Groton - Generally, when Fitch coach Rich Kosta is charged with overseeing a track or cross country meet, he uses a golf cart to get around a bit more expeditiously.
Late Saturday afternoon, Kosta had his golf cart hijacked.
As members of the Fitch High School boys' track and field team waited for the final scores of the Eastern Connecticut Conference championship to be read, a few members sat in the cart. The rest gathered around it. Kosta stood close by.
And finally, the news was official.
Fitch won its first ECC title since 2009, scoring 128.5 points to dethrone two-time defending champion Norwich Free Academy, which finished with 91.
Fitch also defeated NFA in a dual meet on May 8, 77-73, to end the Wildcats' three-year reign in the ECC Large Division.
"It's huge," said Fitch junior Lexus Gordon, who won the long jump with a personal best distance of 21 feet, 6.5 inches. "To beat them twice in one season, it's like a dream come true.
"It's a huge rivalry. They have numbers. They have great athletes. Right now, everything's real hard to believe."
Freshman CJ Alumbres added a victory for Fitch in the triple jump (43-2).
In a highly competitive meet, Bacon Academy's Spencer Dimock (shot put, discus) and Killingly's Alex Mayo (100, 200) were double-winners, while a group of five football players/sprinters led Waterford to impressive wins in the 4x100-meter and 4x400 relays. The Lancers' team of Y-Kim Sheppard, Dakota Jones, Bishme Sheppard and Chris Jones tied the meet record in the 4x100 with a time of 43.35 seconds.
Ledyard was third in the team standings with 75 points, followed by Griswold (61) and East Lyme (58).
"We had momentum going in," said Kosta of whether he thought Fitch could pull off a second win over NFA in a championship setting. "Everybody was prepared. As soon as the last meet was over, we immediately started thinking about this meet."
During the dual meet, NFA hurdler Chase Guillemette was injured during a race and has been sidelined since. Meanwhile, Fitch outscored the Wildcats 48-15 in the field events to come from behind for the victory.
In that meet, NFA's Andrew Weiler and Dan Cardin ran three races each and excelled. That's something NFA coach Jemal Davis chose not to do in Saturday's meet, running Cardin only in the 1,600 and Weiler in the 800 and 4x400.
"A kid should have a chance to know, what would his best time be if he just ran one event?" Davis said. "You only have so many good races in you; are you going to use them all up in two weeks?
"With (Fitch's) overall depth, it's just difficult to overcome without having our kids double and triple. We didn't want to do that this time around."
Cardin won the 1,600 in 4:28.48, sprinting to the lead and holding on to beat Griswold's Mark Mackin. Weiler won the 800 in 1:57.48 and teammate Kyle Liang was second. The 4x800 team of Liang, Weiler, Zach Wesolek and Joe Trahan was second. Wesolek was the pole vault champion at 13-6.
Waterford, in addition to its 4x100 victory, got a 4x400 win from Y-Kim and Bishme Sheppard, Chris Jones and Julio Gil in 3:29.36.
"We let them know that in order to perform well, they had to practice harder than all their opponents. They did that," said Waterford coach Mike Ellis, also the Lancers' football coach. "They had a good week and a half to prepare for it. All the teams are fast, so the difference is in the start and the handoffs. They work hard together; they work well together."
Other local individual winners were New London's Jevon Elmore in the 400, Griswold's Mackin in the 3,200, Montville's Brandon Johnson in the 110 hurdles, Griswold's Brian Beckwith in the 300 hurdles and East Lyme's Kevin Foster in the javelin. East Lyme's Jon Combies, Bobby Dees, Scott Butler and Jeff Schumacher teamed to win the 4x800.