Warde girls 2nd, boys 3rd at FCIAC East meet

Fairfield Warde's girls indoor track and field team was runner-up to Darien among five schools Friday night at the FCIAC East divisional meet in the Zeoli Fieldhouse at Wilton High School. The Mustangs boys team, which scored 53 points, placed third behind winner Darien (149) and second-place Wilton (62) and ahead of fourth-place New Canaan (31) and fifth-place St. Joseph (16). Warde's girls, with 63 points, outscored New Canaan (52), Wilton (49.5) and St. Joseph (23). Darien amassed 121.5 points.

The common-thread highlight for the Warde teams was boasting runners who won the 3,200 meters, the metric two-mile. Senior Aidan Fiol, after placing second in his first race at 1,000 meters in the late afternoon, won the boys 3,200 in 10 minutes and 49.95 seconds, while freshman Sarah Radziewicz led a 1-2-3 Mustangs' finish by winning the 3,200 in 12:22.67. Molly Davidson (12:32.63) was runner-up with Amanda Kuczo (12:36.32) taking third. Both are juniors.

The boys and girls FCIAC Championships are Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. at the New Haven Athletic Center.

"I was looking at this as just a dual meet," girls coach Shawn Sorbello said. "I was looking at it as preparation for the FCIACs and the Class L championships. I told the girls they had green lights to take risks, so second place is awesome. I have a lot of respect for this division, from top to bottom. I'm definitely content with the situation as it is and proud of all the athletes who stepped up."

Joining Radziewicz in the winners' circle was senior co-captain Blossom Jean-Jacques, who was first in the high jump with a leap of 5-feet-0 inches. Warde also won the 4 by 750-meter relay in 9:48.68. The combination of sophomores Roey Mappa and Hannah Dougherty, junior Quinn Igram and Radziewicz edged runner-up New Canaan by 0.07 of a second.

A pair of Mustangs' relays were second. The 4x225 (junior Heather Gans, sophomores Jennifer Maldonado and Hannah Keating, junior Sarah Reilly) in 2:18.3 and the 4x375 (Reilly, Dougherty, Mappa, Igram) in 4:14.71.

Other scorers, by placing in the top five in an event, were junior Stephanie Sheehan, who was third in the 45-meter hurdles and fifth in the 45-meter dash; senior Rachel Maltz third in the long jump; Reilly fourth in the 300; Mappa fourth in the 1,600; senior captain Erika Leppla fourth in the pole vault; and Igram fifth in the 1,000.

"I was hoping to get in first, and it was my goal to get a 12:22," said Radziewicz, often the second-place girl on the Mustangs' cross country team this fall. "I just hope to improve. I'm very happy. I feel like all my hard work has paid off." She improved on her personal best time from last Saturday's developmental meet at Wilton by close to six seconds.

Jean-Jacques is setting the bar high for her goals this season. She is hoping to reach 5-3½ by season's end. Her five-foot high jump tied her personal best from a Jan. 11 developmental meet at Staples. She credits her recent successes to staying longer at practice and focusing on a protein-full diet. "I'm definitely ready for the FCIACs and the states," Jean-Jacques said.

The boys had nearly as many strong performances.

"Previous to last year, we finished no higher than fourth, so to have third-place two years in a row, I'm happy with that," said boys head coach Tim Foster, the Mustangs' boys and girls cross country coach.

"Third is exactly what we wanted. I think we had the option of competing for second and we could've been fourth," said Foster.

No other Warde boy aside than Fiol won an individual event. Senior Gary Azarian took second place in the long jump with a leap of 19-1. Senior Mohammed Seyal, who missed last winter with an injury, was runner-up at 300 meters in 40.14 seconds. Foster named Fiol, Azarian and Seyal as heading the list of accomplishments.

The Mustangs 4x375 relay (junior Ben Harvey, Seyal, sophomore Charlie Kieffer, junior Thomas Salem) placed second in 3:43.58. The 1,500-meter sprint medley relay was second in 3:49.64, featuring Azarian and junior Nick Nardone running legs of 150 meters (one lap), sophomore Jackson Stearns running 450 meters and junior Alex Petrecca, who was fourth in the 3,200, racing over 750 meters.

Harvey placed third in the 45 hurdles; Keiffer was fourth in the 300; Petrecca was fifth in the 1,000; freshman Max Lee fifth in the high jump; Salem fifth in the long jump.

Fiol was unsure of how he would fare in the 3,200 that followed his experiment in the 1,000. "I was not planning on this being a super, super competitive race," Fiol said. "I started to pick it up in the second half of the race, but no one ran with me for the rest of the way. I used this as a tempo workout and to stay strong for the FCIACs.

"I was planning on running (the 3,200) but I had no set time (in mind). I did not want to kill myself because of the (sharp-curved) track would not yield a good time," said Fiol, who will run the 1,600 at the FCIACs then decide whether to race in the 3,200.

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