It has been an interesting start to the boys track season for Cheshire.
After a disappointing 0-3 start, the Rams won four straight dual meets to improve to 4-3 including going 3-0 against East Haven, West Haven and Guilford in a recent quad meet.
Overall, after an 81-69 loss to Sheehan on Tuesday, the Rams are 4-4. But the recent turnaround has the team upbeat moving forward as it heads toward the postseason meets.
“We had a great meet against East Haven, West Haven and Guilford and that certainly turned things around for us,” Cheshire boys track coach Allen Dvarskas said. “ The guys stepped up after we gave them the rallying cry.
“In our first three meets we lost to some good teams. But we realized we have a lot more talent than what we showed in those losses. They realized what they could do and went out and had a great meet. After getting those three wins and we improved to 4-3, the guys were all excited. Some guys have really stepped up big for us.”
One of the consistent winners for the Rams has been junior Sean Cangiano in the field events. In the team’s three wins in the quad meet Cangiano won the discus (116 feet, 6 inches) and won the shot put (42-4).
“Sean is a powerful kid and he’s really been coming along in the field events,” Dvarskas said. “There is a lot more upside to what he can accomplish and he has been improving every meet. He has qualified for the states (CIAC Class L meet) and he has the potential to get to the 130s (130 feet) in the discus. He has had success mostly from his physical strength but has been improving his technique in both events.”
Cangiano, a defensive and offensive lineman for the football team, isn’t surprised the Rams improved after the rough start.
“After going 0-3, everyone on the team knew we’d improve and come together as a team,” Cangiano said. “That sentiment became a positive motivation for us and we were ready to go moving forward, especially in that quad meet where we went 3-0.
“I’ve been doing field events since eighth grade. I’ve always had a chip on my shoulder, putting pressure on myself to improve and help the team. My goal is always to do my best for the team. This season my personal goals are to get 135 feet in the discus and 45 feet for the shot put.”
Other members of the Rams who have excelled this season include junior Brendan Mellitt in the 3,200 meters, 1,600 and relays. Senior Chris Blaze has had success in the pole vault and sophomore Ryan Farrell has done well in the 400, 800 and relays.
Also contributing have been the team’s three captains, Eric Sudhoff (sprints and field events), Tom Cherneskie (discus, javelin) and Jared Andrea (100, 200 and 400).
“Everyone on the team has been doing well this season,” Dvarskas said. “We have some tough meets coming up but we’re hopeful that our recent success will give us some momentum. We’ll see where it takes us as we prepare for the postseason meets.”
SHELTON GIRLS REBOUND AFTER LOSS
The Shelton girls have a long history of starting the outdoor season strong. The 2019 season isn’t any different with an 8-1 mark in the team’s first nine dual meets.
“We actually started a little rough this season, taking our first dual meet loss in a few years when Sheehan topped us 80-70 at the season opener,” Shelton coach Jason Kymer said. “They (Sheehan) have a tremendously balanced team this year with many great athletes in each event. We have rallied since then and improved to 8-1 after last night’s (Tuesday) victories against Mercy and West Haven.
“Overall, we have a strong team this year and are looking forward to another battle against Sheehan at the (Southern Connecticut Conference) East Sectional Championship meet in May. Our strength this year has been our depth.”
Part of that depth includes talent in the field events.
“We have a dynamic group of throwers,” Kymer said. “Scott Snell (throwing coach) has done a tremendous job with his girls, perfecting their technique and pumping them up to face any competitors. This throwing group has dominated all the teams we have faced so far.”
The Gaels have competed against nine teams in four meets (dual meets, tri-meets, quad meets combined) this season. Among the top athletes in the field events are Yasmeen Dabiran in the javelin (four second-places in the four meets) and discus (four wins), captain Sarah Ovensy in the shot put (three wins and a second), Jackie Simington in the javelin (four wins), Sam Norris in the shot put (three second-places) and the discus (two seconds) and Arianna Malick in the shot put (a win and two third-places) and the javelin (two third-places).
The team has had success in the distance events coached by Kevin Block. The top distance runners are captain Alli Kenealy, Amanda Lomonte and Anna Weissenberg. Kymer said they have combined for nine first-place finishes and seven second-place finishes in the 800, 1,600, and 3,200. They are undefeated in the 4×800 meter relay.
Other top athletes include Kasidy Quiles who is unbeaten in the 110 hurdles, Haley Oko who has finished first or second in the 100, 200 and 300 hurdles, and Emma Wadeka who is a strong member of the 4×100 relay, losing only to Sheehan and Career. Wadeka has also had success in the 100, 200 and long jump.
Kyle Maruca, North Haven: He won the discus (162-5, school record) and the shot put (47-1) in a quad meet (win over Lyman Hall and losses to Law and Notre Dame-West Haven).
Deshaune Poole, Hillhouse: He won the 110 hurdles (15.48) and the 300 hurdles (40.69) in a quad meet (wins over Hamden and Career and a loss to Sheehan).
Hunter Clark, Greenwich: Qualified for the CIAC Class LL meet by finishing in 11.5 seconds in the 100 and 23.4 in the 200 at a dual meet against Trumbull.
Riley Bjornberg, Sheehan: He won the long jump (18-8.5) and the triple jump (38-1) in a 81-69 win over Cheshire.
Lizzy Brown, Sheehan: She won the 3,200 (12:34.71) and the 1,600 (5:43.89) in quad meet losses to Hillhouse, Wilbur Cross and Mercy. She also won the 3,200 (12:42.5), the 1600 (5:39.9) and the 800 (2:36) in a 98-52 win over Cheshire.
Giselle Zumerchick, North Haven: She won the 100 hurdles (16.2) and the 300 hurdles (50.2) in tri-meet wins over Hand and Guilford.
Emma Langis, Ridgefield: She qualified for the CIAC Class LL meet with a 27.3-second finish in the 200 and 60.7 finish in the 400 at the FCIAC #3 meet.
Kisha Francois, East Haven: She won the 200 (26.4) and the long jump (16-9.5) in a tri-meet win over Branford and loss to Sacred Heart Academy.
MEETS TO WATCH
Hillhouse Decathlon and Heptathlon, at Bowen Field (New Haven), Friday, 3:30 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m.: Boys and girls event to prepare for state decathlon and heptathlon events. Friday events will include 100M, long jump, shot put, high jump, and 400M for boys and 100MH, high jump, shot put, and 200M for girls. Saturday events will be 110 hurdles, discus, pole vault, javelin and 1500M for boys and long jump and javelin for girls.
O’Grady Invitational Relays, at Bethel High, 5 p.m. start on Friday and 10 a.m. on Saturday: 39th annual event, named after longtime Danbury coach Dan O’Grady. Meet, which changed venues this year while Danbury track refurbished, draws top talent from Connecticut, New York, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.