A Good Day at the Races for Cromwell Track

Cromwell High School’s indoor track teams had a mostly good day at the Shoreline Conference Championships on Feb. 7 at the Hillhouse High School field house in New Haven.

“It was a good day for a lot of the kids,” said coach Brian Calhoun. “I was really proud of the way a lot of them ran.”

The boys’ team had six athletes qualify for the state meet.

Among them was Thomas Mantel finished first in the long jump, with a distance of 21′ 04” and had the highest height at the meet in the high jump, but finished second overall, because of previous misses at lower heights. Mantel also took second place in the 55-yard dash, but said he slipped a little on his start.

“He’s just an incredible athlete,” Calhoun said. “He really had the chance to win three events. I wish I could enter him in more events.”

Senior Jared Darius had been running his fastest miles ever this season, but hadn’t qualified for states. As he ran at the meet, Darius knew he was close to qualifying, but didn’t know for sure for several minutes after the race, because he was helping another runner who had collapsed after the race.

“I had to wait until he was done helping that kid to tell him he had made it by 3 hundredths of a second,” Calhoun said.

Shot-putter Kevin Oppong threw well and finished fourth with a distance of 39′.09”, which was not as good as his personal best. Distance runner and team cheerleader Erik Rodriguez finished under 11 minutes for the first time in the mile.

On the girls’ team, the 4×400-meter relay team just missed qualifying but 1/100th of a second.

“On that team, we have three seniors [Jordan Shauck, Nicole Faucette and Sydney Crute] and one freshman [McKenzie Keane],” Calhoun said. “The way the seniors have been taking care of that freshman throughout the season, and helping her out, I was really hoping they would make the states, for McKenzie. The seniors have other races that they’ve qualified for. McKenzie’s been willing to do anything the team’s asked of her.”

Calhoun said that Crute and Faucette have also been very helpful to him during his first year as coach, including online registrations and ordering team equipment, as well as taking care of the other athletes.

Freshman Meghan Savinelli won her heat in the 1000-meter race, and beat her previous best time of 3:32 with a final time of 3:26.91, which qualified her for states.

“That’s a lot of time to shave for that race,” Calhoun said. “She dropped six seconds which qualified her for states by a pretty wide margin.”

Lauren Tracey won the high-jump event, with a height of 4′ 10”.

As expected, there were some ups and downs throughout the day. Hannah Fox had stepped out of her lane in the 4-by-200 and disqualified her team early in the day.

“She stepped in somebody’s way, after she had run a great race and handed off,” Calhoun said. “She was little down in herself.”

Later, Fox, who was short of qualifying for the high and long jumps by two inches each, finished second in the long jump, with a distance of 15′ 2.75”.

“After a pretty rough start to the day, I thought that was great for her to come back,” Calhoun said. “She was in tears and thought she had let her teammates down. I was glad to see her come back and finish off strong.”

Calhoun said his teams’ athletes were all pretty focused and ready to perform, despite having to practice outdoors in the winter.

“I give them a lot of credit for getting out there in the tough weather,” Calhoun said. “We can’t run inside, so we run outside. Then our track got snowed in, so they were running in the parking lot. They’ve been out there every day, getting their mileage in.”

He’s also optimistic about what Cromwell can do at the state meet.

“We’re looking forward to seeing what the girls’ 4×200 and Sprint Medley teams can do at states,” he said. “We’ll look forward to what Tommy can do by himself, as well as Oppong and Josh Glynn on high-jump. He’s qualified with a jump of ten feet. He hasn’t been able to duplicate that since. I hope he’s able to.”

Calhoun said he has been extremely happy with the team’s attitude and work ethic all season.

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