MERIDEN — With the spring scholastic season falling victim to the coronavirus pandemic, 2019-20 track and field must be defined by the accomplishments of the indoor season.
And that’s fine. It’s no stretch of the tape measure to say many of the top performances of winter would likely have been duplicated in the spring.
The gyp is guys like Sheehan’s Terrence Bogan (New England 100 meters) and Jordan Davis (State Open javelin) did not get a chance to defend their outdoor crowns.
Nevertheless, the data pool is deep and furnishes worthy finalists for “Best of the Bunch” Track Athletes of the Year.
One note before we roll them out. While our track awards are based on individual performance, much of the sport revolves around collective effort. Witness the Sheehan girls. The strength of their relays was the foundation of their SCC team championship.
To that end, we tip the cap to the Maloney boys’ 4x800. The quartet of Evan Avery, Dominic Oliveri, Reynaldo Torres and Xavier Zaler went on a postseason tear that culminated with a bronze medal in Class L and a school-record time of 8:22.50 at the State Open.
Individually, our Male Indoor Track Athlete of the Year finalists did their work in the Southern Connecticut Conference: Sheehan’s Riley Bjornberg and Cheshire teammates Ryan Farrell and Brendan Mellitt.
Bjornberg went from the Class S state championship with the Sheehan football team to the SCC East Sectional championship in the long jump. The senior landed 20 feet, 7¾ inches.
Bjornberg went on to place fourth in Class M and advance to the State Open. The next jump will be to college track. He’s signed on with Division II Southern Connecticut State.
Mellitt is also motoring off to college — to Bucknell. Already a finalist for Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year and Boys Scholar-Athlete of the Year, Mellitt makes it a “Best of the Bunch” triple crown with indoor track, where he won the SCC championship in the 3200 meters.
Mellitt’s time at that meet was 9:51.28. He lowered it to 9:41.78 placing second in Class L and advancing to the State Open.
That brings us to Ryan Farrell. A junior, Farrell capped a breakout cross country and track season by winning the 600 meters at the State Open.
Farrell had been building toward it. He was second in the SCC Championships in 1:24.28 and third in Class L in 1:24.01.
In both of those races, Farrell had let late leads get away. At the State Open, he hammered through the finish, crossing in 1:23.54 to earn his first high school state title.
The Record-Journal “Best of the Bunch” awards video airs on Thursday, June 18 on Facebook at 6:30 p.m. and will be on myrecordjournal.com afterwards. Finalists will be unveiled now through June 18. Up next: Girls Indoor Track.