Peak times and distances are still likely weeks away, but Fairfield Warde delivered some performances that were close to midseason standards on Thursday afternoon in sweeping three FCIAC opponents in the boys track season opener at Fairfield Ludlowe's Taft Field.
The Mustangs beat the Falcons head-to-head for the first time in four years by earning an 85-60 victory over Ludlowe. Warde senior captain Mohammed Seyal, one of three Mustangs to win two events, set the school record in winning the 400 in 52.04 seconds that had been established by Miguel Garcia in 2005. Seyal also qualified for the FCIAC Championships in winning the 200 in 23.53.
Warde (3-0) defeated Harding 123-19 and Bassick by 125-13. Ludlowe (2-1) beat Harding 109-34 and Bassick by 121-13. Harding (1-2) got past Bassick (0-3) by 76-11.
Warde's other multi-event winners were freshman David Harvey and junior Thomas Salem. Harvey showed cross-discipline versatility by finishing first in the discus, with a throw of 94-feet-2 inches, and the 100-meter high hurdles, with a time of 18.6 seconds. Salem, multi-faceted as well, won the long jump with a leap of 5-4 and the 300-meter intermediate hurdles in 44.8 seconds.
Ludlowe captain Josh Archer, a senior, won two events and took part in two of the Falcons' three winning relays. He was first in the 800 in 2:07.8 and the winner of the javelin, with a throw of 140-6. Archer ran leadoff in the 4-by-400-meter relay, followed by senior Stratton Tolmie, sophomore Dan Leto and junior Zach Kenton, whose time was 3:46.7. Archer was the anchor of the 4x800 relay, along with Tolmie in leadoff, Leto and freshman Ben Ertel. Their time was 8:54.9. Junior Cole Gottlieb, who won the 100-meter dash in 11.4, ran the first leg of the 4x100 relay, followed by junior Brendan Gutierrez, sophomore Brett Williams and Kenton; the winning time was 46.5.
Ertel won the 3,200 in 10:29.02 and was Ludlowe's only single-event winner. Warde had five of them. Sophomore Charles Kieffer won the 1,600 in 5:01.77; senior Joreb Maxime the high jump (5-4); senior Gary Azarian triple jump (37-10 3/4); freshman Andrew Collins pole vault (9-0); senior Colin McKeown shot put (41-11).
Seyal said two goals were met in the season-opener. The team set beating Ludlowe as one of its focuses for the season. Seyal was hoping for the school mark in the 400 but was surprised, he said, it arrived on Thursday.
"I wasn't expecting to do that today," Seyal said. "I just wanted to go out hard and score some points and beat Ludlowe. I knew I was going to have a good time because I was training hard in the offseason."
Warde head coach Justin Ottavio said he was not stunned in the least by Seyal getting his name in the school record book so early in the season, citing his outstanding drive and dedication to training year-round. "Mohammed led us to the win today. He certainly went above and beyond today," Ottavio said. "Our team goal is to be as competitive as we can be against every opponent."
Seyal said: "I saw everyone working hard. We've been thinking of (winning) this meet since the season started. We had lost to them every single year."
Ludlowe coach David Nulf said his team's lack of depth must be overcome to score dual-meet victories. He said Warde built quite an advantage in points over the Falcons in the throws and jumps. The Mustangs swept Ludlowe in the discus and shot put and took first and second place in the triple jump and long jump.
"I know we need to fill out our field events," Nulf said. "Almost all (of our athletes there) are basically brand new to the team. This year we ran into a hole there. (Being outscored) 8-1, you cannot make up for that many lopsided (event) scores.
"If it was just track events (against Warde), I think we came out on top," Nulf said.
Archer was encouraged by Ludlowe's results in the relays. He also noted how the first-time athletes have begun the process of gaining experience.
"I saw a lot of promising performances, especially in the distance. Our relays are promising and will only continue to get better with experience," Archer said. "(As a team) we will continue to improve as our athletes start to get more experience, as most of them are underclassmen."
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