Hatters' time: Danbury indoor track teams hope to sweep FCIAC championship
The Danbury boys will be going for their third straight Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference crown while the Danbury girls will be looking to dethrone two-time champion Darien at
Staples High School
in Westport on Saturday.
The girls meet is scheduled to get underway at 10 a.m. with the boys likely to start around 4 p.m.
The boys and girls South-West Conference championship meet will also be on Saturday at 5:30 p.m. at the New Haven Athletic Center
"There's a lot of pride involved here," Danbury boys coach Rob Murray said. "It means something to the kids to be the king of the conference and have those bragging rights. It also does a lot for the psyche of our team."
On the boys' side, the Hatters are the clear favorite, but Staples will certainly make Danbury work to retain its crown.
After qualifying, the Wreckers are only 15 points behind the Hatters and are loaded in the pole vault, where they could take four of the top six scoring spots.
Danbury, however, is in a similar position in the shot put.
The Hatters' Robert Guider , who recently committed to throw for Division I Virginia, is the top seed with Stephen Simalchik right behind him.
Robert Bates is seeded in the sixth spot for Danbury and has several other Hatters just behind him.
"Both schools have events where they are really dominant," Murray said. "They will basically be a wash. It will really come down to the other events and I think we have a little more firepower than they do."
Danbury is certainly loaded in the distance events with most of the Hatters' state championship cross country team running the track.
That group should also be well rested as Murray tried to give his cross country runners ample time off after a successful, but lengthy season.
"They really didn't start to get going until mid-January," Murray said. "They are just getting back into competition shape."
But Danbury's weapons don't reside solely in the distance events.
The Hatters are amazingly balanced with Daryl Baptise (high jump), Chris Dubuc (pole vault), Joey Bubniak (1000-meters), Cody Raphael (600-meters) all earning first place finishes as Danbury cruised to the FCIAC Western Division title last weekend at Staples.
All four Danbury relay teams also finished third or better with the 4x400 team of Raphael, Dele Owoye, Kenny Crouch and Daryl-Michael Dennis and the 4x800 squad of Alex Levine , Ray Crouch , Dan Ronan and Matt Merritt taking first.
On the girls' side, things could be a little closer.
The Hatters lost to defending champion Darien by less than two points and certainly haven't forgotten.
"It's on their minds," Danbury's first-year coach Melissa Nadeau said. "We are going to be asking a lot of girls to step up and that's what the championship season is all about. That's where the heart of a team comes out."
Despite losing All-State sprinters Shelby Walton and Deborah Dorcemus , the Hatters are again strong in the sprint events.
Danbury took the top two spots in the 50-meter dash and the top three places in the 300-meter race en route to the FCIAC Western Division title last weekend.
In the 50 and 300, Teyanna and Charisma Green were No. 1 and No. 2 with Maya Walton coming in third in the 300.
The 4x200 relay team of Teyanna and Charisma Green, Tamara Lynch and Nyoshee Lowry set a school record and Staples Fieldhouse record of 3:17.99 in the FCIAC divisional meet and the 4x400 and 4x800 squads also won.
Darien, however, is dominant in the field events, but Nadeau is hopeful Heather Lockwood , who won the shot put last Saturday, can score an upset in the throws while Walton can come up big in the long jump and Vicky Joye in the pole vault.
The difference between 2008 and 2009 could be the distance events.
Jessica Berry , who won the 1600 and 3200 last weekend, will be asked to have big performances again on Saturday. Emily Campbell , who won the 1000 last weekend, will also be a key cog for Danbury.
Nadeau hinted that Berry might also be asked to race in other events than the 1600 and 3200 in an effort to get her team to the top of the conference.
"I definitely think we can pull of the surprise on Saturday," Nadeau said. "But to do so, we got to have our big performers step up."
ANOTHER WESTON SWEEP?: Weston is a clear favorite to repeat at the SWC championship meet, but the Trojans could have several challengers.
The Immaculate, Newtown and New Fairfield girls could be there as could the Bunnell and Masuk boys.
Moira Kenney and Katie Collins will be the tandem to beat in the distance events as will New Fairfield's John Raneri on the boys' side.
Brookfield's Rose Willey could be right behind the two Mustangs and New Milford's Craig Hunt could challenge Raneri.
For Newtown, Lauren Sudbey has proved to a big-time performer in the pole vault and jumps and Brookfield's Carolyn Conant will also be a contender in the pole vault and 55-meter hurdles.
"Anything can happen," Brookfield coach Ed Butt said. "Weston is the favorite, but one or two kids swap spots, a kid gets sick and it a whole new ball game."
Contact Dan Farrand at
or at (203) 731-3379.