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FCIAC track athletes earn All-America honors at Nationals

NEW YORK – Darien distance runner Alex Ostberg, Brien McMahon distance runner Erik van der Els, Westhill pole vaulter Chris Rough and two boys relay teams from the FCIAC all excelled at the 2015 New Balance Indoor Nationals high school track and field meet to earn All-America status.

Any individual athlete or relay team placing among the top six in their respective events became All-America at the national high school championship meet that took place over the course of three days in the middle of March at the New Balance Track and Field Center at The Armory in New York City.

Ostberg lowered his previous personal-best time by almost 12 seconds when he placed third in a blanket finish among the leaders in the Boys’ 2-Mile Run Championship. Ostberg had a time of 8:48.88 when he finished just behind winner Andrew Hunter (Purcellville, Va.) and runner-up Levi Thomet (Kodiak, Ark.). Hunter won in 8:48.22 and Thomet had an 8:48.32. Ostberg’s previous best was 9:00.58.

Ostberg became a two-time All-America at this meet as he ran an excellent anchor leg to help Darien finish second in the Boys Distance Medley Relay Championship with a time of 10:05.47 that was just slightly behind that of champion Spirit of Pre TC MI (10:04.30). Darien also broke the old state record of 10:07.01 that Staples set at the 2013 New Balance Indoor Nationals. Armstrong Noonan ran a 3:06.53 for his 1,200-meter leadoff leg, Carter Ashcroft ran his 400 in 52.74, Arthur Kennedy had a 1:59.40 for his 800 leg and Ostberg finished off the record performance with an excellent time of 4:06.80 for his 1,600 anchor leg.

In the Boys 5,000-Meter Run Championship, van der Els had a time of 15:02.56 to finish in third place. Elijah Armstrong, from Pocatello, Idaho, won in 14:41.72. This meet capped an excellent year by van der Els, still a junior. He achieved a personal-best time of 9:08.67 in the 3,200-meter run when he was runner-up at the New England Championships after he won that event at the State Open.

Rough cleared the height of 15 feet, 10 inches in the pole vault to finish tied for sixth place and set an unofficial state record. Deakin Volz of Bloomington, Indiana set meet and national records with his winning vault of 17-11.25.

Ridgefield’s quartet of Clint Corso (1:59.66), Ethan Realancer (1:56.58), Kristian Sogaard (1:59.11) and Johnathan Keating (1:53.55) earned All-America status when it placed sixth in the Boys 4×800 Relay Championship with an unofficial state record time of 7:48.90, breaking the old record of 7:54.50 set by Danbury at the 2001 NSIC meet.

Several more athletes from the FCIAC performed well in individual events.

Anthony Bravo of Staples placed eighth in the boys’ long jump (22-5.75), Noonan was 15th in the boys’ 2-mile ((9:16.80), Corso took 20th in the boys’ 5,000 (16:01.84), Danielle Marcone of Danbury was 21st in the girls’ 5,000 (20:04.94), Spencer Brown of Wilton placed 21st in the boys’ mile (4:29.37) and Ridgefield’s Kristian Sogaard was 30th in the boys’ 800 (1:58.17).

Hannah DeBalsi of Staples had an excellent indoor season and has had success in previous national championship meets but she was unable to compete in this one because of illness.

Eric van der Els of Brien McMahon, shown competing at the FCIAC finals this winter, earned All-America honors by finishing third in the 5,000-meter run at 2015 New Balance Indoor Nationals. (Dave Stewart/Hersam Acorn Photo)

Eric van der Els of Brien McMahon, shown competing at the FCIAC finals this winter, earned All-America honors by finishing third in the 5,000-meter run at 2015 New Balance Indoor Nationals. (Dave Stewart/Hersam Acorn Photo)

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