Spring sports preview: Track

In recent years, one of the strengths of the Fairfield Prep boys track team has been its distance runners, including Christian Alvarado and Connor Rog. Heading into the spring outdoor season, head coach Mark Langston is going to "lean heavily on that distance tradition" as the Jesuits look to have a successful season.

"We are looking forward to reloading our traditionally strong distance running team this year and should have some scoring opportunities there," Langston wrote in his prospectus to the Citizen. "We also expect our javelin thrower Vincent D'Amore to be one of the top 10 in the state."

D'Amore, a senior, won the SCC Western Sectional meet last spring with a throw of 156-feet and placed fourth in the Class LL meet with a throw of 165-feet, 11-inches, will lead Prep's field events while senior Andy Thane and junior George Crist -- both who ran cross country in the fall -- will help anchor those distance races. In addition, Langston is looking for big things from sophomore Ian Imory.

"We have a young team with just three seniors," Langston wrote. "The team will focus on building up our field and mid-distance programs. We have inexperience in the sprinting and field events but the future is bright."

Bouyed by several runners that participated in the indoor track season, Warde boys' coach Justin Ottavio is looking forward to continuing that winter success in the spring.

"We have a lot of experience in our distance and throwing core," Ottavio wrote in his prospectus to the Citizen. "We are going to be very competitive in our distance, mid-distance and throwing events. Collectively, we're young but we look to evolve into a competitive dual meet squad."

Alex Petrecca, who placed 10th in the FCIAC 1,600-meter run (1:28.04) during the indoor season and also ran the 4x400-meter relay, will be a key member of the Mustangs' outdoor team, along with Charlie Kieffer, who finished 11th in the FCIAC 600-meter indoor run (1:28.63) and was part of the 1600-meter sprint relay team.

Jackson Stearns, who placed 19th in the FCIAC 600-meter indoor run (1:31.52) returns for the outdoor season, along with Matthew Wojnoski (1000-meter run) and Joey Ciccarelli (4x800, 1600-meter spring relay). In addition, Michael Kathien, who set a new Warde record in the javelin last spring at 142-feet, 10-inches, good for 10th in the Class L meet, is also back for his senior season.

"We are limited in numbers and experience in several jumping events," Ottavio wrote. "But we have several newcomers that are positioned to become successful leaders this season."

Warde placed 24th last spring in the Class L meet.

At Ludlowe, Jake Duncan, who finished third in the FCIAC 600-meters (1:25.66) during the indoor season, will be running outdoors for the first time this spring as the Falcons' boys' team looks to improve on last season's 21st place finish in the Class L meet.

"We have a strong base of mid-distance runners and a handful of good sprinters," wrote head coach David Nulf in his prospectus to the Citizen. "To be successful in dual meets, we need to develop some talent in more of the field events."

Duncan will be one of the captains this season, along with Zach Kenton, David Elmore, Joey Ambury and Brett Williams. Kenton ran in the FCIAC 4x400 and the 4x800 indoor relays and will be a "key" according to Nulf for the Falcons' outdoor relay teams. Ambury finished 15th in the FCIAC 1600-meter run (4:49.34) in the indoor season.

Williams placed ninth in the FCIAC 300-meters (38.47) indoors and also ran the 4x200 relay. Ben Ertel -- who was a second-team All-FCIAC cross country selection in the fall -- ran the 1,600 meters and the 4x800 relay teams indoors. David Bates finished 16th in the 3,200-meters (10:11.48) indoors.

Christian Ghiorzi was ninth in the shot put indoors at 39-feet, 7-inches and Brendan Gutierrez was 14th in the 55-meter hurdles (9.64). They will anchor the Falcons' field events, as will Ben Newman.

"Coming off a good indoor season, these guys are building a strong work ethic and are expanding their competitive experience," Nulf wrote. "I look forward to seeing that pay dividends this spring."

On the girls' side, Warde -- who placed third in the Class L meet last spring -- has to deal with the loss of a dozen starters but returns a solid performer in Stephanie Sheehan, who took second place in the 55-meter hurdles (8.79), third in the 55-meter dash (7.55) and 10th in the long jump (14-feet, 5-½ inches) in the FCIAC championships indoor meet.

"After last years' 12-1 record, our expectations are a bit more grounded, especially in the wake of changing division," wrote Mustangs head coach Shawn Sorbello in his prospectus to the Citizen, regarding Warde's jump from Class L to LL this spring. "But our outlook is positive with some good numbers coming into the program."

Along with Sheehan, Quinn Igram, who ran the 4x800 relay and the 1600 sprint relay during the indoor season, will be a key cog for Sorbello, along with Heather Gans, Molly Davidson, Samantha Dunn, Julia Knorr, Amanda Kuczo, Maia Hernandez, Leah Hintz and Frida Velcani.

"The bond among the ladies on this team is strong and they have a strong sense of teamwork," Sorbello wrote. "The veterans continue to serve as mentors and co-coaches to the younger athletes and have done a great job."

Notre Dame will be lead by captains Caitlin Lonergan (1600) and Breianna Campbell and another potential standout could be Lancers girls' basketball player Kayla Croswell, who will compete in the triple and long jumps.

"The team expects to continue the good work from last year," wrote coach Ed Berberich. "And we expect to gain a few more Class S qualifiers."

Ludlowe head coach Kelly Renna is beginning her second season and is looking to equal or better the success of her first season when the Falcons went 5-5 in the regular season and finished fifth out of 17 teams in the FCIAC.

"I am psyched to start my second season," Renna wrote in her prospectus to the Citizen. "I have been so impressed by the number of talent, dedicated and driven girls on this team. The girls are ready to work hard, shatter their own records and bring more qualifiers to postseason meets."

Seniors Emma Koether (100, 200, 400), Rachel Hurst (100, 200, 400) and Kelly Walsh (1600, 3200) along with junior Sullie Desmond (400, 800) are captains this season and will be joined by returning athletes Emily O'Keefe (high jump, sprints), Brianna Auray (800, 1600, 3200), Keegan Simonsen (800, 1600, 3200), Liz Buckley (100, 200), Cassandra Factora (100, 200) and Francesca Barucci (800).

"We are very strong in the running events," Renna wrote. "We have enough talent to put up good competition in most events but we are still working on obtaining more depth in the field events and hurdles. Our athletes have to strive to push themselves, make a continuous effort and support their teammates to they can reach their full potential."