NEW HAVEN >> Thursday afternoon at the Floyd Little Athletic Center, every point will matter.
The Southern Connecticut Conference indoor track and field championships, which begin at 3 p.m., present an interesting scenario this season, as there isn’t an overwhelming favorite to win.
Instead, it’s a wide-open field with a handful of teams having true championship aspirations.
“This is an unusual year as there is not just one or two team that are just stronger than the rest,” Hamden boys’ head coach Bryce Lindamood said. “As a result, the points will be spread around to several teams and the relays and a few events will figure strongly in the final result.”
The balance across the track and field has created a rare and competitive instance where a majority of the events will be hard to predict.
“I think we’re looking at any one of eight teams can walk away with the victory,” Cheshire girls’ coach Allen Dvarskas said. “With the timing of the meet, it’s going to fall on the legs, arms and minds of the strongest athletes.”
The reigning boys champion is Xavier. Hillhouse is the three-time defending girls champ. Neither of the two won a divisional title Sunday. But don’t rule them out quite yet.
“We believe that a score above 60 could win the entire meet,” said Lindamood, whose team won the SCC Western Divisional title on Sunday. “Contrast that with 2010, we scored 100 and almost lost to Amity at the SCC meet. We will never count out Amity and Hillhouse as they have great traditions of winning at the SCC meet.”
On the boys side, Lindamood listed Amity, Hillhouse, Xavier, Hand, Cheshire and his Hamden squad as contenders.
For the girls, Mercy won the Western Division title, while Cheshire won the East.
“Hillhouse had a particularly strong team the last few years and maybe the playing field has levelled a bit,” Branford girls’ coach Kevin Connell said.
“Mercy and Cheshire looked good in the sectional meets but Wilbur Cross could be poised to take the SCC meet. It will certainly be an exciting meet with some great performances.”
In a sport where individuals strive to better their own mark and reach a new personal best, a lot of Thursday may boil down to the relays, final events and which team has a little more depth at the end of the meet.
“This year it seems as though each team has some strong areas and overall it’s going to be a battle,” Dvarskas said.
“It will be one of the most fun meets this season.”
SCC INDOOR TRACK AND FIELD CHAMPIONSHIPS
When: Thursday, 3 p.m.
Where: Floyd Little Athletic Center, New Haven
Broadcast: Live results on www. paynescornertiming.com
Defending champions: Xavier won the 2013 boys title, while the Hillhouse girls are three-time defending champions
What to look for: While the chase for a team title will come down to the wire on both sides, individually some records may fall. Fairfield Prep’s Chris Alvarado is ranked eighth in the nation in the 1,600 (4:14.78) and 25th in the 3,200 (9:24.46). The Wilbur Cross girls sprint medley relay (4:13.24) is the 12th-best in the nation. Danae Rivers of Wilbur Cross is No. 6 in the 600 (1:35.40).