NEW HAVEN >> Coginchaug seniors Jessica and Samantha Drop are counting the days when they’ll be competing in the Southeastern Conference as members of the Georgia Bulldogs track team. Now, they seem just content with smashing records in the Shoreline Conference.
The Drop sisters powered the Blue Devils to their second consecutive SLC Indoor Track and Field championship with a mesmerizing performance Saturday at the Floyd Little Athletic Center. The twins finished first and second in the same three events and those 54 points were too much for runner-up Old Saybrook to overcome.
“That was their plan from the get-go,” Coginchaug coach Kate Germond said. “They wanted to go 1-2 in three events together. Their times are so much better than last year. It’s crazy. They’re just blowing people out of the water.”
In their last race together, Jessica and Samantha Drop ran side-by-side during the entire 3200 meter run. Samantha happened to inch across the finish line first with times (11:20.55 and 11:20.77) that broke the previous meet record by 17 seconds, which was set by Samantha last season.
“We just wanted to seal the deal for the Coginchaug team because this is all about the team today,” Jessica Drop said. “We’re really trying to get as many points as we can.”
The super duo didn’t break Jessica’s meet record showing (2:55.70) from a year ago in the 1000 meter run. Jessica placed first again in 3:00.59, while Samantha edged out H-K’s Maddie Brandon for the runner-up spot in 3:05.59.
But the mile event was a different story.
Jessica Drop’s winning time of 5:06.89 easily broke the meet record, while Samantha Drop’s runner-up time of 5:14.38 also eclipsed the previous mark of 5:16.19 set by Lyman Memorial’s Kelly Sorrell in 2005.
“Last year didn’t go as planned for me individually so I’m glad that this year maybe I’m able to be a little closer to Jess and kind of go for better times,” Samantha said.
The mile was an important race for Jessica Drop, who will be competing in the High School Girls New Balance Mile event at New York’s prestigious 109th Millrose Games on Feb. 20.
“My only individual goal today was the mile,” she said. “It feels great showing that all the hard work from freshman year to now has finally paid off.”
Jessica qualified for the Millrose Games with victories in the AT&T Mile and Hispanic Games at the New York Armory earlier this season.
“She wasn’t going up against cupcakes in those events either,” Coginchaug assistant coach Jack McShane said.
The only caveat is that Drop will miss the Connecticut Indoor State Open.
“It was a difficult decision but I realize this is an opportunity that I couldn’t pass up,” she said.
Blue Devils junior Megan Decker won both the 55 meter dash (7.58) and 300 meter dash (43.25), while junior Allie Alsup captured the 600 meter run in 1:41.00.
“There are no words to express how proud I am of these girls,” Germond said. “They bust their butts every day at practice and they rose to the occasion today. And Jack (McShane) is an amazing distance coach with these girls. You can see him working out there with them and challenging them. He does a great job.”
Coginchaug finished with 142 points. Old Saybrook’s Katie Seegart set a meet record in the pole vault (10-07) and also won the high jump (5-0) for the runner-up Rams (111 points), while Haddam-Killingworth placed third with 97.5 points.
The Class S meet takes place this Friday night in New Haven and the Blue Devils will be looking to improve on last year’s third place finish.
“States is a hard place,” Germond said. “Bloomfield is an amazing team. We always try and get as close to them as possible. We have a better team this year than we did last so going into it we have more kids qualified and just more of a variety as to what kids will be running. It’s going to be a fun day.”
For the Drop sisters, Saturday was fun and memorable.
“They’re amazing,” Germond said. “I wish I had them for one more season. They’re very ready for Georgia and all the challenges that will have for them.”
Old Saybrook wins boys crown; H-K’s Garrelts wins three
Haddam-Killingworth senior Cameron Garrelts did all he could to dethrone Old Saybrook on Saturday. Garrelts won the 1000, 1600 and 3200. And like Coginchaug’s Drop sisters, Garrelts teammate, sophomore Andrew Meredith, was the runner-up in all three events.
“It’s tough doing the three races in one day but we had some other guys who did three events today too,” Garrelts said. “They fought hard. We scored some big points for our team looking to come out with a team win. We did what we could.”
The Rams, however, edged the Cougars, 144-138, to win their second consecutive SLC Indoor Track and Field title at the Floyd Little Athletic Center.
“It was tough holding off H-K,” said Old Saybrook coach Pete Capezzone, now in his 24th season. “They’re a real good team and we knew that going in. Our kids came up big. Our relays were strong. Dondre Swain was strong in the sprints. It was a team effort.”
Swain won the 55 meter dash (6.82) and also anchored the winning 4×200 meter relay team (1:36.79), which included Mitch Bruewiler, Austin Reynolds, and Aaron Jang.
The Rams were also led by Austin Smith, who set a meet record in the pole vault (13-09) and won the long jump (20-01); Lucas Sumby, who won the 55 meter hurdles (8.0); and Carl Anderson, who captured the shot put (42-06.50).
“We’re stronger than last year,” Capezzone added. “We’ve got H-K and Bloomfield in the state championship coming up so we’ll see what happens.”
Garrelts won the 3200 in a meet record 9:47.07. His other winning times were 2:43.61 in the 1000 and 4:38.71 in the 1600.
“I just really wanted to come in here and get some good points for the team and get some good seed times for states next weekend,” Garrelts said. “I felt good about all of my races today.”
H-K’s Ben Rakowski won the 600 meter run (1:24.49). Rakowski alos helped the Cougars win the 4×400 (3:38.99) along with Shahzaih Khalid, Lucian Afrogola and Ryan Agro.
Coginchaug’s Akec Bogen won the 300 meter dash (37.67) and the high jum