NEW HAVEN -- The best indoor track athletes in Connecticut came together to compete in the State Open at the New Haven Athletic Center on Saturday. Among athletes from 45 boys' teams and 44 girls' squads were several New Canaan High team members, and some managed top-six results. Thus, they will represent their school in the New England Championships in Boston in early March.

In the boys' shot put event, Alex Farina's throw of 49-04 was good for fifth place and put the New Canaan senior into New England's. New Canaan's 4x400 relay contingent also qualified with a fifth-place finish in 3:32.74. Henson Orser, Isaiah Maisonette, Alex Spinu and Patrick Daly, Joseph Costigan and Will Gould, comprised the relay team.

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"I'm looking forward to it a lot," Gould said. "It's going to be a hard training week, or couple of weeks, but in the end it's worth it."

New Canaan's 4x800 relay team of Kalan Lysenko, Taylor Parsons, Henson Orser and Brant Hoffman placed ninth in 8:20.28. Spinu was seventh in the 600 meter run, finishing in 1:25.44. Cameron Armstrong placed ninth in the 300 in a time of 36.84.

The boys earned four points and tied for 34th. The girls' team, which had two representatives, did not score in the meet, but just being there among the top class championship finishers was a thrill for everyone involved.

"It's a reward for the kids for their hard work," New Canaan coach Steve Bedard said of the team members participating in the Open.

It certainly was a step up from the regular-season and even the FCIAC and state class championship meets, since the level of competition is higher.

"The atmosphere's more competitive. I'm excited to run but I'm just nervous," said New Canaan's Stephanie Benko, a junior in her first State Open. Benko placed 10th in the 3,200, completing the race in 11:33.17

Teammate Melissa Escalante, a senior, competed in the State Open a year ago and was not satisfied with her performance at the time. She ran a 1:41.94, and placed 13th a year ago.

"It gives you a chance to try again," she said of qualifying for the second year in a row. Escalante was happy to have chance to improve on her 600 time, and did so by finishing in 1:40.73, good for 12th in the state.