Chances that Caden Simpson from Law would emerge from the SCC Eastern Sectionals girls’ track meet with a 100-meter hurdling title was shaky.
Simpson took on long shot status when the freshmen hit the first hurdle and in the preliminary round held at Bowen Field in New Haven on Monday. Regaining her stride, she caught up to the field and ran a 17.41 to finish behind only Cheshire’s Kira Zawalich (17:18).
This qualified Simpson for the final. But a round of lightning brought a halt to the competition. The 100 hurdles would lead off the meet when it resumed on Wednesday.
Simpson took the title with a personal record time of 15.70. Zawalich (16.41) was second and Molly Lanz (16.84) from Cheshire third.
“I was startled, I had never had a start like that,” Simpson said of her preliminary run. “I knew I had to keep going. I did better in the final.”
Simpson’s winning time set a school record.
Law coach Joe Beler said: “Caden showed her grit. She could have stopped right there, which a lot of kids will do. But she got up and ran the second fastest qualifying time. That is grit for any athlete let alone a freshman.”
Beler was worried that racing first on Monday would have an impact on Simpson.
“She is on our 4×1 relay and uses that race to loosen her legs up. Here she had to go out as an ice-cold freshman saying let’s go, She just blew by everyone. Caden is now the top seed in Class M.”
Simpson first drew Beler’s eye in the indoor season.
“I saw something with the way she was running hurdles,” Beler said. “She is a natural. Caden is a glider. Her step leg and her trail leg are so smooth. I told Caden she would be a champion one day. I didn’t think it would be this fast.”
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