Ray leads Staples at FCIACs
What a difference a year makes for the Staples boys track team. Staples finished second with 120.5 points at the FCIAC Championship meet in Danbury on May 25, moving up from last year's ninth place finish. Perennial champion Danbury (139) won and Trumbull (83.16) took third place.
Longtime Wreckers Coach Laddie Lawrence brought his troops into Danbury for the first of three championship meets with the hopes of upsetting juggernaut Danbury and holding off contenders Darien and Trumbull. Staples actually scored more points than it expected to as a team, but of course could not directly prevent its competitors from scoring well.
"We weren't disappointed," said Lawrence, "we finished where we were supposed to."
Lawrence felt the team was "peaking" at the right time as they came into the championship, and 20 Wreckers finished with their best performances of the year.
Among them was senior captain Paul Chandler, who won the pole vault while tying his own school record at 15 feet. Senior Devin Graber did what he could to help the team effort, as he was a first place finisher in the shot put. Junior Jeff Caffery ran a 2:01 in the 800 meters, which was only good for fourth, but still a fast time that surpassed expectations.
Senior Mike White was also a solid contributor, exceeding already high expectations, as he finished second in the 100-meter dash and 200-meter dash, individually putting 16 points on the board for Staples.
Junior Rafi Ray was yet another successful runner for Staples. Ray won in the 400 meters and anchored the 4x400-meter relay team to victory. Sophomore Jon Heil and juniors Sean Gallagher and Jack Roche rounded out the rest of the relay team.
"We just decided to put out heads together and race our hardest," said Ray on the 4x400 meter, "Heil set the opening pace which really set the standard for the legs to follow and I just tried to hold onto the lead."
That Ray did, running a 48.7 anchor leg.
This was all after the 4x800 ended in disaster at the very beginning of the meet. After a dropped baton, senior captain Jon Foster, Caffery, senior captain Sam Zorfas and Roche managed only to finish sixth in an event that they expected to possibly win. But, at a track meet, teammates can pick each other up; one event's unexpected success often balances out another's disappointment.
"White made up for it," said Foster.
Lawrence continued the sentiment, stating that "track is not an individual sport."