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Article Published July 21, 2019
Guilford Boys’ Track Puts the Pieces in Place for a Bright Future
John Lecardo, Sports Writer

The Guilford boys’ outdoor track team came into 2019 looking to create a culture of competitiveness that could fuel the Indians’ fire toward greater accomplishments moving forward. Looking back on the campaign, Head Coach George Cooksey said that his athletes should feel plenty of pride, because they grew a lot as the year went on, while gaining a great deal of respect from coaches and colleagues in the Southern Connecticut Conference.

“We were a young team, and we started out the year kind of showing our youth, but we developed solid athletes who competed well,” said Cooksey. “I had some North Haven coaches come up to me after meets and say they thought this was the most complete team they’ve seen in Guilford, and I was so happy about that. We had a solid group of athletes that performed well. We developed athletes that can compete in every event.

Will Dinauer and Connor Rose piloted the young Indians into action as the team’s senior captains this season. Joining them in Guilford’s senior class were Elijah Dillon, Mark McNamara, Bailey Meyers, Uziah Newsome, James Petritz, Mark Salib, Oscar Scott, Connor Sullivan, and Joe Walters.

“Connor and Will both made it to states. They were exemplary leaders with their performances and attitudes,” Cooksey said. “They were great leaders.”

Throughout the ups and downs, the Indians turned in plenty of proud performances during both the regular-season and the postseason meets this season. This included a few athletes who reached new milestones.

“On the pole vault, Mark Salib cleared 11 feet, which was outstanding. He worked hard and focused on it going back to the indoor track season. He was a great scorer in the bigger meets,” Coach Cooksey said. “The 4x400 and 4x800 relay teams improved dramatically in their showings. We had a bunch of guys who got more competitive when it came to scoring at the varsity level.”

Dillon was named the Guilford’s Most Valuable Player for the track events, while Rose received that honor for the Indians in the field. Sailb took home the Coaches’ Award, junior Jacob Shriffrin was named the Most Improved Player, and Dinauer and Rose shared the Captain’s Award.

Coach Cooksey feels glad that many of Guilford’s burgeoning competitors are returning to the fold next spring, when the Indians will be continuing their mission to become a factor within the SCC and state ranks for the foreseeable future.

“We will be solid next year,” said Cooksey. “Ben Crair is a distance runner and will be a captain next year. Cameron Hubbard and McKendry Eschinger are great competitors and will be the core of our relays. Ian Rose is solid in the discus and shot put. Jacob Shriffrin and Justin Shriffrin will make some waves. Jaylen Dolmus shows promise. We have a bunch of young guys coming up, so we should be solid overall next year.”

From the Sidelines

This was George Cooksey’s third season as the head coach for the Indians. James Petritz and Stephanie Phillips were Guilford’s assistant coaches.

At the Class MM State Championship, Connor Rose came in fifth place for the discus with a toss of 120 feet-2 inches for Guilford. The Indians’ 4x800 relay of McKendry Eschinger, Thomas Gregory, Griffin Hughes, and Will Dinauer placed sixth in a time of 8:26.31. Guilford’s 4x400 relay of Eschinger, Cameron Hubbard, Gregory, and Joe Walters tied for eighth place with a time of 3:33.62.

Rose also competed on behalf of the Indians in the CIAC Hammer Throw that was held at Manchester High School on June 12. Rose recorded a throw of 102 feet-9 inches to finish in 10th place at the meet.

During the postseason, Guilford finished in 10th place at the SCC East Sectional Championship, came in 17th place in the SCC Championship, and finished in 22nd place at the Class MM State Championship.