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2013 High school track and field preview

Published April 04. 2013 4:00AM
Tim Martin/The Day
Fitch senior Lexus Gordon returns as one of the top field event performers in the Eastern Connecticut Conference.

BOYS

ECC Large

EAST LYME

Coach: Steve Hargis (5th season).

Key returnees: Sr. Kevin Foster, Sr. Dan Gage, Sr. Nolan Perron, Sr. Scott Butler, Sr. Jon Combies, Sr. Tim Myers, Jr. Kevin Kwon, Jr. Eric Stirtan.

Top newcomers: Sr. Ben Ostrowski, Sr. George Sisson.

Outlook: Few, if any, teams can boast a newcomer of Ostrowski's all-state caliber. He trades his baseball glove for track shoes this spring after winning the State Open 600 meters title in indoor track. The Vikings are looking to be competitive in the Large Division while mixing in a lot of young athletes. They will have to adjust their training and competition schedule, as the new track at East Lyme High is not yet ready.

FITCH

Coach: Rich Kosta (35th season).

Key returnees: Sr. Randall Rissing, Sr. Luis Crisostomo, Sr. Johnny Diep, Sr. Eric Powers, Sr. Andrew Perez, Sr. Marquis Guess, Sr. Chris Bond, Sr. Lexus Gordon, Sr. Clifford Randolf, Jr. Tyler Latham, Jr. Lake Wyld, Jr. Frank Norosky.

Top newcomers: Sr. Mustapha Noibi, Sr. Patrick Kirkwood, Jr. Devin Lehman, So. Conor O'Donnell.

Outlook: Last year's regular-season title in the ECC Large came down to the final event in a dual meet with NFA and Fitch swept the high jump behind Gordon to take its first regular-season crown since 2008. Fitch (7-0) then won the ECC championship meet and kept its momentum by winning the indoor track title, as well. Kosta hopes to keep that going. "The team looks strong in the jumps, relays, hurdles and pole vault, with many experienced athletes in those events," Kosta said. Fitch was second in Class L last year and Latham is the reigning State Open javelin champion (177-2).

NEW LONDON

Coach: Bob Castronova (4th season).

Key returnees: Sr. Dacoda Queenan, Sr. Olajuwan Chau, Sr. Brayan Mora, Sr. Alex Devaux, Jr. Orrin Parke, Jr. Nico Ramos, Jr. David Perry, Jr. Jose Garcia, So. Jelani Lucas.

Top newcomers: Sr. Caleb Camacho, Sr. Sam Miranda, Sr. George Kutrolli, So. Doug Foy, So. Xavier Jones, So. Robert Thomas.

Outlook: Parke was the ECC Large Division's 55-meter dash champion in indoor track, Nico Ramos took the high jump and the pair combined to lead the Whalers' 4x180 relay team to a victory, as well. Castronova's team finished in the top 10 in Class MM last season and will look to be there again.

NFA

Coach: Chad Johnson (1st season).

Key returnees: Kyle Liang, Martin Lewerk, Joe Trahan, Kobe Amos, Chris Byars, Taylor Davidson, Dustin Plourde.

Top newcomers: Casey Huang, Niceforo Reyes, Tyler Sholes.

Outlook: The distance group took a big hit with the loss of Andrew Weiler, Derek French and Dan Cardin, but still has Liang, the ECC cross country champion. Liang also joined Lewerk, Trahan and Kobe Amos to win the State Open title in the sprint medley relay during indoor season. The throwing events will be led by Byars (Class LL shot put champ indoors), but depth is in great need. NFA will need to improve in jumps if it is going to dethrone Fitch. Johnson replaces Jemal Davis as head coach.

ECC Medium

LEDYARD

Coach: Jose Sanabria (2nd season).

Key returnees: Sr. Ben Bruciati, Sr. Alex Hintz-Valdez, Sr. Alex Paterson, Sr. Anthony Saccone, Sr. Steven Servedio, Sr. Tyler Torelli, Sr. Christof Wegiel, Sr. Kyle Wilson, Sr. Alex Hillyer, Sr. Dru Mihalku, Sr. Alex Hillyer, Sr. Steve Liandri, Jr. Max Armstrong, Jr. Joseph Carter, Jr. Brandon Chestnut, Jr. Parker Cronin, Jr. Trey De Andrade, Jr. Nicholas Genova, Jr. Tyler Harlow, Jr. Troy Hedman, Jr. Jeremy Hintz-Valdez, Jr. Ryan Johnson, Jr. Kevin McCarthy, Jr. Mitchell Nixon, So. Walter Factor, So. Bryce Hedman, So. Michael Lopes, So. Chris Reuter.

Top newcomers: Jr. Khary Childs.

Outlook: Ledyard went undefeated to win the Medium Division last year and Sanabria has an interesting take on his teams goals for this season, saying the Colonels are "working hard to make their best better." Carter and Paterson were one-two in the Class M 300 meters during the indoor season and Carter went on to win the State Open title, meanwhile Sanabria's team has a great deal of balance in other events, as well. He would like to see the team repeat in the division and place near the top of the Class MM championship meet.

MONTVILLE

Coach: Tim Egan (19th season).

Key returnees: Sr. Jesse Joseph, Sr. Aaron Sheldon, Sr. Joe Rainville, Sr. Nakosi Hunter, Sr. Isak Tibbets, Jr. Dan Linkinhoker, Jr. Neil Schneeberg, Jr. Kevin Fitzgerald, So. Jordane Virgo.

Top newcomers: Sr. Brandon Robertson, Sr. Connor Lewis, Jr. Gabe Diaz, Jr. Justin Loughton.

Outlook: Montville will rely on a strong distance team and a nice deep group of long sprinters. The Indians will need to develop their throwers and jumpers to be a strong dual meet team. Every week will be a challenge, according to Egan.

WATERFORD

Coach: Mike Ellis (7th season).

Key returnees: Sr. Chris Jones, Sr. Jordan Jones, Sr. Nick Petrizzi, Sr. Edwin Flores, Sr. Anthony McLaughlin-Lawrence, Sr. Ellis Massiah, Jr. Julio Gil-Martinez, Jr. Bishme Sheppard, Jr. Matt Labrecque, So. Daniel Clark, So. James Keth.

Top newcomers: So. Caleb Harris, So. Tony Jenne, Fr. Dylan Abate, Fr. Robin Smith.

Outlook: In losing Y-Kim Sheppard amd Dakota Jones to graduation, the Lancers lost half of their 4x100 team which finished third in New England a year ago. Chris Jones and Bishme Sheppard return from that team, however, and with the addition of Jordan Jones, who is also a top hurdler, the relay should remain competitive. Petrizzi is a strong jumper and Clark will lead a young group of distance runners.

ECC Small

ST. BERNARD

Coach: Brad Columbus (4th season).

Key returnees: Sr. Alex Davis, Sr. Joey Ferrarro, Jr. Charles Rose, Jr. Caleb Grace, So. Logan Lacriox, So. Jon Burnianek.

Top newcomers: Jr. Joseph Stallcop, So. Johnathan Cabral, Fr. James Rose, Fr. Cavin Farley, Fr. Gabe Britos Swain, Fr. Matt Murphy.

Outlook: Davis, Ferraro and Charlie Rose, all members of St. Bernard's ECC Small champion boys' cross country team in the fall, will provide leadership as the Saints continue to build their program. James Rose, also on that cross country team, could be in the mix as one of the top distance runners in the ECC, according to Columbus.

Others

GRASSO TECH

Coach: Jeremy Beebe (6th season).

Key returnees: Zach Rand, Conrad Beebe, David Mason, Alex Cooper, Mack Foster, John Woodard, Connor Jackson.

Top newcomers: Alex DaSilva, Jose Garcia, Joseph Chamberlin, Austin Vandevender.

Outlook: It is too early to forecast what lies ahead for the Eagles, but Beebe looks forward to some strong individual efforts this season. With a bit of hard work, Grasso should perform well in its league.

OLD LYME

Coach: Steve Bushnell (19th season).

Key returnees: Sr. James Cromarty, Sr. Ricky Harrison, Jr. Jeff Davis, Jr. Cole McKnight, Jr. Peter Hine.

Top newcomers: Jr. Stuart Ross, Fr. Tom Roth, Fr. Nate Peduzzi.

Outlook: It's a young team looking to create a foundation for the future, following the loss Nick Walker, VJ Marafito and Pat Wilczynski, all part of the Wildcats' record-setting Class S state champion 4x800 relay team last season. Old Lyme's athletes will be competitive individually, but depth is a concern. Bushnell said the weight events are on the upswing.

GIRLS

ECC Large

EAST LYME

Coach: Carl Reichard (25th season).

Key returnees: Sr. Eva Christensen, Sr. Jessie Kenny, Sr. Megan Stoddard, Sr. Piper Hays, Sr. Devin Perez, Sr. Jaimee Szupiany, Sr. Emilie Farrugia, Sr. Kaitlyn Kuvalanka, Sr. Emily Ennis, Jr. Chelsea Stevens, Jr. Janelle Wheaton, Jr. Jenna Schumacher, So. Gianna Folz, So. Caroline Thiede.

Top newcomers: Jr. Hannah Stiles, Jr. Kelsey Shukis, Fr. Kirsten Thompson, Fr. Cassidy Abdeen, Fr. Hannah LeBeau, Fr. Kristen Foster.

Outlook: NFA has held the advantage in the ECC Large Division the last few seasons, but Reichard said his team (6-1, 4-1) has worked hard to close that gap, as well as to be competitive at the state level. During indoor track season, Christensen was the ECC champ in the 3,200 meters and Folz won the 55 hurdles.

NEW LONDON

Coach: Ben Bowne (1st season).

Key returnees: Mercedes Santos, Francine Jacque, Alyssa Manso, Phoenix Mitchell, Taina St. Hillaire, Asia Jefferson.

Top newcomers: Mia Santana, Olivia Santana, Rebecca Weigel, Brianna Jones, Mykell Jefferson.

Outlook: The numbers in this program just keep growing, as Bowne takes over as head coach. Santos was the Class M high jump champion indoors with a leap of 5-2 and Jacque was fourth in the state in the 55 dash. The Whalers are hoping to carry that over to spring, as they vie to make themselves heard in Class M.

NFA

Coach: Kara Kochanski-Vendola (10th season).

Key returnees: Sr. Brianna Lenehan, Sr. Katherine Gabriele, Sr. Brittany Grabill, Sr. Katherine Beasley, Sr. Dyshelle Pemberton, Sr. Erin Schaeffer, Sr. Gabrielle Wise, Jr. Shania Homski, Jr. Taylor Driggers, Jr. Camille McKenzie, Jr. MiaLynne Park, Jr. Sabrina Rickey, Jr. Charlotte VanSambeck, So. Alyssa Field, So. Lauren Knerr, So. Olivia Lane, So. Evelyn Cournoyer, So. Julia Roderick.

Top newcomers: Fr. Jennifer Grabill, Fr. Taylor Smith, Fr. Ally Briggs, Fr. Reide Jacksin.

Outlook: For starters, the Wildcats (7-0, 5-0) are coming off a Class LL championship season in indoor track that ended with the sprint medley relay team of Lenehan, Park, McKenzie and Pemberton finishing second in the nation and earning All-America honors. That should serve as momentum as Kochanski-Vendola's team fills in for the losses from last year's outdoor team, which also won the LL state title. "The team will feel the effects of losing a number of seniors, but should have enough depth to be competitive in the ECC Large and at the state level," the coach said.

ECC Medium

LEDYARD

Coach: Dave Tetlow (41st season).

Key returnees: Sr. Shannon Lozier, Sr. Laurel Holubecki, Sr. Halle Lehner, Sr. Kylie Fustini, Sr. Sam Boyd, Sr. Minnie Zhang, Sr. Debra Ladoja, Jr. Ari Fustini, Jr. Austin Graber, Jr. Alix Lee, Jr. Lauren Scahill, Jr. Chenoa Sebastian, Jr. Jordan Houdeshell, So. Jessica Burger, So. Samantha Grabbe, So. Madison Canestrari, So. Carly Loy.

Top newcomers: Jr. Allison Sinnett, Fr. Olivia Holubecki, Fr. Cassy Coates, Fr. Hannah Arnold, Fr. Rosana Joseph.

Outlook: Fustini's Class MM title in the discus paced the Colonels to a second-place team finish last season and Tetlow is looking for a repeat of that. With this amount of talent - Sebastian was the State Open hurdles champion indoors, for example - the coach even lists a top-10 finish in the State Open as one of the Colonels' goals.

MONTVILLE

Coach: Joel Finnegan (11th season).

Key returnees: Sr. Natalie Bowens, Sr. Sonja Campbell, Jr. Abby McAdams, Jr. Cassidy Bundy, Jr. Kelly Kloner, So. Kiah Strickland, So. Caitlin Turney.

Top newcomers: So. Hannah Marchini, Fr. Naomi Clark, Fr. Suzie Fitzgerald, Fr. Sabrina Gennotti.

Outlook: The Day's All-Area Athlete of the Year, Shatajah Wattely, graduated, leaving the Indians just five returning juniors and seniors. Returning, however, are two of the area's top athletes, including Bowens (ECC long jump and triple jump champ) and Campbell (ECC shot put champ). A lack of depth may hurt Montville in dual meets, but Finnegan's team is hoping to follow up on last year's third-place finish in Class M with another strong showing.

WATERFORD

Coach: Mike Ellis (7th season).

Key returnees: Sr. Christine Bueno, Sr. Danielle Lankerd, Sr. Sara-Caitrin Mandelburg, Sr. Mary Koller, Sr. Rebecca Gregoire, Sr. Crystal Mitchell, Jr. Savonnah Artis, Jr. Olivia Bueno, So. Emma Biltcliffe, So. Makayla Andrews.

Top newcomers: So. Jennifer Kohl, So. Emma Radack, So. Emily Pyka, Fr. Jeannette Mooney.

Outlook: Mandelburg, a state qualifier each of the last two years, will lead a young group of distance runners which includes newcomers Kohl, Mooney Pyka. Artis returns as a top sprinter in the 100, 200 and 400 and will be helped in the 200 and 400 by Koller. Christine and Olivia Bueno will solidify the jumps and Lankerd will anchor the hurdles.

ECC Small

ST. BERNARD

Coach: Sue Griffin (3rd season).

Key returnees: Jr. Allison Regan, So. Heather Wallace, So. Erica Massad.

Top newcomers: Jr. Stephanie Babb, Fr. Courtney Rose, Fr. Hattie Grant.

Outlook: Regan is a factor in the long jump, triple jump and 100 meters for the Saints, leading a core group that returns from a year ago. Wallace will be competitive in the 800, while Massad (jumps and sprints) looks to improve on a strong freshman season.

STONINGTON

Coach: Jenna Ross (5th season).

Key returnees: Sr. Sophie Moore, Sr. Stephanie Stearns, Jr. Christina Connor, Jr. Selena Perry, So. Antonia Reynolds, So. Molly Crowley.

Top newcomers: So. Caralyn Granato, Fr. Kenna McWilliams, Fr. Tatiyana LaFrance Boyce, Fr. Abigail Contino.

Outlook: The Bears add some young talent in the sprints, including McWilliams, who helped them to a 4x360 relay victory at the ECC Small/Medium Division indoor track meet, and LaFrance Boyce, who was a member of the Bears' girls' basketball team. That gives Stonington added balance. "As a coach, I am excited to see how well these girls can do," Ross said. Moore was second in the 600 at the ECC indoor meet.

Others

GRASSO TECH

Coach: Heidi DeCosta (1st season).

Key returnees: Sr. Catrina Nowakowski, Sr. Christine Murray, Jr. Megan Covey, So. Jen Martin, So. Miranda Murray.

Top newcomers: Fr. Brittany Davis.

Outlook: DeCosta, who also coaches the girls' soccer team, takes over the track program. While the team lacks depth, DeCosta feels a solid group of returnees could get the Eagles a top three finish in the Constitution State Conference.

OLD LYME

Coach: Aron D'Aquila (8th season).

Key returnees: Sr. Ally McCarthy, Jr. Abby Guitar, Alison Scott, So. Kris Olson.

Top newcomers: Jr. Kaleigh Reynolds, So. Megan Burns, Fr. Samantha Lee.

Outlook: Scott was the Shoreline's 300- and 600-meter champion indoors and Guitar was fourth in the 3,200. While Old Lyme will compete individually, however, it will be tough for the Wildcats as a team because of their youth and lack of numbers.

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