Boys take 4th, girls 10th at FCIACs
NEW HAVEN -- The track teams of New Canaan traveled to New Haven last Thursday night, as 47 schools squared off in hopes of capturing the Class L Indoor Championship at Hillhouse.
In boys action, the Rams jockeyed for a top-three finish throughout the afternoon and evening, only to fall victim to a late push from the Darien Blue Wave.
Darien captured third place amid a spirited first-place mark in the night's final event, leaving the Rams with a still-strong fourth place finish (35.75 points).
Standing atop the field was Notre Dame of West Haven (54 points), followed by runner-up Daniel Hand (48 points).
For New Canaan, points came courtesy of a plethora of strong individual efforts.
Patrick Daly came within a whisker of standing atop the podium in the 1,000 meter event. Battling Fitch's Jamies Shirvell from start to finish, Daly finished with a mark of 2:34.98, good for second place overall. Shirvell took top honors with a time of 2:34.46.
Sophomore standout Alex Spinu worked his way to a third-place time of 1:25.41 in the 600 meter run, leaving New Canaan atop the field through four events.
In the field portion of the day's events, Jeff Spindel and Eric Lysenko provided the Rams with crucial points. First, Spindel skied his way to a 5-08 mark in the High Jump, followed by a standout performance by Lysenko in the Pole Vault event.
Having worked his way back from a torn tricep injury he suffered this past summer, Lysenko also shook off a recent sickness to shine in the event.
The senior launched his way to third-place finish (12-06), tying his previous personal best. The end-result marked another milestone of sorts, as Lysenko has had to put in a ton of work given his recent rash recent rash of both injury and sickness.
"It's taken me a lot of hard work, a lot of lifting to keep my fitness level where it needs to be," said Lysenko, who matched his mark of 12-06 from the FCIAC championship last week. "This was only my fourth meet of the season, so it was a great feeling to hit that mark.
Meanwhile, back out on the track, the 4 x 400 quartet of James Arliss, Patrick Daly, Joseph Costigan and Spinu held off a late push from Fitch Academy to seal the deal on a third-place time for the Rams (3:37.97).
In the 1600 Sprint Medley event, the foursome of Alexander Millisits, Cameron Armstrong, Joseph Costigan and Spinu raced their way to a time of 3:45.09, good for second place overall.
Down the stretch, Darien mounted a late push that left New Canaan in fourth place overall. Armed with a narrow lead over their FCIAC rival, New Canaan landed in fourth place when the Blue Wave stormed to a first place finish in the 4 x 200 event, the final competition of the evening.
In girls track action, New Canaan came in 10th place overall (17 points). Leading the pack in the final standings were first-place Darien (67.5 points), followed by Windsor (66 points) and Bunnell (50 points).
Melanie Escalante kicked off the scoring for the Rams when she placed sixth in the 600 meter run with a time of 1:41.77. Teammate Caroline Murray followed suit in the 1,000 meter event, racing through traffic to finish strong for a mark of 3:05.20, good for third place overall.
In the 1,600 meter event, a dramatic finish was fueled by a duel that went down to the wire. Stephanie Benko of New Canaan fought neck and neck with Sarah Guth of Wilton. Guth grabbed a fifth-place finish with a time of 5:28.92, with Benko coming in just two one-hundredths of a second behind her FCIAC counterpart to place sixth overall (5:28.94).
Murray returned to action in the 3,200 meter event to once again make her presence felt at the finish line. Having already secured a third-place time in the 1,000 meter event, Murray held off a late, spirited push by Carly Birkold of Fairfield Warde to capture fourth place with a time of 11:29.59.
Meanwhile, Emily Milano stepped up in the shot put event, notching an impressive mark of 30-09.5 to claim sixth place overall for more Rams points.
Macy Potter enjoyed an efficient afternoon and evening, competing in three events in total. Potter left her mark in the 1600 Sprint Medley, as the junior teamed with Betsy Hart, Katie McKeever and Murray to finish fourth (4:29.43).
The New Canaan quartet came within a hair of landing within the top three, as Naugatuck narrowly claimed third place with a time of 4:29.32.
For Potter and company, pushing past the pressure of the statewide competition proved paramount:
"There's a lot of pressure, but we didn't let that affect us at all," Potter said. "I'm really proud of how we stepped up as a team. We've been working hard all season and we've been getting better with each meet. I think we did really well."