Determination and drive are two words to describe the Staples girls outdoor track team. Staples has improved every year since 2006 and this year was no exception as it finished fifth at the FCIAC championships with 51 points on May 25 at Danbury. Last year, the Lady Wreckers finished eighth at FCIACs with 33 points.

"We had talked about improving from last year's performance. And it was something that I talked with the captains about [the team] in late June and as a team, we talked about last year in November," Staples Coach Jesse McCray said. "As a team, the girls had a lot to prove. I must say they are a proud and competitive group of girls and the concept of team is very important and they care about each other and we just stressed the fact that the team success is what we put before ourselves and they just buy into that idea and they give a great effort each time out. They are a proud group of girls. I appreciate each day that I'm able to coach them. They are a hardworking and humble group."

Lady Wreckers senior captain Joselyn Henry said, "I'm very excited about it and I figured we'd do very well. Everyone stayed focused and worked hard to be the best we can be."

Henry was the team's top performer and won the shot put by breaking the school record with a throw of 39-7.

"I was aggressive and I gave everything I had," Henry said.

Freshman Jasmine Henry [the captain's sister] took seventh in the shot put (28-6.5).

Staples grabbed second in the 4x400 meter relay behind juniors Ingrid Johnson, Emily Hanrahan, Kristen Weiler and sophomore Courtney Mullen (4:08.65).

"We all ran very well and we had awesome times and ran hard," Johnson said. "I tried to set the team up as best as I can for the rest of the race. Courtney Mullen had an amazing race and an awesome finish."

The elder Henry took second in the long jump (17-5.5).

"I just ran hard and jumped as powerful as I could," she said. "Going in, I remembered what I had to do to jump far."

Mullen, senior captain Kylie Gould, Weiler and Hanrahan powered the 4x800 meter relay team (9:49.17) to third place.

"Working together was helpful and we had good coaches," Hanrahan said.

Johnson (1:00.10) and Hanrahan (1:02.08) took third and sixth, respectively in the 400 meters.

"I knew I had to get out hard and stay with it the whole race and stick with the leader," Johnson said.

Joselyn Henry placed fourth in the discus (94-7).

"I'm still trying to learn the technique and some days are better than others," she admitted. "I did OK but it wasn't my best."

Freshman Georgia Kursten finished sixth in the 1,600 meters (5:18.90).

"We were happy because we were much, much better than last year," Hanrahan said. "We've been practicing hard and there's a different mentality after our indoor season success and we're ready for the championship season."

Staples will compete in the Class LL championship meet tomorrow at 2:30 p.m. in Manchester.