When the Darien High girls indoor track program's first State Open championship will be looked back upon, it will be remembered as truly a team effort.
"This 2013 title is a testament to the girls who competed at their peak tonight and to the parents who cancelled vacation plans so the kids could be here," Darien coach Steve Norris said on Tuesday. "We won the FCIAC team crown. Then we won the Class L title. That got the parents' attention. This was a once in a lifetime chance and the girls cashed it in."
Darien finished Tuesday at Hillhouse High School's Floyd Little Athletic Center with 66.33 points to win the State Open. Hillhouse won the last of the 15 events on the night -- the 4x400 meter relay -- to close at 57 points for the runner-up slot.
Bloomfield, which recorded 30 points, was third, followed by NFA (25 points), Ridgefield (24.33), Amity (16) and Staples (15).
The State Open boys indoor track championship team race also had drama.
Bloomfield was crowned champ with 61 points, holding off runner-up Danbury High's furious finish at 53.50. Staples, which came off FCIAC and Class LL state championships, placed third with 40 points.
"The coaching staff told the kids we needed 50 points tonight to win and we scored 53.5," Danbury coach Rob Murray said. "Every event we maximized. Our guys posted lots of personal bests. We got beat by an amazing Bloomfield team. They have so many gifted athletes. I'm so proud of the character my kids displayed tonight."
The individual star on the boys' side was none other than Staples' Henry Wynne. The University of Virginia-bound senior added another glowing chapter to his postseason by winning both the 1,000 (2:31.32) and 1,600-meter runs (4:23.53).
Wynne, who won both races at FCIACs and LL states, was also part of a 4x400 meter relay team that finished in sixth. Jack Scott, Tucker Rizzi, Walker Marsh, Wynne, Robert Jacowleff and Ryan Petersen clocked in at 3:31.56.
For the Darien girls, the key to victory was winning the first event. The Blue Wave won the 4x200 relay in 1:45.11, just ahead of Greenwich (1:45.43).
"It wasn't just the 10 points," Norris explained. "It was the way we did it. We put our fastest girls in the opening two legs because we wanted the lead. We knew how crowded the relays get and we wanted all the other teams hitting and falling over each other.
"That relay victory was a stepping stone. It set the tone for the rest of the meet," Norris continued. "The girls knew what they had done all year. The early lead made them think `Why would we not win tonight?' They didn't see anything to faze them along the way."
Staples freshman Hannah DeBalsi finished first in the 3,200 in 11:00.37. Weston senior Emily Savage won the pole vault (11-11).
Catherine Lacy won the long jump (18-02.5) for Darien, giving the Blue Wave a 66.33-47 edge over Hillhouse after 13 events.
In the boys' competition, Danbury secured second place behind Open champion Bloomfield by winning the 4x400 relay in 3:27.53.
The Hatters' Leland Roberts won the pole vault at 14-feet. Staples' Alex Lochoff was third (13-6).
The Hatters made noise early by winning the 4x200 relay in 1:33.79, just ahead of Hillhouse (1:33.85). In the 4x800 relay, Ridgefield won in 8:09.30 with Danbury (8:11.93) third, and Staples (8:15.78) fifth.
In the 600, Danbury's Austin Winter (1:23.0) was second, while Staples' Marsh (1:24.73) placed third.