Staples track prepares for championship season
Updated 1:42 am, Friday, January 27, 2012
Championship season is here for the Staples boys and girls indoor track teams.
Both teams have worked for this since the beginning of the season and they will first find out tomorrow where they stand in the FCIAC Western Division championships at the Staples fieldhouse at 2 p.m. Next up for both teams is the FCIAC championships next Thursday and the Class LL championships Feb. 9 at the New Haven Athletic Center.
Staples boys pursue Danbury
Last year, the Staples boys team was better than every team in the FCIAC and Class LL but one. Unfortunately for the Wreckers, that team is Danbury, who won the Western Division champion, FCIAC championship and Class LL title, relegating Staples to second place in all three meets.
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Although the Danbury Hatters are always formidable and usually finish ahead of the Wreckers, Staples isn't ready to concede. Except for throwing events, the Wreckers have depth and strength, especially in relays, and they hope to carry this to victory.
"I think we have depth and good runners and we'll do well," Staples senior captain Jon Heil said. "I think we have shot at the Western Division, FCIACs and states, and it depends on how our field events will do. We have to utilize our runners in specific events and do as good as we could in relays."
Heil's speed will play a major role in the 4x200-meter and 4x400-meter relay teams. Senior captains Zach Mitchell and Max Hoberman and junior David Hoffman join him in the 4x200, which is ranked second in the state, while Hoberman and juniors Walker Marsh and Henry are on the state's top-ranked 4x400 team.
Wynne is cross country's FCIAC champion and has ran anything from 400 meters to the 2-mile and hasn't lost a race this winter. Senior Mikolaj Kulis has also been a top performer in distance events.
Max Hoberman also competes in the long jump. Other jumpers who are expected to help the Wreckers are senior Aidan McConnell and junior Matt Mula in the pole vault, and Mula's classmates Ethan Bradeen (long jump) and Colin Davis (high jump).
"We think we have a good shot," Mitchell said. "We have to give our best, and run the time we know we can run."
Schachne leads upbeat Lady Wreckers
While the Staples boys team has been a power for many years, the Staples girls started to emerge through the leadership of coach Jesse McCray. McCray is in his sixth year and led the team to third place at FCIACs and Class LL last year, one of the best in the program's history.
"I think we'll do well," McCray said. "It's a new team with new faces, which is exciting. Last year's team set the bar set the bar very high, and it's up to this year's team to follow."
It all starts for the Lady Wreckers with senior captain Lexie Schachne. Schachne is the defending FCIAC and Class LL champion in the pole vault and is expected to do just as well, if not better, than last year. She will also be competing in the high jump.
"I'm just hoping to jump high and I hope our team does well," Schachne said.
Senior captains Caroline Smith and Alex Popkin will be running middle distances, while fellow senior captain Courtney Mullen will be doing longer sprints. Classmate Nina Lochoff will compete in sprints and the pole vault. Junior Sydney Friedman will join Schachne and Lochoff in the pole vault, which should make Staples even formidable in that event.
Junior Georgia Kursten will compete in middle to long distances while classmate Alexandra O'Kane will run in middle distances. Sophomore Caroline Koenig has developed into a top cross country runner and is in the distance lineup. Running in longer sprints and relays is sophomore Tyler Scanlin.
Two junior sprinters, Emily Troelstra and Amanda Giannitti will play a big role in relays, as will freshman Olivia Wiener and Logan Murphy. Freshman Siobhan O'Loughlin is slated to run in the 4x400 and 4x800.
Injuries have been a problem for the Lady Wreckers and they especially their top high jumper, freshman Elizabeth Knoll. However, McCray hopes Knoll is back for the Class LL meet.
"I think we have a good chance of winning," Schachne said. "There's a lot of girls who are injured, but we're a strong team, and we'll put up a fight and do well. We just need to work together as a team and stay positive."
Last year, Staples snuck up on teams as a dark horse. McCray is prepared to make sure no team catches his squad off-guard. Defending champion Danbury is favored to win.
"Greenwich is strong, they are doing the same things we did last year," McCray said. "Watching them is like watching us. We some great young talent and, they are excited to contribute."