The indoor track & field seasons at Fairfield Ludlowe feature developmental meets until late January when FCIAC divisional and conference meets are held, followed by the state class meets and the State Open in February. David Nulff, who has been coaching track in town for 15 years, is the Falcons' boys coach, and Matt Closkey is the coach of the girls team that features 52 athletes on the roster.
The Ludlowe boys were third of five teams in the FCIAC Central Divisional meet last year, then finished 13th of 14 teams at the conference championship meet before placing 23rd of 24 teams in Class L. The Falcons' girls were second of five teams in the division meet, 12th of 15 in the FCIAC, then 19th of 21 teams in Class LL.
Senior distance runner Josh Archer and junior sprinter Zach Kenton, who added endurance by running cross country in the fall, are the boys captains. Kenton enjoyed some success last spring with outdoor track & field, running in the 4-by-400-meter relay and the 200 meters. Archer will run distance events, and sophomore Aren Heitman, No. 2 on the Falcons' cross country team to Archer, will compete in distance events as well.
"This is a great group of kids. They have a lot of energy for the season," Nulff said. "They are, as a group, very focused."
Two junior sprinters and a senior qualified for the LL meet for the girls -- Rachel Hurst and Emma Koether, who are 11th graders, and Ali Johnson, who is in her last year with the team. The trio was part of the 12th-place 4x200-meter relay in the state meet. Koether was 17th and Johnson 24th in the preliminaries of the LL 55-meter dash. Emily O'Keefe placed fourth in the high jump (5-feet-1 inch) in the state meet last winter as a sophomore.
Alex Wykoff was one of three seniors who qualified in Class LL in the hurdles a year ago, along with Gillian Kennedy and Olivia Auray. Wykoff was 12th in the preliminaries of the 55-meter hurdles. McCloskey is expecting senior Kate O'Shea to be competitive in the long jump this season.
"We have depth in all of our events this year and have started to find more girls to do the field events," McCloskey said. "We should be very competitive at our Central Division meet and should be able to repeat that (second place) or have a good chance to win."
The boys and girls' seasons both open with developmental meets at Staples on Dec. 21.