The Record-Journal has been profiling the area’s four indoor track state class champions in pole vault heading into Saturday’s State Open. The series concludes with Southington’s Zach Burleigh and Megan Biscoglio.
SOUTHINGTON – It’s an impressive feat for one school to produce individual male and female state champions in any sport.
For both champs to live right next door to each other? The odds are unfathomable.
Yet that is the case in Southington with lifelong friends Zach Burleigh and Megan Biscoglio. The neighbors have known each other since they could remember. Last Saturday, the seniors added to their bank of shared memories by winning the Class LL pole vaulting titles at the Floyd Little Athletic Center in New Haven.
“It is pretty crazy because we aren’t just neighbors, we’ve always been friends” Burleigh said. “We’ve known each other since we were 3 and we always have done everything together when we were younger, and to now win a state title together, it’s unbelievable.”
Burleigh and Biscoglio train together year round and have taken numerous road trips in and out of state for training. They rely on each other for support at meets and practice.
“We always practice together and know each other’s tendencies and what helps us best and jump the highest,” Burleigh said.
“We’ve just been on this journey together,” Biscoglio said. “We’ve been driving all over for meets and developed together.”
Saturday was Burleigh’s first state title. Biscoglio, who earlier this winter won the CCC conference championship, is the reigning State Open outdoor pole vault champion.
Like the area’s two other female pole vaulting indoor state champions, Stephanie Phoenix of Sheehan and Hannah Cloutier of Maloney, Biscoglio is a converted gymnast. She started competing in that sport at age 6 until injuries got the best of her and she needed to find another athletic outlet in high school.
Biscoglio moved on to track and initially tried high jump and hurdles. Given her gymnastic background, she was asked to give pole vault a try.
“I think gymnastics gave me that mindset to get over your fears and find the best in every situation, and that has helped so much during the meets,” Biscoglio said.
Last spring, Biscoglio hit for 12 feet, a Southington girls record, to win the State Open. She went on to place second at the New England Championships and also competed at the New Balance Outdoor Nationals. She was named Record-Journal Track Athlete of the Year with Southington thrower Amanda Howe.
Last Saturday, Burleigh hit 13 feet, 6 inches to win Class LL and Biscoglio set a Class LL girls' meet record at 11-8 in winning her title. The neighbors are both No. 1 seeds for Saturday’s State Open back in New Haven.
“I would like to go out and win again,” Burleigh said. “I know if I go have a good day that I will be up there in contention to do it. I might be due for a PR.”
Winning Class LL was a huge step for Burleigh, who had no-heighted at the previous two state meets.
“I knew that feeling and I didn’t want that again,” Burleigh said. “I wanted it to be a good meet for once. It was a mental thing trying to stay positive and taking it one jump at a time.”
Burleigh’s personal best is 13-7. Biscoglio’s is 12-1. Her ultimate goal is to PR and make the championship level of nationals.
“Megan has spent hours upon hours researching,” said Southington indoor track and field coach Connor Green. “She looks for any information on how to better herself and about her competitors and about everything. That information is pretty critical to her success.”
Like Biscoglio, Burleigh pursued other sports and other track events before settling on pole vault. He was a baseball player and a distance runner. Green said he picked up vaulting right away.
“Zach’s fearless and determined,” Green said. “Say he missed a jump; he’s never going to give up. He’s immediately going to get back on the runway and get this jump.
“I think back to when they first started — Megan when she was a freshman and Zach when he was a sophomore,” the coach added. “You could tell there was some kind of talent or ability there to set some good heights, but what has set them apart is the dedication they have put in over the last two years. Every free moment they have is devoted to pole vault and getting better. They are always hungry to get better.”
They will also pole vault in college. Biscoglio has already signed with UConn. Burleigh is still considering his options. He’s looking at Rider, Sacred Heart, Southern Connecticut and Springfield.
Before then, the championship duo are hoping to bring more hardware back to the neighborhood.