Staples' Bravo wins high jump, just misses in long jump at New England meet
Athletes from across New England descended upon the Reggie Lewis Athletic Center in Boston last Friday for the New England indoor track and field championships.
None of them jumped higher -- and only one jumped farther -- than Staples senior Anthony Bravo.
Navigating back and forth between the long and high jump areas, Bravo, who said he was bothered by a back injury during the season, set a personal best in the winning the high jump (6-09) by five inches. Bravo finished second in the long jump (22-01.50) to narrowly miss out on an incredible double win.
"I feel really good that's probably the biggest PR (personal record) I've ever done," said Bravo of his high jump. "I didn't jump as I hoped in the long jump but, wow, this meet is way more exciting."
Bravo was far from the only regional athlete to enjoy success in Boston.
As has been the case the last several seasons, Fairfield County dominated the 2-mile run. Staples junior Hannah DeBalsi (10:26.09) and Darien's Alex Ostberg (9:00.58) took home both titles ahead of the national meet.
DeBalsi three-peated after setting the meet record last year and winning the race from the unseeded section as a freshman. Without anyone to push her toward a personal best, DeBalsi focused on winning the event, doing so by more than 14 seconds.
"There was no one around me, so I just settled," DeBalsi said. "I'm disappointed in that; I know I'm in better shape than that because of my workouts. ... It's an honor though, the main goal coming in was to win."
The boys race was far tighter, but was still settled by a trio of FCIAC standouts. Ostberg and teammate Armstrong Noonan (9:09.15) paced the field, with Ostberg gradually pulling away over the second half of the race and winning by eight seconds. Brien McMahon's Eric Van der Els (9:08.67) sprinted past Noonan for second in the final moments.
"Having the caliber of runners in my conference is invaluable," Ostberg said. "It's fantastic, I didn't even win the FCIAC meet. Some people may have doubted my ability, but I've always believed in hard work and faith in my coaching staff."
Ostberg's winning time is currently the fastest in the nation this winter.
Danbury freshman standout Leah Sarkisian placed fifth in the 600, with a time of 1:22.20. The time was a personal best and an improvement from her second-place finish at the State Open. Sarkisian started running in fifth grade and has made tremendous strides despite the bright lights of a regional meet.
"My goal was to beat my personal best and place," Sarkisian said. "I get a little nervous but that turns to energy; I started the 600 this year and I've gotten better every time."
Norwalk senior Evan Adams, who will be playing football for Syracuse this fall, placed second in the shot put (55-11.00). Wilton's Spencer Brown placed second in the 1,000 with a time of 2:27.51.
"I'm very grateful that I came here and got this far," said Adams, who didn't participate in the event a year ago. "(Connecticut) had four of the top seven throwers; I can't be more proud of my state."
Adams in unsure whether he will participate in the national meet or the spring season due to football training commitments, making Friday a possible finale for the offensive lineman.
"There's a chance, but you can't think of it like that," Adams said. "As long as it doesn't interfere with my football I'm happy to do both. If that was my last throw it was a pretty good run."
The New Balance nationals are schedule for the weekend of March 13-15 at the Armory in New York City.