The Hillhouse girls indoor and outdoor track and field team has enjoyed its share of success over the years, including winning CIAC Class M team titles last season in the indoor and outdoor seasons.
If the Academics’ success in the recent regular-season events are any indication, the trend of postseason success looks like it will continue.
Hillhouse standout Ayesha Nelson won the 55 meters at the Elm City Invitational in 7.38 seconds and won the 55 at Tuesday’s Southern Connecticut Conference developmental meet in 7.30. She also won the 55 hurdles (8.68) at the developmental meet. Jada Boyd won the 300 (42.45) at the SCC developmental meet and the 600 (1:39.84) at the Elm City Invitational. Leah Moore won the shot put (38-41/2) at the developmental meet and the Hillhouse 4×400 relay won the event in 4:14.86 at the developmental meet.
Hillhouse boys and girls indoor track coach Gary Moore believes the recent success is providing momentum for the Academics as the postseason meets approach.
“I do think the recent success is providing some momentum for us,” Moore said. “But I think after winning last year’s indoor and outdoor team titles after finishing second two years in a row in indoors, there is a understanding by our girls of what they need to do if they are going to repeat as class M champions.”
The Academics have depth and talent, and it all starts with Nelson and Boyd.
“I would say that Ayesha Nelson and Jada Boyd are the heart and soul and the leaders of the girls team,” Moore said. “They have been with me since they were freshmen. I believe that they both possess natural ability, but had to learn that hard work is key to achieve team and individual success.
“They understand the responsibility that they have on the team in setting an example for the other girls.”
While individual success is important, depth has a large impact on track and field success.
Other top competitors for the Academics are Nyia White, who competes in the 55 hurdles, 300 and 600, Leah Moore in the shot put and Nyimah Ambrose in the 55 dash and long jump.
New Canaan deep, talented
The New Canaan boys and girls indoor track teams have had their share of success early this season.
At the FCIAC developmental meet on Jan. 5, the New Canaan boys were among the dominant teams with five wins.
In the boys competition, Dylan Imbruce won the 100 (2:48.74), Allessandro Malagoli won the 1,600 (4:50.85), Cem Geray won the 3,200 (11:14.81), Jack Conley won the shot put (51-2) and John Peiser won the high jump (5-10).
“Our recent success has given us the momentum to push through and generate all around performances in all events,” New Canaan boys indoor track coach Bill martin said. “We have qualifiers for almost every event for our county championship. Our success has come from a long standing philosophy of developing young athletes.
“Our current group of athletes are dominated by sophomores with a sprinkling of senior leadership. Our depth is contributing to this success.”
Other top athletes on the team include Andrew Malling, the FCIAC cross country champion, who is focusing on the ,1600 and 3,200 this season. He hasn’t run in the FCIAC meets yet.
Martin said junior Griffen Dayton and senior Andrew Jordan in the 600 are just outside the qualifying time for the state meets. Sophomore Allesandro Malagoli and junior Ryan Lytle are close to the state qualifying time in the 1,000 and Malagoli has qualified for the 3,200. Sophomore Luca Palamenti also has qualified for the FCIAC 3,200.
The New Canaan girls indoor track and field team also had its share of success in the recent FCIAC developmental meet. Tyler Towers won the 300 (46.49), Ella Gibb won the 600 (1:54.47), Imogen Rawlings-Green won the 1,000 (3:30.60), Elaina Tiller won the 1600 (5:43.42) and Naomi Cimino won the shot put (31-5.5).
Jack Myers, Wilton: Won the 45 dash (5.96) and 300 (39.22) at a FCIAC Developmental Meet on Jan. 5.
Christopher Pigatt, Hamden: Won the 55 dash in 6.55 at the SCC Boys Developmental Meet on Monday.
Justin Forde, McMahon: Won the long jump (22-2.5) and the triple jump (49-5) at the Elm City Coaches Meet on Jan. 5.
Caleb Owen, Wilbur Cross: Won the 300 in 37.49 at the Elm City Coaches Meet on Jan. 5.
Ayesha Nelson, Hillhouse: Won the 55 dash (7.30) and 55 hurdles (8.68) at the SCC Girls Developmental Meet on Tuesday and she won the 55 (7.38) at the Elm City Coaches Meet on Jan. 5.
Selina Soule, Glastonbury: Won the long jump (17-6) at the Elm CIty Coaches Meet on Jan. 5.
Kyra Connolly, Sheehan: Won the pole vault (9-0) at the SCC Girls Developmental Meet on Tuesday.
Gwynn Sullivan, Wilton: Won the 45 dash in 6.74 at the FCIAC Developmental Meet on Jan. 5.
Jada Boyd, Hillhouse: Won the 300 (42.45) at the SCC Girls Developmental Meet on Tuesday and won the 600 (1:39.84) at the Elm City Coaches Meet on Jan. 45
MEETS TO WATCH
Yale Invitational, 9 a.m.: Boys and girls teams from around the state gather for one of the top regular-season indoor meets.
FCIAC Qualifier, Wilton High, 9:30 a.m.: One of several Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference boys and girls qualifying meets.
Shoreline Conference Invitational, Floyd Little Athletic Center (New Haven), 9 a.m.: Boys and girls event.
Snowflake Invitational, Wesleyan University’s Freeman Center in Middletown: Boys and girls teams from central and northern Connecticut gather.
Wesleyan Developmental Meet, Wesleyan’s Freeman Center (Middletown), 4 p.m.: Boys and girls event.
Haddam-Killingworth Invitational, Floyd Little Athletic Center, 5:30 p.m.: Boys and girls event.
New Balance Games, Armory Track and Field Center (New York, New York), 8:30 a.m.: Boys and girls event
SCC Coaches Invitational, Floyd Little Athletic Center, start time TBA: Boys and girls event.
NCCC Invitational, Hartford Public High, 1 p.m.: Boys and girls event.
FCIAC Qualifier, Staples High, 10 a.m.: Boys and girls event.