Weston works on maintaining SWC and Class S dynasties
The 2009-10 Weston boys and girls indoor track teams have a lot to live up to. Weston's boys and girls won the SWC and Class S championships. For the Lady Trojans, it was their fourth straight SWC title and third straight Class S title, while the boys won their fifth SWC title in six years and second Class S title in three.
"We have a good chance to do very well again this year," said coach Matt Medve.
After completing the time trials, he cites realistic goals for the boys and girls as top three in both the SWC and Class S, while noting that for both groups, "We'll have solid teams but we do have holes to fill."
Senior captains James Bloom, Ryan Gilmore and Steve Piscatelli lead the boys this year, all of whom were integral pieces in the cross country team's successful fall season. They lead a very strong long-distance corps this year, which should be among the best in Connecticut at races 400 meters and up. Although the team lost two distance runners in captain Max Sloan and Robbie Shipman, a number of other cross country runners and indoor track rookies are ready to step up and fill their shoes.
This season, the sprinting and field events are where the team will likely run into the most problems.
Although Weston lost SWC and Class S champion Danny Eldon to college, shot put is still well-covered thanks to returning seniors Mike Figueroa (fourth in SWCs, fifth in Class S last season) and Jackson Edelman (eighth in SWCs) and throwing newcomers, including junior Jack Crowell (All-SWC Second Team for football this fall). However, the jumping events leave a lot to be desired in terms of depth.
Sam Weyrauch is the only returning pole vaulter (fifth in SWCs) after Josh Aviner graduated, and he will be trying the long jump this year as well. In the latter event, nobody who competed last season is returning this winter, including graduated senior Stevy Mbwa-Kanioka. The high jump, though, does have a returnee in senior Ken Judge (third in SWCs), along with a couple of other first-time participants.
The sprinting events this year will be another area of uncertainty for Weston, after the Trojans lost four of their top sprinters (Aviner, Mbwa-Kanioka, Tom McGee and All-State captain Adam Block) to college. Junior Paul Philpott will be looked to build upon his sixth-place performance in the 300-meter dash and although there are a handful of newcomers who could make an impact, there will definitely be less depth than last year. However, senior Michael Terry, along with Weyrauch and Philpott, should match up well against other towns in the 50-meter dash and the 4x200-meter relay.
Interestingly, the girls team has its strengths this year where the boys has its weaknesses. The captains -- Kathryn Bacher (sprints and long jump), Emily Ando (pole vault and high jump), and Meg Sanborn (mid-distance) -- have been integral parts of the team throughout their high school careers, and all competed in the State Open last season. However, Sanborn recently had ACL surgery and will be inactive for the season, which is a huge loss for the team. The question of who will pick up her slack will go a long way in determining the team's fortunes.
That being said, this Lady Trojans team is poised to be as good as, if not better than, those of the last few seasons. There are eight All-State athletes returning to the squad this winter, who will bring to the team more valuable experience than competitor schools currently have. This group includes the three captains, along with classmates Sarah Griffin and Cathy Roberts and juniors Callie Arlo, Kara Bucaro and Kiki Litvak.
While the girls do have a strong core returning, they lost a number of successful athletes from last year. The 2008-09 captain triumvirate of Emma Tobin, Rebecca Fine and Julie Sitver will be missed, as they all competed at the State Open and collectively contributed in everything from pole vault (Sitver) to the first-place 4x800 (Tobin and Fine). In addition, last year's class included long jumper and sprinter Shayna Goodman, pole vaulter Ann Lupo and distance runner Sarah Steinharter.
This year, the girls should once again dominate the jumping events. Ando set the Connecticut indoor record last winter in the pole vault, and Litvak was right behind her the whole season. Ando also won the SWC high jump, and with help from a handful of newcomers in both of these events, Weston looks to once again garner a number of points in the field. Bacher (third in Class S, first in SWCs) will lead the long jumping and hurdling (third in SWCs, fifth in Class S) squads, while newcomer Nora O'Donoghue looks to strengthen the shot put and help returnee Ty Lane.
The sprints will be all covered thanks to Arlo (second in SWCs in the 300), Roberts (second in SWCs in the 50), Litvak, and a number of underclassmen. Sophomores Erika and Kaidy Wollman, along with a number of freshmen, are looking to step up and make a difference, and should be able to fill in some relay spots.
The one area of difficulty for the Lady Trojans is long distance. Griffin, Bucaro, Casey Weiss, Claire Dwyer, and Olivia Lewis are the only true distance runners returning to the team this season, so new runners will have to step up, especially with Sanborn gone.
A number of Weston records have been set by current athletes. All three girls captains hold records, including Ando for the pole vault and high jump and Bacher for the 55-meter hurdles. Sanborn is a member of two record-setting relays, while Griffin, Arlo, Piscatelli and Bloom all hold individual records.
Weston likes its chances of repeating as champions. "I think we have a lot of potential to defend our state title," said Gilmore. "If we work hard, good things will happen."