By Jon Chik

The Danbury boys and Staples girls track and field teams claimed FCIAC championships Tuesday at Danbury High School.

The Danbury boys amassed 174.66 points, comfortably in front of Ridgefield (121), Staples (61.33), Darien (53) and Norwalk (41.5).

The Staples girls racked up 114 points, narrowly edging Danbury's 113 points for the conference crown.

"A lot of courageous girls came out here and did their best and tried their hardest," Staples captain Elisabeth French said. "A lot of girls did something special and I'm thankful for that. It's really amazing."

"It was really awesome," Staples captain Erika Hefnawy said. "We had a lot of injuries, and it's awesome to know that everyone pulled through. It's really awesome to see all the really nasty times."

In the final event of the evening, the Danbury quartet of Olivia Turk, Abigail Llanos, Gabriela Collado and Leah Sarkisian claimed victory in the 4x400 relay with a time of 3:58.97, and Staples did not place in the event.

"We knew that Staples and Ridgefield were really, really good," Danbury girls coach Nick Fraticelli said. "We weren't going to focus on what other teams did; we were going to focus on what we did today. These girls were at their very best today. A lot of girls stepped up with personal bests."

Even with Danbury gaining 10 points Staples had enough of a cushion to notch the one-point victory.

The rest of the top-five girls field was filled out by Ridgefield (104), Greenwich (72.5) and Darien (52).

"I'm very pleased," Greenwich coach Evan Dubin said. "Couldn't be happier or prouder of the girls. They've been working hard and their hard work showed today."

The Wreckers won seven events: Hannah DeBalsi in the 1600 and the 3200, Olivia Wiener in the 300 hurdles and javelin, Bridget van Dorsten in the long jump and triple jump and Elizabeth Knoll in the high jump.

"Definitely very exciting," Staples captain Lindsay Gianitti said. "All the girls pushed hard this season and definitely went outside their comfort zone. There was a lot of really great team support."

"I definitely think (the FCIAC meet is the toughest)," Staples captain Olivia Wiener said. "We have a history of losing FCIACs and winning states. You have most of the best teams in the states in this area and a lot of formidable opponents."

In 18 events, the Hatters boys claimed six victories, and their ability to consistently score at least a few points in every event impressed coach Rob Murray.

"Just generally speaking, we were able to score multiple guys in multiple events on the track," Murray said. "Sprinting events we scored multiple guys. The 200 was big for us and so was the two-mile. We were able to capitalize on the volume of kids that were able to score."

The Danbury 4x400 relay team of Matthew Andrew, Jonathan Bartley, Leonardo Abreu and Devonte Clarke captured the 4x100 relay.

Individual Danbury winners included Andrew in the 100, Bartley in the 300 hurdles, Clarke in the 200, Tumani Edwards in the high jump and Leland Roberts in the pole vault.

"It's a meet that's super, super competitive," Murray said. "We knew Ridgefield was going to pull all the cards out. Their kids competed with tremendous desire and heart."

The state tournaments are up next on the outdoor track calendar, and all are scheduled between June 1-3.

"I think a lot of people wrote us off after we had a rough dual meet season," Staples girls coach Jesse McCray said. "We got to this meet and our kids stepped up and did an incredible job."

"We have a really competitive state," Ansel said. "Hillhouse was really good in indoor. We're a team of depth, but if we have guys running really well on a certain day, I think we can be one of the most competitive teams in the state."

jchik@newstimes.com