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2014 High School Track & Field Previews

Published April 10. 2014 4:00AM   Updated April 21. 2014 8:59AM

BOYS

ECC Large

East Lyme

Coach: Steve Hargis (7th season).

Key returnees: Sr. Noah Hallisey (distances), Sr. Andrew Handfield (distances), So. Josh Leffingwel (hurdles, pole vault), Jr. Peter Wu (jumps, sprints), So. Vann Moffett (distances).

Top newcomers: Jr. Brandon Dinsmore (middle distances), Jr. Greg Atkinson (hurdles, sprints), Jr. Andrew Peitzsch (pole vault), So. Evan Tryon (sprints), Jr. Jared Ayers (jumps, sprints), Jr. Sam Whewell (jumps, sprints), So. Konstantinos Lanis (jumps), Jr. Tim LaDuca (sprints, jumps).

Outlook: With so many young, new athletes, the Vikings may not be able to challenge for the division title, but they sure will be competitive and Hargis is anxious to see how much improvement there is by the time East Lyme gets to the postseason. Dinsmore, who placed second in Class M and fifth in the State Open in the indoor 600, will make an immediate impact as will Atkinson in the sprints and hurdles.

Fitch

Coach: Rich Kosta (12th season).

Key returnees: Sr. Tyler Latham (hurdles, throws), Jr. Conor O'Donnell (distances), Sr. Devin Lehman (middle distances), So. Brian Robinson (throws), Jr. Josh Betancourt (sprints), Jr. Miggy Gamboa (sprints), Sr. Devante Anderson (throws).

Top newcomers: So. Daelon Morgan (middle distances), Sr. Zack Higgins (jumps, sprints), So. Patrick Scheurer (sprints), So. Owen Stanfield (sprints), Fr. Matt Kerst (middle distances), So. Issac Perez (pole vault).

Outlook: The Falcons (7-0) are coming off a memorable 2013 season that included a perfect run through the Large Division and a second-place finish in the Class L state meet. Fitch moves down to Class MM this season and hopes to contend again thanks to the return of a veteran cast that features Latham, who won the State Open 55-meter hurdles championship during the indoor season and remains one of the state's top javelin throwers. The Falcons are experienced in the throws, hurdles and relays, and Kosta loves Fitch's young talent in the sprints and throws.

Ledyard

Coach: Jose Sanabria (3rd season).

Key returnees: Sr. Joe Carter (sprints, jumps); Sr. Max Armstrong (distances), Sr. Joe Brooks (sprints), Sr. Brandon Chesnut (throws), Sr. Khary Childs (jumps), Sr. Parker Cronin (pole vault), Sr. Trey DeAndrade (distances), Sr. Nicholas Genova (throws), Sr. Troy Hedman (throws, pole vault, sprints), Sr. Jeremy Hintz-Valdez (pole vault), Sr. Ryan Johnson (pole vault), Sr. Justice Startz (sprints, hurdles), Jr. Bryce Hedman (distances), Jr. Micheal Lopes (jumps), So. Aaron Norcia (distances).

Top newcomers: Sr. Jeff Csisar (throws, sprints), Jr. Tanner Arnold (pole vaulter), Jr. Steven Boyd (pole vault), Jr. Zachary Jones (distances), Jr. Joaquin Watson-Lopez (sprints, jumps), Jr. Nick Monroe (distances), Jr. JoJo Schumaker (sprints, jumps), Jr. Tyler Woods (throws), So. Tannor Daggett (throws), So. Mike Liandri (throws), So. Ryan Lynch (sprints), So. Mitchell Hempstead (throws), So. Jeff Ohanlon (throws, hurdles), So. Josh Snow (distances), So. Rigel Wachtman (distances), So. Chris Hughes (distances), Fr. Emmanuel Deshields-Sanabria (sprints), Fr. Geraldson Winthrow (distances).

Outlook: A move to the powerful Large Division brings new challenges for Ledyard (6-1), which won the Medium Division title the last two seasons. The Colonels, however, have 19 returnees, a great deal of depth at the distances and in vaulting and a young group of sprinters and throwers led by senior standouts. Carter was the Class MM champion last season in the 100 (10.91 seconds) and 200 (22.04) and part of the winning 4x100 relay. Ledyard finished second overall at the ECC championship meet, trailing only Fitch.

NFA

Coach: Kara Kochanski-Vendola (1st season).

Key returnees: Sr. Jimmy Yuen, Sr. Niceforo Reyes, Sr. Kobe Amos, Jr. Andris Vital.

Top newcomers: Sr. Daniel Rojas, Sr. Jordan Martell, Sr. Eric Taylor, Jr. Logan Hansen, Jr. Will Strong, Jr. Norman Manning, So. Connor Gralton, So. Tyler Sholes, So. J'von Brown, Fr. Brandon Mehlinger.

Outlook: Kochanski-Vendola, the highly-successful girls' coach, takes over both programs this spring and must replace some elite athletes, including All-New England middle distance runner Kyle Liang. The Wildcats (6-1) do welcome Gralton, a transfer from St. Bernard who won the ECC cross country championship last fall, and expect big things from Sholes (distances), Vital (sprints) and Brown (throws).

ECC Medium

Montville

Coach: Tim Egan (20th season).

Key returnees: Sr. Dan Linkinhoker (distances), Sr. Kevin Fitzgerald (distances), Sr. Neil Schneeberg (distances), Sr. Justin Longton (sprints), Sr. Chase Lewis (pole vault), Jr. Jordane Virgo (hurdles).

Top newcomers: Jr. Tyler Quidgeon (sprints, throws), Fr. Nick Strickland (sprints, jumps), Fr. Jon McCray (jumps), Fr. Kevin Dixon-Griggs (jumps).

Outlook: The Indians (4-3) will lean heavily on their 10 seniors, particularly in the distance events, while Egan develops some of his young sprinters and throwers. That will determine how competitive Montville will be in a very tough division.

New London

Coach: Bob Castronova (5th season).

Key returnees: Sr. Orrin Parke (sprints), Sr. Jose Garcia (sprints), Sr. Nico Ramos (jumps, sprints), Sr. David Perry (throws), Jr. Xavier Jones (distances), Jr. J. Hunter Roman (throws), Jr. Jelani Lucas (hurdles/jumps).

Top newcomers: Sr. Stanley Ledoux (throws), Sr. Joel Velez (sprints), Jr. Robert Thomas (throws/distances), Jr. Kevin Shaw (sprints), Jr. Doug Foy (sprints), Jr. Juan Hernandez (middle distances), Jr. Mikey Commander (jumps), Jr. Pierre Laurent (hurdles), So. Roy Starks (sprints).

Outlook: New London's move from the Large Division to the Medium Division should help them be very competitive, as the Whalers (4-5-1) return a senior-laden team strong in the sprints and jumps. New London's 4x200 team won the Class M title indoors, with Parke, Garcia, Ramos and Dante Alston and Parke was second in the 55 meters and fourth in the 300. Castronova also likes the distance team with Hernandez and Jones.

Stonington

Coach: Ben Bowne (1st season).

Key returnees: Jr. Andrew Bourque (distances), Sr. Harry Calmar (sprints), Jr. Jason Curioso (sprints), Jr. Conor Feeney (sprints), So. Hunter Floyd (jumps), Jr. Bow Johnson (sprints), Jr. Ethan Murphy (sprints), Jr. Matt Prue (sprints), So. Lincoln Robinson (hurdles), So. Nick Robinson (distances), So. Jake Ryan (throws), Jr. Ulysses Sepulvelda (sprints), Sr. Frank Sternberg (distances), So. Kirean Thornell (distances), Sr. Divante White (sprints), So. Hansel Hartmann (throws).

Top newcomers: Sr. Jack DiPollino (multiple events), Jr. Matt Mitchell (sprints, jumps), So. Grant Mueller (throws), Fr. Dmitri Van Duine (throws), Fr. Sam Williamson (sprints).

Outlook: The Bears are talented and deep (35 athletes) in all areas, and Bowne expects to challenge for Medium Division honors, with the team moving up from the Small Division. That depth will also allow Stonington to become a threat in the relay events.

Waterford

Coach: Mike Ellis (8th season).

Key returnees: Sr. Julio Gil-Martinez (sprints, relays), Sr. Bishme Sheppard (sprints, relays), Sr. Matt Labrecque (distances, relays), Jr. Daniel Clark (distances, relays), Jr. James Keth (hurdles), Jr. Caleb Harris (distances, relays), Jr. Tony Jenne (hurdles, middle distances, relays), Sr. Dan Haggan (jumps), Jr. Alex Athenian (throws).

Top newcomers: Jr. Malik Lewis (hurdles, jumps, relays), So. Matt Patton (high jump), So. Roland Rivera (jumps, relays), Sr. Kacey Severin (throws), So. Haoda He (distances, relays), Fr. Connor Chung (jumps).

Outlook: The Lancers (2-6) return two dominant sprinters in Gil-Martinez and Sheppard, while Lewis and Rivera will join them on what should be a potent 4x100 relay team. Gil-Martinez is coming off an impressive winter season that included winning the State Open title in the 55-meter dash. Waterford has much more depth in the distance events (Ellis has a promising freshman in He) while Athenian and Severin will be key in the throwing events.

ECC Small

St. Bernard

Coach: Bill Schwarzenbach (1st season).

Key returnees: So. James Rose (distances), Jr. Jonathan Cabral (middle distances, jumps), Cavin Farley (throws), Sr. Charles Rose (middle distances, pole vault), Jr. Jon Burniak (distances), Jr. Gabriel Britos-Swain (middle distances).

Top newcomers: Fr. Ben Ellery (sprints), Fr. Sam Britner (middle distances), So. Christian Hird (middle distances), Fr. Carter Wallace (middle distances), Fr. John Butler (sprints).

Outlook: The Saints (2-5) have only one senior (Charles Rose) and don't have great depth, but there is certainly plenty of quality, starting with James Rose and Cabral, who had strong indoor seasons. Burniak and Britos-Swain will play key roles in the relays and Farley will be relied upon to score in all three throws.

Others

Old Lyme

Coach: Aron D'Aquila (9th season).

Key returnees: Sr. Cole McKnight (middle distances), Sr. Stuart Ross (middle distances), Sr. Jeff Davis (middle distances), Sr. Peter Hine (hurdles, sprints), Jr. Jared Stanland (throws), Sr. Chase Sielbeck (throws), Sr. John Freer (throws).

Top newcomers: Sr. Jack Castonguay (middle distances).

Outlook: The Wildcats won the Shoreline Conference indoor championship and expect to contend outdoors, too, especially with their talent and depth in the middle and long distances. D'Aquila says Old Lyme has some promising freshmen and he welcomes back Stanland, who set a school record in the discus as a sophomore last season.

GIRLS

ECC Large

Fitch

Coach: Shawn Towne (24th season).

Key returnees: Sr. Hannah Finton (sprints), Jr. Alana Olendorf (distances), Jr. Sonnorah Simmonds (throws), So. Sydney Spruill (jumps), So. Alicia Moroyoqui (distances).

Top newcomers: Fr. Caroline Parker (distances), Fr. Veronica Foster (throws).

Outlook: It will be difficult for the Falcons (5-2) to compete in the Large Division along with the elite programs at NFA and East Lyme, Towne said, but the they hope to challenge. Fitch, however, is coming off an ECC cross country championship, with Olendorf and Moroyoqui earning All-ECC honorable mention status, and should be strong in the distance events.

Ledyard

Coach: Dave Tetlow (41st season).

Key returnees: Sr. Ari Fustini (jumps, javelin), Sr. Jordan Houdeshell (distances), Sr. Alix Lee (sprints), Sr. Lauren Scahill (distances), Sr. Chenoa Sebastian (hurdles, sprints), Jr. Jessica Burger (sprints), Jr. Madison Canestrari (jumps), Jr. Emme Cronin (distance), Jr. Samantha Grabbe (sprints), So. Hanna Arnold (pole vault), So. Olivia Holubecki (middle distances, jumps).

Top newcomers: Sr. Coline DeFilippis (jumps), Sr. Olivia DelGrosso (sprints), Sr. Korianne Hillyer-Timmerman (throws), Stefanie Wegiel (sprints), So. Asia Greer (jumps), So. Aly Monroe (400), So. Maddie Patt (jumps), So. Alyssa Samson (sprints, relays), Fr. Sanai Carter (sprints, relays), Fr. Alex Houdeshell (middle distances), Fr. Kayla Kassim (sprints), Fr. Aiyahny Richardson (sprints).

Outlook: The Colonels, second to Plainfield in the Medium Division a year ago, move up to the Large Division and hope to challenge East Lyme and NFA for top honors. Sebastian is the state's best hurdler, winning the State Open 55-meter hurdle event this winter, and Ledyard (5-2 overall) has quality depth in almost every event. Tetlow said the Colonels' other goals are a top five finish in the Class M meet and a top 10 finish in the State Open.

NFA

Coach: Kara Kochanski-Vendola (13th season).

Key returnees: Jr. Olivia Lane, Sr. Shania Homiski, Sr. Taylor Driggers, Jr. Lauren Knerr, Sr. Camille McKenzie, Sr. Nicole Loughlin, Sr. Charlotte VanSambeck, Jr. Aly Field, Sr. Gabbi Wise, So. Ally Briggs, Sr. Sabrina Rickey, Sr. MiaLynne Park, Jr. Amy Chasse.

Top newcomers: Fr. Mackenzie Burke, Fr. Madison Guertin, Fr. Margaret Lewerk, Fr. Lindsay Sylvia, Fr. Kelsie Hall, Jr. Legend Lemon, Sr. Alyssa Velles, Jr. Jennifer Sanon.

Outlook: The Wildcats graduated some dynamic scorers from last year's Class LL championship team in Brianna Lenehan, Dyshelle Pemberton, Erin Schaeffer and Brittany Grabill, but a wealth of talent returns and as always, depth is never a concern for NFA, which remains one of the state's elite programs. Kochanski-Vendola, who expects a challenge from East Lyme in the division, also can't wait to see how some talented newcomers develop. NFA was 7-0 overall last year, winning the Large Division and the overall ECC crown.

ECC Medium

Montville

Coach: Joel Finnegan (11th season).

Key returnees: Sr. Abigal McAdams (distances, high jump), Sr. Kelley Kloner (pole vault, discus), Jr. Caitlin Turney (sprints, hurdles), Jr. Nadia Dallas (sprints), Jr. Ashley Kolasa (sprints), Jr. Laura Commons (distances), Jr. Hannah Marchini (distances), Jr. Lauren Netopski (throws), Jr. Kiah Stickland (hurdles, javelin), Jr. Tavahnee West (sprints), Jr. Sabrina Williams (throws), So. Abigail Baukas (distances), So. Naomi Clark (jumps, javelin), So. Suzie Fitzgerald (distances), So. Ying Zi Huang (jumps).

Top newcomers: Fr. Maddy Campbell (throws, jumps), Fr. Brooke LaVallie (sprints), Fr. Molly Podeszwa (throws).

Outlook: The Indians (5-2) hope to find strength in numbers (nearly 40 athletes are competing) and with the leadership of the junior and senior classes led by captains McAdams and Turney. McAdams excels in the distance races and is one of the ECC's top high jumpers, Strickland already holds school records in both hurdle events and Dallas has potential to become a quality sprinter and jumper for Montville, which should be in the thick of the division race.

New London

Coach: Jenna Ross (1st season).

Key returnees: Sr. Francine Jacqué (sprints), Sr. Mercedes Santos (jumps, sprints), Jr. Alyssa Manso (sprints), Jr. Phoenix Mitchell (sprints), Jr. Enna Pierce (distances), Jr. Mykell Jefferson (distances), Jr. Taiana St. Hillaire (hurdles/middle distances), Jr. Janeesa Green (throws).

Top newcomers: Jr. Nishante Pearson (throws), So. Rebecca Weigel (distance), So. Audrey Waterman (distance), So. Mia Santana (sprints), So. Alyse Cornish (sprints), So. Brianna Jones (distance).

Outlook: Being back in the ECC Medium Division, New London (1-7, 0-5 in the Large Division) will be more competitive in dual meets, fielding an experienced team with a good mix of upperclassmen and younger performers. Jacqué, who has given a verbal commitment to compete next year at Division I Quinnipiac University, returns as Class M champ in the 100, 200 and 400 meters. Santana was also a state qualifier in the 100 and 200 last year and the Whalers distance group should be competitive, as well. Ross, who teaches in New London, formerly coached at Stonington.

Stonington

Coach: Jeff Parkinson (1st season).

Key returnees: Sr. Sophie Moore (sprints, hurdles), Sr. Christina Connors (throws), Sr. Stephanie Stearns (distances), Jr. Molly Crowley (middle distances), Jr. Jamie Costa (sprints, jumps), Jr. Kenna McWilliams (sprints), Jr. Kaeli Novak (sprints), Jr. Kayla Spaulding (sprints), Jr. Emily Stajduhar (throws), So. Sienna Gray (distances), Jr. Caralyn Granato (distances), Jr. Antonia Reynolds (distances), Jr. Hannah Lyon (distances).

Top newcomers: Jr. Ali Cullen (sprints), So. Alexandra Pratt (sprints, jumps), Jr. Meg Rolfe (sprints), Jr. Clare Schlink (throws), Jr. Gabby Sylvia (sprints), Jr. Katlyn Whipple (sprints), So. Elise Hoysman (distances).

Outlook: Parkinson, who formally coached at Plainfield, is familiar with the ECC and sees the Bears as major threat to win the Medium Division, despite moving up from the ECC Small. Stonington (4-3) has more than 30 athletes competing, so depth should be better in dual meets. McWilliams, Novak and Rolfe were All-ECC performers during the indoor season, so the sprints should be a strength, while Crowley leads the distance group, Stadjuhar is the most experienced thrower and Pratt broke the school indoor record in the long jump.

Waterford

Coach: Mike Ellis (8th season).

Key returnees: Sr. Savonnah Artis (sprints, jumps, relays), Sr. Olivia Bueno (middle distances, jumps, relays), Jr. Emma Biltcliffe (high jump, relays), Jr. Makayla Andrews (high jump), Jr. Emily Pyka (distances), So. Kelly O'Connor (distances, relays), Jr. Megan O'Connor (distances, relays), So. Jeannette Mooney (distances, relays), Jr. Taylor Alexander (high jump).

Top newcomers: Fr. Lia Scala (hurdles), Fr. Carissa Aekins (sprints, relays), Fr. Isabella Jenne (throws).

Outlook: The Lancers (0-8) will rely on a deep and talented group of sprinters and distance runners to be competitive in the division. Artis, Bueno and Biltcliffe provide experience and Aekins and Scala are promising freshmen. Mooney is one of the top young distance runners in the region while depth will be provided by Pyka and the O'Connor sisters.

ECC Small

St. Bernard

Coach: Susan Griffin (7th season).

Key returnees: Sr. McKenzie Nagy (sprints), Sr. Allison Regan (sprints, jumps), Jr. Erica Massad (sprints, jumps), Jr. Heather Wallace (middle distances), So. Hattie Grant (middle distances, hurdles), So. Courtney Roast (sprints, throws).

Top newcomers: So. Raquelle Querido (throws), So. Sherry Sun (throws), Fr. Ellen Arvidson (distance), Fr. Caitlyn Dittman (throws), Fr. Autumn Kane (middle distance).

Outlook: Griffin expects major contributions and leadership from Nagy, Regan and Massad, who will form three-quarters of the 4x100 relay which she expects to qualify for the Class S championship. Freshman Wallace and Arvidson will bolster the middle distance events for the Saints (1-6) and while Querido, Sun and Dittman are all novices in the throwing events, they are talented and will provide depth.

Others

Old Lyme

Coach: Aron D'Aquila (9th season).

Key returnees: Sr. Abigail Guitar (middle distances), Jr. Megan Burn (sprints), So. Samantha Lee (hurdles, sprints).

Outlook: Numbers are a challenge for the Wildcats, who hope to develop some depth and be more competitive as the Shoreline Conference season progresses.

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