Right on track.
That’s the position the Greenwich High School girls track and field team stands just past the midway point of the regular season, as it prepares for the all-important championship meets.
As Monday’s meet against FCIAC foes Ridgefield and Stamford illustrated, the Cardinals are well-represented in each event and poised to make their mark against their competitors in the FCIAC and state competitions.
After defeating Stamford, 99-30, and losing to Ridgefield, 82-63, Greenwich’s record is 4-2. Yet their overall record in the regular-season meets is secondary to the Cardinals, who use such meets to prepare for the championship portion of the season.
“These meets against our league opponents are a great opportunity to have marks that qualify for the Class LL and FCIAC meets,” Cardinals first-year coach Casimir Loxsom said. “The team is looking really good. We have checked a lot of boxes for getting the pieces we need for FCIACs and LLs. We’ve been getting a lot of prs (personal-record performances) and if you take a look a the LL and FCIAC state list, we have some people up there already.”
Some of the Cardinals’ athletes tested their skills in off events during Monday’s meet against Ridgefield and Stamford to condition themselves for the challenges ahead. Junior Jada Williams has been a mainstay though for the Cards in the 100-meter dash and she contined to excel in the event on Monday. Williams won the event with a time of 13.09 seconds. Greenwich teammate, Kayla Egan, a freshman, was the runner-up in 13.23 seconds.
“The 100-meter dash is my favorite event of all sports,” Williams said. “I started off the season with a good time of 12.90. I keep working on my starts and finishes and it’s going pretty well. It’s only my second time running the 100 this season and the first time I got a personal-record time, but this time was fine.”
Williams placed eighth in the CIAC Class LL Championships in 2018 and was seventh in the long jump — also a speciality of hers. She finished first in Monday’s long jump, leaping 16 feet, 8.25 inches. Ridgefield’s Elizabeth DeMassa was second (15-10.50), followed by Greenwich’s Elizabeth Harkins (15-04.50). Williams’ jump on Monday was a personal-record performance. She also competes in the 200-meter run.
“My goals are to get better in each event — the 100, long jump and 200 and stay healthy,” Williams said. “We have great freshmen and sophomores on our team, so we should do well in the championship meets.”
Coming off an outstanding winter track season, GHS sophomore Mari Noble is one of the state’s premier distance runners. She won the State Open and Class LL titles in the 3,200-meter run over the winter season. She usually competes in the mile or two-mile events, but showcased her running skills in the 800-meter event in the Cards’ latest meet. Noble finished second in the 800 Monday, clocking in at 2:19.07, while teammate Caroline Webb, a senior, who finished fourth in the 3,200 at the 2018 Class Ll finals, took fourth.
“I love the 800, it’s on the short side for me, I’m used to the mile,” Noble said. “It’s a good way to bring my mile time down, by working on the shorter distance events.”
This marks Nobles’ first season on the outdoor track squad.
“The whole environment and team spirit has really propelled us,” Noble said. “It’s helped us do well in our dual meets and invitationals so far.”
Said Loxsom: “Mari had very successful cross country and indoor seasons. She is running very well and we can count on her to give her best effort when she races. Her progress has been really encouraging.”
Junior Zoe Harris finished third in the 200-meter dash (27.61) and was the runner-up in the 1,600 meter run (5:24.15) to Ridgefield’s Tess Pisanelli (5:09.42) on Monday. Harris placed eighth in the 800-meter event at the 2018 Class LL finals.
Jordan Numme, a senior, ran in the 800 against Stamford in Ridgefield, placing sixth. She is one of the state’s top performers in the 400-meter event and last season saw her finish fourth in the 400 (58.58).
“I’ve been doing the 400 since my freshman year and running the 800 makes the 400 feel a lot shorter,” Numme said.
Numme will continue her track career at Boston College.
“Going to the collegiate level is a very different transition, but I’m very excited, because this team has been a huge part of school for me,” Numme said. “This will help me enjoy the college experience even more.”
Senior Abril Martinez-Arraya crossed the finish line first for the Cards in the 400-meter dash Monday, posting a time of 1:02.47. Sophomore Sophia Bastek was second in the 100 hurdles (18.00) and 300 hurdles (47.94) for the Cardinals.
“We’re doing really well, we have a really good team this year,” said Bastek, who also competes on the school’s soccer and ski squads. “We just competed in the Penn Relays last Thursday and we did really well. We have a bunch of freshman that should be very good.”
Bastek enjoys the 300 hurdles event the most.
“I like looking forward to the next hurdle, instead of a straight run,” she said. “I’m definitely trying to improve each meet and beat my pr (personal-record) each time.”
Cardinals swimming star Meghan Lynch, a sophomore, decided to compete on the track team this spring and she’s looking forward to contributing to the squad. She ran in the 1,600 event against Stamford and Ridgefield and placed third in 5:25.61.
“Track is fun, it’s a nice change of setting for me,” said Lynch, who was the State Open and Class LL champion in both the 200 individual medley and 100 breaststroke events this past season. “I don’t have much experience yet, but I like running outside and it’s fun. I think I’m probably going to run in some of the relay events too. I think our relays can rank really high.”
In the field events on Monday, junior McCallum Harkins of GHS was the winner (five feet) in the high jump and finished third in the triple jump (32-01.25). Sophomore Alexis Wilson had second-place finishes in the shot put (26-06) and discus (69-00) and junior Emilia Thornton won the javelin (83-00).
Greenwich will indeed, be busy, in the upcoming weeks. The Cardinals visit Wilton for a meet on Thursday, then will compete in the Middletown Invitational on Saturday, before visiting St. Joseph on Monday. Their regular season concludes with an appearance at the Greater Hartford Invitational on May 11 and a home meet against Staples on May 13. The FCIAC Championships is scheduled to take place May 21 at Southern Connecticut State University.
“Everyone has had a really strong training block,” Loxsom said. “We still have a couple of areas to figure out, but we should be in the mix at the FCIAC meet for sure.”
Added Noble: “I am super excited, I can’t wait for FCIACs and states. We have a group of girls who are ready to race hard.”