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Staples winter sports preview: Indoor track

Updated 10:46 am, Monday, December 16, 2013

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  • Staples High freshman Hannah DeBalsi, middle, competes in the FCIAC indoor track championships on Feb. 1 at Hillhouse High School in New Haven. Photo: Keith Stein, Contributed Photo / Norwalk Citizen
    Staples High freshman Hannah DeBalsi, middle, competes in the FCIAC indoor track championships on Feb. 1 at Hillhouse High School in New Haven. Photo: Keith Stein, Contributed Photo

 

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Every winter the Staples High School girls indoor track team strives to build off the previous season's success. "That's our goal every year, we want to exceed what we did the previous year," Coach Jesse McCray said.

The girls were fourth in the FCIAC and second in the Class LL meet, and there are many strong competitors back in the fold looking to help the Wreckers this year. Tough teams in the FCIAC include Danbury, Darien and Ridgefield, but the Wreckers expect to be among the best in the conference. "We anticipate being there," McCray said.

After all, "we feel we have some of the top high jumpers in the league," McCray said.

Among the top returnees are high jumpers Elizabeth Knoll and Bridget Van Dorste, who were runner-up and the champion, respectively, in the Class LL state championship.

There is great talent in other areas too. Senior captain Tyler Scanlin was the Class LL 600 meter champion in the state meet last year.

Other captains are a trio of distance runners, Greer Hardy, Kellen Smithson and Caroline Koenig.

Success may also hinge on the emergence of younger and newer team members after graduation claimed some of the team's sprinters, particularly in the relay events. The team's sprinters are young overall, but led by junior Olivia Weiner.

"Some of the younger girls are going to have to really step up," McCray said.

The captains have been impressed with their new team members in the preseason.

"It seems like we have some fast freshmen coming in, and strong underclassmen," Scanlin said.

"I think they can bring a lot to the table," added Hardy, noting that dedication and hard work among all of the team members should lead to success.

The defending FCIAC and Class LL state champion boys squad had just 92 competitors on the roster in preseason -- a significant amount less than the average turnout in recent years. Coach Laddie Lawrence, in his 45th year, expects about 120 by the time other teams make their cuts and more athletes come his way.

The coach is hopeful that among those new faces are some that will become significant contributors.

"Although we are optimistically looking forward to this coming season, we realize that graduation took one of our best classes ever and created some very large holes in our line-up in many events," Lawrence said. "However, there are several returning athletes that we are counting on to step up and fill those spots. Although this may prove to be a very difficult task in our very competitive league and state, we believe that if we are successful, we will once again be in the mix for championship competition with many other top FCIAC and State schools."

Among the graduates are 11 All FCIAC honorees and a pair of All Americans -- Henry Wynne and Walker Marsh.

The team is led by senior captains Peter Elkind (All-American), Bobby Jacowleff (All-FCIAC), Will McDonald (All-FCIAC), and Jack Scott (All-American). Other top seniors are Sam Ellinwood (All-FCIAC), along with Victor Kolbin and Will Nolan.

Junior standouts are Anthony Bravo (All-FCIAC honorable mention), Oliver Hickson (All-FCIAC honorable mention), Jake Atlas, Jake Berman, Luis Cruz, Sean Driscoll, Patrick Lindwall, Scott Pecoriello, and Jack Rider. Sophomores are James Lewis and Campbell Marsh. Newcomers are senior Steven Sobel and junior Denzel Robinson.

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