Bill Martin succeeds Steve Bedard as the boys track and field coach at New Canaan High School this winter.

Martin, formerly a coach at Norwalk High, inherits a team that was fourth in the FCIAC championships and third in the Class L state finals.

"It was time for me to make a change and this opportunity came up," said Martin, a coach for a dozen years at Norwalk. "I'm very excited. I'm very excited to have an opportunity to work with a bunch of individuals who have high aspirations for the program."

Among them is Devaun Bovello, who was runner-up only to Bunnell's David Camille in the 55 meter hurdles in last year's state championships. Camille's graduation opens the door for the New Canaan senior to potentially claim this year's crown.

Bovello is striving to win not only conference and state titles, but also a New England championship in the 55 hurdles.

"Now I have to make that come true. The potential is there," Martin said.

"It's a new year, a new start and we'll just see where it goes," Bovello said.

Other key senior and junior team members whom Martin will turn to for points are long sprinters George Bennett and Nick Musicco, two-miler Tucker Radecki, distance runner Kaylan Lysenko and middle distance runner Kevin McEneaney. In the field events, shot-put competitor George Harvey and high jumper Sam Reynolds come back with experience.

Among the younger competitors on the squad is Spencer Lyman, only a sophomore, but the top second-year high schooler on the cross country team this past fall. Freshman Ryan McGough is another strong cross country team member who will bring some experience to the distance events.

Last year, New Canaan won the 4x400 meter relay event in the state finals in a school record-setting time of 3:33.19. Henson Orser, Isaiah Maisonette and Alexei Spinu were seniors on that relay team. Bennett is back from the relay group.

"I came here to win so my expectation and their goal should be to win," Martin said. "I told them I would give them every opportunity to win."

Those opportunities include plenty of challenging meets on the schedule, in addition to regular season dual meets, including the New Haven Invitational on Dec. 15. Martin also brings plenty of experience as a standout runner. He was a six-time Division-I All America honoree and three-time national champion during a collegiate career at Boston College and Iona. He also won the 1,000 meter run in the 1980 Milrose Games.

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