The Staples girls outdoor track team is confident that it will carry the momentum from an outstanding winter indoor season that included a program-first Class LL championship and runners-up finishes at the FCIAC and State Open meets.
"We're hoping to repeat as FCIAC champions this year," Staples girls assistant coach Amanda Morgan said. "Coming off indoor season, we're not really losing anyone. We lose a few scorers to other sports but we should relatively better positioned for outdoor."
Last season, the boys and girls accomplished the impressive feat of winning both FCIAC titles. This term, both teams are in firm position to challenge for individual and team medals.
The boys will try to repeat without national champion runner Henry Wynne, who won the 800 and 1600 races at the Class LL and State Open meets. Numbers are down on the boys side as the busy spring seasons draws runners to other sports.
"Although we are optimistically looking forward to this coming season, we realize that graduation and other spring sports created some extremely large holes in our line-up, as evidenced by some of the results of the indoor track season," Wreckers boys coach Laddie Lawrence said.
"Middle distance and distance is probably going to be our strongest suit," Lawrence said. "We have more runners there than more experience than we do in some of the other areas."
The boys graduated their top three performers on the pole vault -- Matthew Mula, Alexander Lochoff and Douglas Caffery.
Anthony Bravo will be a threat in the long jump and Bobby Jacowleff will help the Wreckers earn points in the hurdles. Jacowleff finished 15th at the state decathlon last season.
Sophomore Hannah DeBalsi will lead the charge of the girls distance group this spring. DeBalsi defeated Westhill's Claire Howlett at FCIACs in both the 1600 and 3200 meters, only for Howlett to return the favor in both events at the State Open.
Follow sophomore Erin Munley finished 14th in the 1600 at indoor FCIACs in January and will be one of the top distance runners for the Wreckers this term. Munley also finished 11th at Class LL in the 3200 last spring. Elizabeth French and Katharine Smith will also be contributors in the distance events.
The middle distance core comprised of Tyler Scanlin and Erica Hefnawy -- who placed in the top five in the 800 at the State Open last spring -- will be a strength of the team again this year.
This season, New Englands (June 14) are scheduled during the same weekend as nationals (June 13-15), forcing teams to choose which race better suits their performers. As a result, a national title contender like DeBalsi may not get to help relay teams that go to the New England meet.
"It's frustrating," Morgan said. "(Fellow assistant) Malcom (Watson) and I were talking about it in terms of relays; Hannah wants to go get revenge in the (distance medley relay) and she wants to go to nationals. Some of the girls on the team are good enough to make New England's. We'll see."
The Staples boys finished second and the girls placed fourth at the Class LL state meet. At the State Open, the boys finished third and the girls placed sixth.