DeBalsi, Alvarado defend New England indoor titles
BOSTON, MASS.--The best 2-mile runners in New England reside in Fairfield County as Christian Alvarado of Fairfield Prep and Hannah DeBalsi of Staples each defended their regional titles on Saturday afternoon at Boston's Reggie Lewis Athletic Center at the New England indoor championships.
Alvarado won the 2-mile in 9:00.23, ahead of Darien's Alex Ostberg (9:02.74). The duo own the two fastest two-mile times in the country, according to milesplit.com
"I'm ecstatic," Alvarado said of his time. "I've never been ranked No. 1, or had a No. 1 time. This is a huge accomplishment for me and gives me a ton of confidence going into nationals."
DeBalsi dominated the field in her win, lapping each runner but second place finisher Jessica Wojnicki (10:52.79) of Immaculate in recording a personal best. DeBalsi smashed the old meet record by 18 seconds.
"I wanted to break 10:10," DeBalsi, who clocked in at 10:12.95, said. "(Having the other runners in front of her) was kind of helpful and I pretended that they were ahead of me. I want to keep focusing on getting faster."
DeBalsi's time is also the fastest in the country this season.
The FCIAC was well represented in the boys 4x800 meter relay. Ridgefield's team of Ethan Realander, Kristian Sogaard, Jonathan Keating and Graeme Hewett (7:56.12) took first place in the event, while Staples -- James Lewis, Victor Kolbin, Oliver Hickson and Peter Elkind -- finished third to make the podium (8:00.00).
"We had a time goal -- (below eight minutes) and wherever that got us, that's where we'd end up," Hickson said. We barely missed it but overall we are happy with it."
Darien's Anna Sulger, Catherine Lacy, Madeleine Schneider and Dillon Schoen took first in the 4x200 relay (1:44.19). The same four won the event last year. The group edged Notre Dame Academy (Mass.), with Schoen holding off a late charge from Gabby Kenyon to claim the win.
"I had to keep pushing, just focusing on my form, keep my arms pumping and just keep her out of my vision, and make sure she doesn't come on my shoulder," Schoen said.
Lacy (17-07.50) also finished second in the long jump.
Sulger (1:34.91) and Staples' Tyler Scanlin (1:35.02) finished third and fourth, respectively in the girls 600. The duo was behind a pair of runners -- Molly McCabe (N.H.) and Amy Piccolo (Mass.) that ran the fourth (1:32.00) and fifth (1:32.01) fastest times nationally.
Brien McMahon -- Niko Petridis, Yvens Borno, Justin Frederick and Shnyden Pierre -- took first in the 4x200 relay. Pierre followed that up with a second place finish in the 300, with his time of 34.65 a new career best.
"It was a good day; we got first in the relay," Pierre said. "We didn't think we could do it. We were seeded 10th and we proved New England wrong. I was excited to PR in the 300."
Ridgefield's William Bordash took fourth in the 1-mile run 4:19.41.
In the girls 1000, Ridgefield's Laura Hergenrother (2:54.75) finished fourth while Erica Hefnawy (2:55.48) of Staples finished sixth.
Darien's Nick Lombardo finished third in the high jump (6-05.00). McMahon's Sarah Boyd finished fifth in the 55 hurdles. In the first event of the day, the New Milford 4x800 girls relay team of Hannah Tower, Sierra Grazia, Saige Grazia and Helen Bayers placed third (9:22.89).
The top six finishers from each event earned All-New England honors.