NEW HAVEN >> Written on the legs of many of the members of the Coginchaug girls’ track team were words of encouragement and inspiration Saturday afternoon at the Shoreline Conference Indoor Track and Field Championships.
Head coach Kate Germond said it’s always been tradition.
“We were the team that is always the most spirited and the cheerleaders,” Germond said.
After finishing as the runner-up last season, the Blue Devils can finally label themselves more than the spirited team.
Coginchaug scored 124 points to beat Old Saybrook (97.3) for the Shoreline title at the Floyd Little Athletic Center. Haddam Killingworth was third (84).
“To be this competitive team to win Shorelines is just unbelievable,” Germond said.
Led by junior sisters Jessica and Sam Drop, who set a meet records in the 1,000 and 3,200, the Blue Devils won seven events, including three of the four relays.
Germond, who has been the coach the last six years, said she cannot recall the last time Coginchaug won the conference crown.
“They are determined,” Germond said. “They’ve been waiting for this victory lap, it’s amazing.”
Coginchaug did a majority of its damage on the track, as it only placed one individual in the top 3 in the field events. The Blue Devils set a meet record in the 4×800 relay (9 minutes, 45.65 seconds) and sprint medley relay (4:23.77), while Bailey Thayer set a meet record in the 600 (1:39.62)
“For what it was worth, I really applaud the girls,” Old Saybrook head coach Peter Capezzone said of his team. “Coginchaug, they got a great team there.”
Jessica and Sam Drop headlined the day, as both picked up three wins. Sam won the 1,600, set a meet record in the 3,200 (11:37.48) and ran on the 4×800 relay team.
Jessica, who was part of the 4×800 and sprint medley relay teams, turned in a brilliant state-best and meet record time in the 1,000 (2:55.70), which ranks her 18th in the nation according to milesplit.com rankings.
“I like the speed aspect because I am a soccer player, but I like the distance aspect because I worked all summer on that,” she said.
Jessica first went under 3 minutes in the 1,000 in December at the Amory in New York, an event she said that gave her confidence for the rest of season
Saturday she went unchallenged in the event, pushing herself for a new personal best.
“I think it just shows my character how I want to push myself to get better,” she said. “And it gives me confidence for states and State Open where competition is coming.”
On the boys’ side, Old Saybrook won with 101 points for its first title since 2011. Coginchaug was second with 94 points and Haddam Killingworth was third (80).
“We knew it was going to be tough. We knew it was going to be close,” Capezzone said.
The Rams used a balanced effort led by Luke Sumby who won the 55 hurdles (8.14), pole vault (12 feet, 7 inches) and finished third in the long jump.
Teammate Tom Strand placed second in the 300 and ran on the 4×400 relay team that finished third. The 4×800 relay team placed third as well.
“Luke had an unbelievable day, “Capezzone said. “We have some good leadership on that team. It was a team effort.”
Coginchaug’s Christian Alberico completed an amazing triple, winning the 1,000, 1,600 and 3,200. Morgan’s Brian Gendron set a meet record in the 600 (1:23.09).