The Indoor Track State Open, today at 3 p.m. at New Haven’s Floyd Little Athletic Center, includes a healthy soupcon of Northwest Corner athletes in its flavor.
Six area schools — Lewis Mills, Litchfield, Nonnewaug, Northwestern, Thomaston and Torrington — boast kids who either won their event in the class championships a week-and-a-half ago, or finished among the next top 14 overall performers.
Eleven area girls — Mary Claffey, Chelsea Hayward, Mae Mathews, Michaela Pernell, Patricia McAllister, Sabrina Olsen, Julia Romaniello, MacKenzie Blair, Becky Perugini, Haley Pinho and Jill Donston — and four boys — Dillon Newmann, Erick Bailey, Alex Gagne and Adonys Langual — stand among the elites vying for state championships in 15 events.
“It’s a feat in itself to get to this point because, in indoor track, it’s so individualized,” said Torrington High School assistant coach Jada Mattiello.
Most of the indoor track season is devoted to developmental meets with no team scoring. Instead of a team record or even team competition to motivate kids, most of the athletes set individual goals; they either get there or they don’t.
“Adonys (Langual) is our example,” said Mattiello. “He worked for it and he got it.”
Langual is also a great example of the caliber of today’s competition. The Torrington senior finished a close second in Class L at Hillhouse February 6, but drops to the 14th seed (of 18 in each event) when the other classes are mixed in.
Nonnewaug freshman Mathews is the area’s highest seed. She’s ranked at the top of the high jumpers, with a seeding height of 5-feet-2-inches.
Mathews was Class M champion.
Litchfield’s Hayward, a senior, was Class S champion in the 300 meters, seeded fourth today. She’ll also run the 55 meters, seeded 10th after a fourth place in Class S.
The Thomaston girls 1,600 meter sprint medley relay team — Romaniello, a sophomore; seniors Blair, Perugini and Olsen, sophomore Pinho and junior Donston — were champions, in Class S, earning a No. 7 seed in the Open.
The others got there among the 14 best overall performers after event champions.
Neumann, from Lewis Mills and Gagne, from Thomaston, qualified in two events apiece.
Neumann, a senior, was third in the Class M 55 meter hurdles, seeded 15th today. He was third in the Class M pole vault, seventh seed today.
Gagne, also a senior, is the 16th seed in the high jump after a fourth place in Class S. He’s 18th in the long jump from a fifth place in Class S.
Bailey, a Northwestern senior, is the 15th seed in the pole vault after a fifth-place finish in Class M.
Olsen anchors Thomaston’s relay team and also runs the 3,200 meters. She was fourth in Class S, seeded 11th today.
Claffey, a Lewis Mills junior, joins Mathews in the high jump. She’s the 17th seed after a fourth place in Class M.
Northwestern senior McAllister rounds out the group, in the shot put. She’s the 16th seed today, fifth at Class M.