High School Outdoor Track Preview
FAIRFIELD — If there is truly strength in numbers, then Ludlowe head coach David Nulf could have a very, very strong team.
“We have our largest squad ever with over 80 members,” Nulf wrote in his prospectus to the Citizen. “There is a new infusion of athletes from the football team and (head football coach) Vin Camera is working as our new sprint coach. A large and competitive freshmen class will help our depth and long-term strength.”
Three members of the Class L indoor 4x800 winning relay team - senior Dan Leto, junior Ben Etrel and sophomore Ian Bartlett - will anchor the mid-distance events (400 through 1,600 meters). Bartlett was the team MVP during the indoor season and “got faster every week,” according to Nulf. Joey Ambury and Aren Heitmann will also help solidify the 1,600 and 3,200 meter events as will freshman Colin Agostisi.
Brett Williams should do well in the 100 to 400 meter races and will be the Falcons’ primary long-jumper, looking to better 19-feet this spring. Senior Jason Lee and Jake Mazza are the top two returning hurdlers while senior Jonathan Prisco will look to better 6-feet in the high jump. Junior Tad Godlewski will compete in the pole vault.
Football newcomer Jaivon Beasley will compete in the sprint events and Billy Stapelton will compete in the throws. And Nulf is excited about freshmen sprinter Dillon Buongiorno and thrower Jake Northup.
“We are inexperienced in some of the field events but we have a good number of new athletes working at these and hope to gain some valuable experience this season,” Nulf said. “This team has strong positive energy and has come ready to work. We’re excited to see how many school records we can break and look forward to sending a large contingent of athletes into the post-season.”
The Falcons went 4-7 in the FCIAC Central last season (fourth place) and finished 17th in the Class L championships.
Ambury, Heitmann and Leto will be the “distance” captains this spring and Williams and Brian Deely will be the “sprinter/jumper” captains.
Based on the number of returning runners from the indoor season, Mustangs coach Justin Ottavio is “optimistic” about the upcoming outdoor campaign.
“Very optimistic,” Ottavio wrote in his prospectus to the Citizen. “Many of the athletes are returning from the indoor team and are looking to continue their momentum.”
“We have a diversified group of athletes which will enable us to accumulate points across a number of events,” Ottavio said.
Last season, the Mustangs were 4-6-1 in the FCIAC East, finishing in fourth place and were 14th in the Class LL tournament.
After posting solid seasons in both last fall’s cross country and the winter’s indoor season, the Jesuits look to continue the success this spring, led by senior George Crist and sophomore Andrew Thompson.
“We are very excited to build our young team into a squad that will be strong and deep,” Prep head coach Mark Langston wrote in his prospectus to the Citizen. “We want to continue the strong contributions from our young distance runners, following up on the success of the cross country program.”
Crist will be a tri-captain, along with Thomas Moore and Theo Jordanides. Crist’s specialty is the 800 meters (2:01, best time), while Thompson excels in the 3,200 meters, with his best time being 9:32.02.
“Our strengths will be in the distance and mid-distance events, Langston said. “while we need to build up our short sprinters and field events.”
The Jesuits finished 15th in the Class LL tournament last spring
“This season is looking very promising,” head coach Kelly Renna wrote in her prospectus to the Citizen. “I think that one of the most impressive qualities I see in the team is their unwillingness to settle. Regardless of what we achieve or how far we go, they are always looking for new ways to push themselves to become better.”
Desmond will compete in middle distance events, including the 400 and 800 meters and the 4x800 and 4x400 relays, Factora will race in the 100 and 200 yard dashes and run in the 4x400 and 4x100 relays. Rossi will run in the 1,600 and 3,200 meter events and also do the high jump, with senior Clare Burhenne working in the javelin, shot put and discus events.
Seniors Megan Brown (100, 200) and Claire Lutzo (javelin, shot put, discus), juniors Brianna Auray (400, 800, 1,600, 3,200), Francesca Barucci (800, 4x800) and Annie Funk (high jump) and sophomores Paige Davis (800, 1,600, 3,200), Alyssa Kraus (400, 800, 1,600) Nora Skoczen (hurdles, long jump, triple jump), Keegan Simonsen (400, 800, 1,600, 3,200) and Greta Vanderblue (100, 200, 400) all return for Renna.
“Over the past couple of years our depth in the running events has improved dramatically,” Renna said. “We have a lot of talent and a lot of hard working individuals who do what they have to do to compete at the highest level. We need to continue to build depth in our field events but we have some great, young potential there.”
The Falcons finished 13th in the Class LL tournament.
Despite losing six starters, head coach Shawn Sorbello feels the Mustangs should have a solid balance of talent.
“We are optimistic that we will have another solid season competing in all dual meets,” Sorbello wrote in his prospectus to the Citizen. “We hope to establish strong momentum going into the championship meets.”
Steph Mills (long jump, triple jump), Bri Collier (shot put, discus, javelin), Hannah Keating (sprints, relays), Roey Mappa (1,600), Gabi Galletta (distance), Sarah Radziewicz (distance), Natalie Becker (high jump) and Kayla Yaverski (sprints, relays) all return for the Mustangs, who finished 21st in the Class LL tournament last spring.
“We should have some solid balance in all events,” Sorbello said. “Our team identity coming off the indoor season still needs to be identified. Are we a strong regular season team that rises to the demands of a championship meet or do we have “it” during the regular season and fade on the big stage? We have to see it through and fight to the finish.”