NEW HAVEN — Last year was a banner year for area SCC track teams when it came to the East Sectional championship meets.
Lyman Hall won the boys indoor crown in the winter. Sheehan took the girls outdoor title in the spring.
The cycle renews Tuesday afternoon when the Floyd Little Athletic Center plays host to the indoor sectional starting at 4:30 p.m.
It’s uncertain whether Sheehan, Cheshire or even defending boys champion Lyman Hall has the depth to raise the team flag this year ahead of perennial favorite Hillhouse. What is clear: Area athletes will be in contention for event gold, either individually or in relays.
There are two No. 1 seeds in the hunt among the locals. There are also a handful of 2’s, 3’s and even 4’s well within hailing distance of the favorites.
A contender like Lyman Hall junior Michael Toppin just might make it a daily double. The reigning East Sectional champ in the long jump, Toppin is seeded No. 2 in that event as well as No. 2 in the 300 meters.
In the long jump, a mere inch separates Toppin from No. 1 seed Neal Eley of Hillhouse. Eley has landed a season-best 21 feet, 9 inches. Toppin has hit for 21-8.
In the 300, Toppin has been steadily reducing his time since first breaking Blake Jandreau’s former school record of 36.27 seconds a month ago. Toppin is down to 35.80 following Saturday’s first-place performance at the SCC Coaches Invitational. He’ll have to go lower to overtake Deshaune Poole of Hillhouse, who holds the top seed at 35.05.
Meanwhile, in the 4x800, the field will be chasing four of Toppin’s teammates. The Horobin triplets — Andrew, Luke and Zach — hold the No. 1 seed at 8:45 with fellow LH senior (and triplet) Eric Lipka.
Andrew and Luke Horobin, in combination with Toppin and junior Ian Debaise, are seeded No. 2 in the 4x400 at 3:33.90, within two seconds of favored Hillhouse.
Yet another LH distance runner, sophomore Jack Murphy, is the No. 4 in the 1600 meters (4:45.82).
In the girls competition, the locals are led by Sheehan senior jumper Kyra Connolly and Sheehan’s fleet of sprinters.
Connolly is No. 1 in the pole vault at 9-6. The rest of the field is two feet back.
Connolly is also seeded No. 2 in the high jump. At 4-10, she’s chasing Guilford’s Sofia Migani, who holds the No. 1 seed at 5-1.
As for Sheehan’s sprinters, hopes are high for senior Julia Mansfield and junior Olivia Dubuc. Both are No. 3 seeds — Mansfield in the 300 at 43.80; Dubuc in the 600 at 1:43.92 — and both are aiming to chase down Nyia White and Jada Boyd of Hillhouse, who are the top two seeds in both events.
Mansfield and Dubuc will also make strong bids in combination with their heirs apparent, sophomore Clarisse Aminawung and freshman Avery Winters. The quartet holds the No. 2 seed in the 4x400 relay at 4:15.95, a school record that was set Friday at the H-K Invitational.
Mansfield, Aminawung and Winters are also part of Sheehan’s school-record 4x200 team (1:52.07). With freshman Amanda Castaldo running the leadoff leg, they take the No. 2 seed into Tuesday.
Sheehan’s boys contingent will be led by senior thrower Cyle Martindale, junior distance runner Derrick Arnold and junior jumpers Riley Bjornberg and Max Luddy.
Martindale is No. 2 in the shot put. At 44-8 ¼ for his season best, Martindale will look to push the envelope at least half a foot further in hopes of overtaking top seed Gary Moore Jr. of Hillhouse (45-3½).
Arnold holds the No. 4 seed in the 1000 meters (2:51.95) and the No. 7 in the 1600 (4:51.86). Bjornberg (19-11¼) and Luddy (19-8) are 4-5 in the long jump.
As for Cheshire, top seeds are held by the distance runners. Junior Brendan Mellitt, the area’s lone State Open and New England qualifier during the cross country season, is seeded No. 3 in the 3200 meters (9:53.93).
Mellitt’s running mate, junior Francis Simpatico, is No. 3 in the 1600 (4:42.63). Sophomore Ryan Farrell holds the No. 2 seed in the 1000 (2:47.38).
Visit myrecordjournal.com/sports Tuesday for updates from New Haven
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