Staples, Darien girls finish 2nd, 3rd at State Open track
NEW HAVEN -- Prior to the season, the Darien girls indoor track team set its sights on the triple crown -- FCIAC, Class LL and State Open -- of championships for the second straight season.
On Monday afternoon at the Floyd Little Athletic Center at Hillhouse High School, the Blue Wave, winners of the FCIAC and Class LL titles, fell short of their third goal, and instead finished third (32.75) behind champion Wilbur Cross (46) and runner-up Staples (42.33).
"We're a little disappointed," said Darien's Dillon Schoen. "It was kind of an off day for some people and I think that's what sports are all about. You can't have your day every day and we had a really great season up to this meet."
The Wreckers actually held the lead going into the final event -- the 4x400 relay -- but the Governors' took first in the event to win the title.
"We really wanted to win, we set our eyes on winning it, but we are really happy with it," Staples coach Jesse McCray said. "We wanted to get first, but we can't deny the effort of our girls."
The 1600-meter race featured three of the top runners in the region in Wilbur Cross' Danae Rivers, Hannah DeBalsi of Staples and Westhill's Claire Howlett. The trio put on a phenomenal show, with Rivers passing DeBalsi late in the race. She held off a late charge from DeBalsi to claim the victory. Rivers' time of 4:52.29 was a new state record while DeBalsi (4:52.57) and Howlett (4:53.07) each posted personal bests.
"It was a great race, strong runners and great competition," Howlett said. "Having more people that can run that sub-5 (minute) level is a big deal and makes it for a more strategic race. .. I just didn't have enough."
Darien -- led by Anna Sulger and Schoen -- opened the meet with a win in the 4x200 relay (1:45.93), edging Bloomfield (1:46.05) while Danbury came in third (1:47.87). New Milford, which took fifth as a team with 20 points, (9:32.35) took first in the 4x800 relay.
Weston's Rhemi Toth finished second in the 1000 meter run (2:58.91), Ridgefield's Laura Hergenrother (2:59.2) was third and Staples' Erica Hefnawy finished fourth (3:00.00).
Staples' Tyler Scanlin (1:36.52) finished first in the 600 meter dash, using a late-race kick to edge Jenna Olander of Tolland (1:36.60). Katie Foley (1:36.89) of Trumbull finished third.
"(It feels) incredible," Scanlin said. "I think it was unexpected honestly. It felt so good at the end knowing that I had it. After the second lap knowing there was only one lap left, I just had to push through."
DeBalsi, who earned 18 points for the Wreckers, set an Open record with her victory in the 3200 (10:41.39), beating the previous record set in 2011 by 10 seconds.
Sarah Boyd of McMahon finished second in the 55 meter hurdles (8.55). Catherine Lacy of Darien finished second in the long jump (17-06.25).
Jenna Calandro won the pole vault (11-07) while Darien's Madeline Schneider finished second (11-00).
at Floyd Little Athletic Center, New Haven
Team scores: 1. Wilbur Cross 46, 2. Staples 43.33, 3. Darien 32.75, 4. Tolland 22, 5. (tie) Simsbury and New Milford 20, 7. South Windsor 18, 8. Windsor 15, 9. (tie) Haddam-Killingworth, Glastonbury and Weston 14, 12. Danbury 12, 13. (tie) Litchfield, East Hampton, Ledyard, Newtown, RHAM and East Haven 10, 19. Ridgefield 8.75, 20. (tie) McMahon, Sheehan, Bloomfield and Nonnewaug 8, 24. Amity 7, 25. (tie) SMSA, Trumbull, Immaculate, Westhill, Mercy and Shelton 6, 31. (tie) Hand and Hillhouse 5, 33. (tie) East Hartford an North Haven 4, 35. NFA 2.75, 36. (tie) East Winsdor and Sacred Heart Academy 2.33, 38. (tie) Hamden, New London, Cromwell, Conard, Wilton, Branford, Bacon Academy, East Lyme, Coginchaug, Fairfield Warde and Career 2, 49. Cheshire 1.75, 50. Griswold 1.
Winner in each event and regional finishers among top six
55 dash: 1. Chaslynn Saucier (Wilbur Cross) 7.14; 300: 1. Michele Otaluka (South Windsor) 40.17; 6. Anna Sulger (Darien) 41.34; 600: 1. Tyler Scanlin (Staples) 1:36.52; 3. Katie Foley (Trumbull) 1:36.89; 4. Anna Sulger (Darien) 1:37.13; 5. Meghan Dietter (New Milford) 1;39.14; 1000: 1. Christine Bendzinski (RHAM) 2:53.28; 2. Rhemi Toth (Weston) 2:58.91; 3. Laura Hergenrother (Ridgefield) 2:59.20; 4. Erica Hefnawy (Staples) 3:00.00; 1600: 1. Danae Rivers (Wilbur Cross) 4:52.29 (State Open record); 2. Hannah DeBalsi (Staples) 4:52.57; 3. Claire Howlett (Westhill) 4:53.07; 5. Cate Allen (Fairfield Warde) 4:59.47; 6. Jessica Wojnicki (Immaculate) 5:08.12; 3200: 1. Hannah DeBalsi (Staples) 10:41.39 (State Open record); 4. Jessica Wojnicki (Immaculate) 10:57.27; 6. Carly Schuyler (Immaculate) 11:07.47; 55 hurdles: 1. Chenoa Sebastian (Ledyard) 8.42; 2. Sarah Boyd (McMahon) 8.55; 4x200 relay: 1. Darien (Anna Sulger, Catherine Lacy, Madeleine Schneider, Dillon Schoen) 1:45.93; 3. Danbury (Jay'Yona Torres, Niema Riiley, Najmah James, Bridget Chiaravalle) 1:47.87; 4x400 relay: 1. Wilbur Cross 4:02.39; 2. New Milford (Hannah Tower, Helen Bayers, Sierra Grazia, Meghan Dietter) 4:05.11; 6. Staples (Olivia Wiener, Brynly Marsh, Erica Hefnawy, Tyler Scanlin) 4:08.10; 4x800 relay: 1. New Milford (Hannah Tower, Sierra Grazia, Saige Grazia, Helen Bayers) 9:32.35; 5. Wilton (Madison Peraino, Keiley Gaston, Anika Sheehan, Sarah Healy) 9:42.37; 6. Ridgefield (Hannah Fleming, Sarah Mickool, Kelsey Bordash, Laura Hergenrother) 9:43.18; 1600 sprint medley: 1. Wilbur Cross 4:09.26 (State Open record); 2. Staples (Olivia Weiner, Kathryn Lieder, Erica Hefnawy, Tyler Scanlin) 4:18.83; 3. Danbury (Sarah Krate, Niema Riley, Jay'Yona Torres, Bridget Chiaravalle) 4:22.84; high jump: 1. Hannah Cook (East Hampton) 5-2; 4. (tie) Bridget van Dorsten (Staples) J5-2; pole vault: 1. Jenna Calandro (Newtown) 12-0 (State Open record); 2. Madeleine Schneider (Darien) 11-6; 3. Jane Wall (Weston) 10-6; 4. (tie) Rachel Moroknek (Ridgefield) and Jessica Thornbury (Darien) 10-0; long jump: 1. Leah Pfrommer (Haddam-Killingworth) 18-0; 2. Catherine Lacy (Darien) 17-10.5; 3. Zoie Reed (Amity) 17-4.75; shot put: 1. Destiny Coward (East Haven) 39-5; 3. Samantha Bailey (Shelton( 28-5.5; 6. Allison Denny (Amity) 36-2.5.