The best of the best squared off at the New England Boys and Girls Track Championships Saturday at Willowbrook Park in New Britain.
The sizable crowd on hand witnessed singular accomplishments thanks to senior Henry Wynne and freshman Hannah DeBalsi of Staples.
Wynne is using these final weeks of his illustrious high school career to put personal and historic ribbons on his wondrous resume.
Wynne roared out to an opening lap of 52 seconds and smashed the New England record in the 800 with a 1:49.95 finish that had him looking like Secretariat at the Belmont against the field.
"I did want to go out a little slower than that for the first lap so I'd have more kick left for the end," Wynne admitted. "The last 100 meters were tough but I just kept on trucking. I want to post really fast times for my final high school races. This is the last time I'll probably run the 800. I scratched out of the 1,600 so I'd be fresh."
Wynne also ran anchor leg on the Staples' 4x400 relay that placed fifth. Wynne's performance -- as he made up about 50 yards to earn second place in heat No. 4 -- had the crowd's rapt attention.
Wynne's show continues next weekend at the Nationals in Greensboro, N.C. He will run in the 4x800 relay on Saturday and in the mile on Sunday.
"I want to run with those relay guys," Wynne explained. "I ran a 4:05 mile (finishing 2nd) at a New Balance race at Randall's Island in New York City. But that was before I started peaking. I'm in perfect shape right now."
DeBalsi feels the same way. Scratching out of the 1,600, DeBalsi and her effortless stride literally lapped the 3,200 field. Her winning time of 10:10.26 smashed the New England meet record of 10:19.09.
"The New England mark was a record I really wanted. I just pushed as hard as I could," DeBalsi said. "I can run faster. I thank my coaches because I'm peaking at the right time."
The girls pole vault was another event marked by great accomplishments.
Emily Savage of Weston won in a New England record 13-feet-2 Â½ inches.
"I cleared 13-feet-2 at Penn Relays but just tipped the bar. I made the height a lot in practice," said Savage, who will attend University of Oklahoma in the fall. "I like to show people something amazing. I spent 13 years in gymnastics. What I like best about the pole vault is you get more than one try. It's not easier than gymnastics, but it's more fun for me."
Savage will be at the Nationals as well as the Junior Olympics in Iowa later this summer.
"It's amazing to repeat. I ran a 63 early instead of a 68 or 69. But I still managed 67 on the last lap to catch Trevor," Alvarado said. "I'll be competing in the steeplechase at Nationals and at the Youth World Trials in the Ukraine if I make that team. Steeplechase is my favorite event. I like the hurdles. I'm happy to get the chance to be in that event."
In the girls 1,600, Wilbur Cross freshman Danae Rivers went wire to wire in 4:54.56.
Darien junior Catherine Lacy set a meet mark of 19-feet-3 Â½ in the long jump.
"Breaking the New England record was my goal. I got it on my last jump. Icing on the cake," Lacy said. "Getting over 19 feet has been the goal. I did it at the State Open but fouled. It all came together today."
It was an unforgettable afternoon for Ridgefield senior Ellie Gravitte as well. She repeated as javelin champ with a heave of 137-feet-7.
"The competition was tough today but I hope to top this at Nationals," Gravitte said. "Winning is nice although 137 feet is good but not great."
In the boys 4x800 relay, Oxford (7:52.14) nipped Ridgefield (7:52.18).
N.E. TRACK CHAMPIONSHIPS
at Willowbrook Park, New Britain
Winner in each event and regional finishers among top six
100: 1. Taj-Amir Torres (Amherst-Pelh) 10.73; 200: 1. Zakari Jenkins (Nash North) 21.85; 400: 1. Brian Sommers (Acton-Boxbor) 48.31; 3. Shnyden Pierre (McMahon) 49.52; 4. Nick Pulitano (Greenwich) 49.93; 800: 1. Henry Wynne (Staples) 1:49.93 (meet record); 1600: 1. Jeremy Brassard (Coe-Brown) 4:16.17; 5. William Bordash (Ridgefield) 4:19.21; 3200: 1. Christian Alvarado (Fairfield Prep) 9:07.00; 2. Trevor Hopper (Ridgefield) 9:07.70; 3. Jake Feinstein (Newtown) 9:12.18; 4. Alex Ostberg (Darien) 9:12.74; 110 hurdles: 1. Izaiah McEwen (Bloomfield) 14.20; 300 hurdles: 1. Jared Delane (Northwest Catholic) 38.60; 4x100 relay: 1. Windsor 41,61 (meet record); 4x400 relay: 1. Windsor 3:18.10; 5. Staples (Jack Scott, Tucker Rizzi, Walker Marsh, Henry Wynne) 3:23.28; 4x800 relay: 1. Oxford (Brandon Au, Christopher Faber, Ryan Flach, Cameron Swift) 7:52.14; 2. Ridgefield (Kristian Sogaard, Thomas Guillaume, McCall Keller, Graeme Hewett) 7:52.18; 5. Danbury (Mickey Kozak, C.J. Cunningham, Steven Farkas, Austin Winter) 7:56.48; 6. Staples (Peter Elkind, Luis Cruz, Patrick Nolan, Walker Marsh) 7:57.56; high jump: 1. Jake Almquist (Woodstock Academy) 6-9; pole vault: 1. Joseph Fogarasi (Windham) 15-3; 2. Billy Thibault (Westhill) 14-9; long jump: 1. Alex Niemiec (Chicopee Com) 24-11 (meet record); triple jump: 1. Jordan Samuels (Boston College Prep) 47-7; shot put: 1. Jared Bell (Deering, Maine) 58-10; discus: 1. Matt Graziano (Canton) 189-1; 5. Austin Pacific (Brookfield) 166-3; javelin: 1. Tony White (Longmeadow) 187-11.
Winner in each event and regional finishers among top six
100: 1. Kate Hall (Lake Region, Maine) 11.69; 200: 1. Quashira McIntosh (Hope R.I.) 24.45; 400: 1. Monique Beckford (Weaver) 55.73; 3. Anna Sulger (Darien) 56.86; 6. Djenne Parris (Brookfield) J57.10; 800: 1. Hannah Parker (Coe-Brown) 2:06.42 (meet record); 1600: 1. Danae Rivers (Wilbur Cross) 4:54.57; 3. Claire Howlett (Westhill) 5:00.87; 4. Jessica Wojnicki (Immaculate) 5:01.69; 5. Cate Allen (Fairfield Warde) 5:03.00; 3200: 1. Hannah DeBalsi (Staples) 10:10.26 (meet record); 100 hurdles: 1. Betsy Garnick (Bishop Guertin) 14.20; 300 hurdles: 1. Katy Sprout (Tolland) 43.95; 4x100 relay: 1. Windsor 48.30; 6. Amity (Zoie Reed, Alexa Eldracher, Shaylyn Sullivan, Allison Maier) 49.45; 4x400 relay: 1. NFA 3:52.18; 4x800 relay: 1. Barrington (RI) 9:05.49 (meet record); 3. New Milford (Hannah Tower, Sierra Grazia, Saige Grazia, Helen Bayers) 9:17.57; 4. Wilton (Alex Fiesel, Sarah Healy, Annika Sheehan, Alosha Southern) 9:20.15; high jump: 1. Ellen DiPietro (Marshfield) 5-8; 5. (tie) Leah Hotchkiss (Darien) J5-3; pole vault: 1. Emily Savage (Weston) 13-2.5 (meet record); 2. Jenna Calandro (Newtown) 12-3; 4. (tie) Madeleine Schneider (Darien) 11-3; long jump: 1. Catherine Lacy (Darien) 19-3.5 (meet record); triple jump: 1. Pearl Abiti (Colchester, Vt.) 37-5; shot put: 1. Michaela Smith (Newton North) 43-3.5; 3. Katherine Simon (Amity) 41-0.75; 5. Taylor Drayton (Oxford) 40-1; discus: 1. Madeline Nicholson (Simsbury) 136-4; 5. Taylor Drayton (Oxford) 121-0; javelin: 1. Ellie Gravitte (Ridgefield) 137-7.