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By Eliot Schickler

Next stop is the New England outdoor track championships.

That's the destination for three individuals of the Weston boys and girls outdoor track teams. Weston senior co-captain Stephen Vento, sophomore David Stankiewicz and Lady Trojan senior tri-captain Kiki Litvak are headed to tomorrow's New England championships in Burlington, Vt. by virtue of qualifying at the State Open Monday in New Britain.

Vento punched his ticket in for Vermont by placing fourth in the 3,200 meters with a time of 9:22.33, knocking off more than 20 seconds from his seed time (9:43.12) and achieving a personal best -- eclipsing his old time by 10 seconds. Tolland senior Brian Fowler (9:09.83) won, Fairfield Prep junior Connor Rog (9:19.07) and Naugatuck junior Muad Hrezi (9:22.32) outkicked Vento in the end and moved into third place.

"Basically, I knew it was a big race for me and I trained for it the whole season," Vento said. "I knew I had good competition in Brian Fowler, the State Open cross-country champion. My goal was to go out harder than usual. I knew Connor Rog would go out strong. I went in with the mindset I could but as a long shot. I'm happy about PR'ing [achieving a personal record or best]. The guy from Naugatuck nicked me at the line. Overall, it was a good performance."

Stankiewicz placed fifth in the 800 meters (1:54.59). Also scoring points for the Trojans was their 4x400 meter relay team of junior Chris Piscatelli, Stankiewicz, sophomore John Savicky and senior co-captain Paul Philpott with a sixth-place finish (3:25.70), earning the team three points.

Overall, Weston's boys had 12 points and finished in a five-way tie for 18th place in the 64-team field.

Weston's girls ended up in a five-way tie for 50th place in the 64-team field by scoring three points with Litvak tallying all the points by taking sixth in the pole vault (11-0) by equaling her personal best.

"I'm excited because I equaled my personal record," Litvak said. "I would have liked to exceed it but I'm happy to prolong my track season. I went in there with an open mind and I didn't put pressure on myself and it worked."

Both seniors are looking forward to their last New England meet.

"I'm hoping to run faster at New Englands," Vento said.

Litvak said, "I'm hoping to take top six and it's been a goal of mine since freshman year. I think I'm seeded seventh but I haven't peaked yet. I hope I can rise to the occasion."