For the second straight year the CIAC Indoor Track and Field State Open Championships moved. Instead of Saturday, this Monday is the main event starting at 3 p.m.
So, for all of you who have this Monday off, aka President’s Day, here’s five good reasons to come to the Floyd Little Athletic Center in New Haven and watch.
1. Girls 1,600 meter: This might be the best event of the whole meet. You have four runners all clocking less than five minutes in the event. All four of them are Top 20 nationally ranked. This is unheard of at the high school level for one state, in one event.
The individuals are:
- Senior Claire Howlett of Westhill. Seed No. 1 (4:55.36) and ranked fourth in the nation from milesplit.
- Sophomore Danae Rivers of Wilbur Cross. Seed No. 2 (4:55.52) and ranked No. 11 in the nation.
- Sophomore Hannah DeBalsi of Staples. Seed No. 3 (4:56.08) and ranked No. 12 in the nation.
- Senior Cate Allen of Fairfield Warde. Seed No. 4 (4:57.40) and ranked No. 17 in the nation.
So who’s going to win?
“They are going to push where they know they need to push,” Wilbur Cross head coach Travis Gale said. “But it’s going to come down to see who has that last bit of gas in that last 40-50 meters because no one is going to give up.”
For those of you who follow the sport, the four met last June at the State Open. Howlett won the race in 4:53. 97. DeBalsi took second, Allen was third and Rivers was fourth. But they ran again a week later at the New England Championships, this time Rivers won in 4:54.57. Howlett was third and Allen was fifth. DeBalsi didn’t run so she could focus on the 3,200.
This will be the first time this indoor season all four have been together. DeBalsi and Howlett ran together at the Class LL meet, while Rivers and Allen met at the Class L meet last week.
The Open record is 4:56.66, set in 2002 by Meghan Owen of Killingly. The overall state 1,600 record is 4:53.50 set by Owen. Could we see a new record on Monday? There’s a good chance.
2. Girls and boys 3,200: Depending how the 1,600 shakes out and if all runners are up for another race, the girls 3,200 should be amazing. On the CIAC Performance List, DeBalsi, Howlett and Allen are signed up. Add in Mercy’s Kaleigh Roberts and Sarah Mattison of Simsbury, you have five individuals less than 11 minutes. Crazy.
And oh yeah, DeBalsi is seeded first (10:19.26) and is ranked No. 1 in the nation. DeBalsi and Howlett are known to duke it out in this event. Allen, Roberts and Mattison are strong as well.
On the boys’ side it will be a very competitive race. You have Fairfield Prep’s Chris Alvarado and Darien Alex Ostberg. These two ran together at the Foot Locker National Cross Country Championships. They are ranked nationally in the Top 30. Add in Ridgefield who boasts three great runners, and this should be an entertaining race.
The state record in this event is 9:10.75 from John Raneri of New Fairfield in 2010. The record could be pushed come Monday.
We all know how exciting the 4×400 relay is. The last event of the meet and everybody gives it everything they have. Monday, this event could determine who wins a team title nd who doesn’t.
On the girls’ side, Wilbur Cross enters with the top seed (4:05.45). Right behind is New Milford (4:06.26), Tolland (4:06.75) and Glastonbury (4:07.02).
Speaking of Cross, they are the top seed in the sprint medley relay (4:09.88). They also are the No. 8 SMR in the nation.
For the boys, Morgan owns the top seed in the 4×4 (3:30.55) and SMR (3:39.60). In the 4×4 they are up against strong Danbury and Ridgefield squads.
4. Soaring to new heights
Field events are always fun to watch. In the boys’ high jump, led by Darien’s Nicholas Lombardo, (6-5) there’s a handful of athletes that are capable of reaching that or higher. In the boys’ pole vault, Joseph Fogarasi of Windham (15-feet) has a shot to break the State Open record of 15-3 set by Jordan Thull of East Lyme in 2006.
5. Because what else are you going to do on your Monday off?
If you’re a fan of track and field then you don’t want to miss Monday. It will be the last chance to see athletes like Prep’s Alvarado, Westhill’s Howlett and other talented seniors perform indoor in Connecticut.