Cardinals’ cross country team this past fall, she finished first at the FCIAC, Class LL and State Open championship meets.
“I might be focusing on the mile this year, I like the faster pace,” Noble said. “I also enjoy running the 3,200, so we’ll see how I feel during the championship season.”
Noble feels primed for the indoor track season after enjoying a championship cross country campaign.
“I did a lot of really good workouts and built my endurace while running cross country,” Noble said. “I was able to pr (personal-record) time in the 5K by 45 seconds, which shows how hard I can push myself. Winning the championships in cross country was something I didn’t think was possible going into the season.”
She especially the indoor and outdoor track and field seasons.
“With track I like that there are so many different events to try,” Noble said. “It’s nice to mix it up a little bit and compete in some faster-paced races.”
Said Loxsom: “Mari had a season of a lifetime last indoor season and she is still progressing, even though she races like a veteran.”
Hedbabny competes in the high jump for the Cardinals — an event she qualified for in the State Open during the spring track and field season.
“Being one of the captains is great,” Hedbabny said. “I joined track my freshman year and I’m glad I did. I’m hoping to repeat what I did in the spring when I qualified for the State Open and go out with a bang.”
Like her teammates, Hedbabny is encouraged with what she sees from the squad.
“We’ve got such talented people, who work hard every day,” Hedbabny said. “They are good people to be surrounded by.”
The Cardinals will rely upon Janis to help pace them in the 400 and 600-meter events.
“We have depth as a whole and talented upperclassmen and underclassmen,” said Janis, who also starred on Greenwich’s field hockey team. “A lot of people on our team have been running for a long time. Our goal as captains is to make sure everyone is pushing themselves at practice and meets.”
Williams is one of the Cardinals’ top sprinters. She’ll aid the squad in the 55 and 300-meter runs, along with some of the relay races.
“I like the 55 the best, it’s the closest to the 100 and I really like the short, fast sprints,” Williams said. “I want to focus on getting faster.”
Jankovich is a hurdler, testing her skills in the 50 meter and 300-meter hurdles and high jump.
“I’m really excited to see how the season goes,” Jankovich said. “I like the whole community feeling around the team, with everyone helping each other.”
Grace Collier (junior), Alexa Brust (junior) and Eadaoin Clarke (junior) are among some of the returning athletes returning from last season’s successful squad.
Like Harris, Williams was a member of the Cardinals team that won three titles two seasons ago.
“That was a great experience,” Williams said. “We were the underdogs going into those meets, but we proved that year that anything is possible.”
On the boys’ side, Zane Nye, William Taki, Tyler Bacco Sam Chard and Alexander Bein are the captains.
“The team looks good, although we had a lot of guys graduate from last year,” Nye said. “Our relays last year, I don’t know if we can replace those guys, they were amazing. But we definitely have guys who can do well.”
Nye was part of a 4×200 relay team last indoor season that placed second at the State Open (1:33.21). He is planning on running in the 55 and 300 events this winter.
“I am going to try to go as far as I can in FCIACs and states and hopefully, go to nationals,” Nye said. “I learned a lot from our captains last year, so I hope to set a great example to the team and continue that legacy.”
Bein is a consistent distance runner, who is coming off a strong cross country season.
“We have a lot of distance guys returning from cross country, which is good to see,” Bein said. “It’s always exciting to see us add sprinters and throwers, which we did. “I am looking forward to a championship season and running faster times.”
Bacco and Taki are also testing their speed in the 55 and 300.
He’s enjoying helping lead the team as one of the captains.
“It feels great, I’ve always wanted to be a captain since I started high school,” Bacco said. “We have some sprinters and long distance guys who are going to step up for our team.”
David Faugno should spark the Cards in the long jump/high jump events, while Chard is one of the team’s top throwers.
“If we keep working hard and developing as a team, we can be competitive in the FCIAC and championship-level meets,” Klein said. “Our goal is to get as many athletes as possible qualifying for those championship meets.”