R-J INVITATIONAL: Area’s top track and field athletes bask in limelight and sunlight

R-J INVITATIONAL: Area’s top track and field athletes bask in limelight and sunlight


CHESHIRE — The common theme in the Record-Journal Invitational each spring revolves around fun.

No team scores are kept and there is a free and easy vibe among the area schools as they take to the track and field.

But the 2016 edition was all about the great thaw. The sun was emerged in full force and the athletes had their first opportunity to compete this spring without shivering or dodging rain drops ... or snow flakes.

Given that frigid start, Friday marked Maloney’s first chance to take the track this season in a meet.

Sheehan, Lyman Hall and Coginchaug had all roughed out the cold and wet weather for a few meets prior to the R-J festivities.

Platt and Southington did not attend. The Panthers missed the invitational due to competing in a make-up dual meet on Thursday. The Blue Knights opted out because they are on April break.

The R-J meet may have been an early season test, but several athletes were in mid-season form. Among the double-winners was Sheehan junior Zach Davis, who dominated the sprints by taking the 100 in 10.7 seconds and the 200 in 22.9.

“An early meet like this helps with confidence and you can see what your competitors are going to be like and as a team you see where you stand,” Davis said.

Cheshire’s Ethan LaChance won the javelin (160-4) and finished the meet by anchoring the 4x400 relay. The Rams won that race in 4.04.15 with LaChance, David Amann, Abigail DelVecchio and Giselle Zumerchik.

“David Amann brought us all the way to the front in his third leg and gave us a nice lead,” LaChance said. “I was out of steam and I just wanted to make it to the end.”

Lyman Hall’s Jon Gill earned wins in the 800 (1:57.4) and the 1,600 (4:42.5). Gill went back and forth with Sheehan standout Griffin Cobb in an exciting 800.

“I had a 58 in the first lap and kept going,” Gill said. “It’s going to fun to battle all year with Griffin because we never run the same exact time.”

Each participant was limited to two events.

Double-winners on the girls side included Cheshire standout Janaia Skibitcky, who took the long jump (17-9½) and the triple jump (34 6¾).

Fellow Ram Janine Zumerchik doubled in the 100 (12.9) and ran a leg on the victorious 4x100 co-ed relay (47.5). The senior co-captain won it with Sarah Clark, Peter Bellantonio and Andrew Levy.

“I got a personal record today in the 100,” Zumerchik said. “I was more confident today and this is better weather than it’s been. Our first meet was very windy and cold.”

Cheshire’s Bellantonio was also golden in the 400 (51.9).

Coginchaug’s Jessica Drop doubled in the 800 (2:16.86) and the 1,600 (5:02.6). Samantha Drop took the 3,200 (11.02.4).

The Lyman Hall girls had four individual winners in MacKenzie Wall (110 hurdles, 16.2), Kiersty Neeman (pole vault, 7-6), Alexa Eves (javelin, 104-0) and Aquila Providence (discus, 94-3).

Cheshire’s Angela Zhu nabbed first in the shot put (32.5) and Elizabeth Goul was tops in the high jump (4-8).

Sheehan’s lone individual winner in girls action was Maddie Burns in the 400 (1:01.4).

Collin McMahon claimed the long jump with a leap of 17 7½ for the Titan boys.

Lyman Hall’s Jon Witik, an indoor state champ, blitzed the field in the 110 hurdles in 15.0.

“Witik, Wall and Gill are off to great starts of the spring,” Lyman Hall coach Ed Neilander said.

“We’re not a huge team, but I’m happy with our performance today overall. We excited about facing Sheehan next Friday. It’s going to be a close meet.”

Lukas Miranda was Maloney’s lone individual victor. The senior was first in the triple jump (38-1).

“This is a great meet to see where we are at time-wise and distance-wise,” Maloney coach Don Askew said. “Our boys team is the biggest it has been in years with 47 kids. We can be at least .500 this year. Usually, we win just one meet. The girls could be, too. I’m excited for both of them.”

Cheshire distance specialist Brendan Murray won the one race he entered in the meet. The sophomore took the 3,200 in 9:51.34.

Coginchaug’s male winners were Alec Bogen (high jump, 5-10) and Cooper Berry (pole vault, 10-6).

Allen Dvarskas served as the meet’s directer with Sheehan coach Charles Farley.

“The kids had fun and that’s all that really matters,” Dvarskas said.

“In general, athletic have gotten too serious and too competitive. But sports are supposed to be fun and this was a fun day.”

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