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Darien and Danbury crowned FCIAC track and field champions

Darien's Anna Sulger, who won the 300- and 600-meter races, helped the Blue Wave win the girls crown at the FCIAC track and field championships Wednesday in New Haven. (Darien Athletic Foundation Photo)

Darien’s Anna Sulger, who won the 300- and 600-meter races, helped the Blue Wave win the girls crown at the FCIAC track and field championships Wednesday in New Haven. (Darien Athletic Foundation Photo)

NEW HAVEN – Anna Sulger won two individual races and was on a winning relay team to help Darien’s girls defend their title, Westhill senior Claire Howlett was fantastic in sweeping the two distance events in record-setting fashion, and Danbury copped the boys’ crown at the FCIAC Indoor Track and Field championships on Wednesday night.

Darien collected 95 points to finish 35 points ahead of runner-up Staples in the girls’ meet while Danbury’s boys won with 89 points and runner-up Ridgefield was just 11 points behind at the Floyd Little Athletic Center.

Two-time defending champion Staples placed third with 69 points, Darien had 60 and McMahon completed the top five with 44 points in the boys’ meet.

Ridgefield placed third in the girls  meet with 47 points and was followed by Fairfield Warde (40) and Wilton (36).

Click here for photo gallery from the FCIAC championships

Sulger won the 300-meter run with a time of 41.3 and the 600 in 1:37.51, and she also ran the leadoff leg on Darien’s victorious 4×200 relay team (1:47.24) that included Maddie Schneider, Brittany Henry and Dillon Schoen.

Catherine Lacy collected 21 points for Darien in individual events when she won the long jump (17 feet, 9 1/2 inches), placed third in the 55-meter dash (7.55) and tied for third in the high jump (4-10).

Schneider and Jessica Thornbury swept the top two places in the pole vault for the Blue Wave as Schneider’s winning vault was 11-6 and Thornbury placed second with a 10-6. Taylor McDonald was runner-up for Darien in the shot put (31-5.75).

Howlett and Staples’ superb sophomore Hanna DeBalsi continue to add to their legacy as two of the best distance runners ever in the state along with adding another wonderful chapter in what has to be considered the greatest rivalry ever among FCIAC distance runners.

Howlett and DeBalsi placed 1-2, respectively, in the 1,600 and 3,200 while running away from the rest of the field and they both broke meet records in the process. Howlett won the 1,600 in 4:54.15 and DeBalsi had a 4:55.63. Howlett added the 3,200 title with a 10:28.56 and DeBalsi had a 10:30.79. Former Ridgefield star Heather Stevens set both of the previous records in 2008 — a 4:56:23 in the 1,600 and a 10:45.11 in the 3,200.

Last spring DeBalsi won both events at the FCIAC Outdoor Track and Field Championships. A week later DeBalsi won and Howlett was second in the 1,600, and then Howlett won the 3,200 and DeBalsi was runner-up to her at the state Class LL championship meet. Howlett then won both the 1,600 and 3,200 while DeBalsi was runner-up in both events at the State Open outdoor track meet as they both shattered the meet record in the 3,200. This past October, DeBalsi was the girls’ individual champion and Howlett placed second at the FCIAC Cross Country Championships and they both shattered the course record.

Sarah Boyd of Brien McMahon won the 55 hurdles (8.53) and placed second in the long jump (17-2).

The other individual champions in the girls’ meet were Danbury s Niema Riley in the 55 dash (7.43), Warde’s Cate Allen in the 1,000 (2:59.4), Greenwich s Sarah Cicchetti in the shot put (34-8æ) and Bridget Van dorsten of Staples in the high jump (5-2).

Tamia Taylor of Norwalk was runner-up in both the 55 dash (7.51) and 55 hurdles (9.08).

Tyler Scanlin of Staples placed second in the 600 (1:39.18) and ran the anchor leg on the winning 1,600 sprint medley relay team (4:20.73) that included Sarah Neckritz, Katherine Lieder and Olivia Wiener.

Ridgefield’s Laura Hergenrother was runner-up in the 1,000 (2:49.88) and she anchored the victorious 4×800 relay team (9:53.42) that included Hannah Mercorella, Sarah Mickool and Hannah Fleming.

Wilton won the 4×400 relay in 4:08.72 with the quartet of Annika Sheehan, Sarah Healy, Madison Peraino and Laine Parsons.

The other individual runner-up finishers in the girls’ meet were Greenwich s Anna Black in the 300 (42.82) and Warde’s Blossom Jean-Jocques in the high jump (5-0).

There was no one who won two individual events in the boys’ meet.

Chazz Winter won the 1,600 with a 1:26.37, Akim Moffett won the 55 hurdles in 7.74 while Mike Morrow was runner-up in both the high jump (6-2) and long jump (20-8) to lead Danbury to the boys’ team title. Leland Roberts placed second in the pole vault (12-0) for the champs.

Shnyden Pierre of McMahon was the meet’s highest scorer in individual events with 18 points accumulated via his victory in the 300 (35.5) and his second place in the 55 dash (6.67). He was close to being a double champion as Greenwich’s Austin Longi won the 55 dash with a 6.62. Pierre also ran the anchor leg of the winning 4×200 relay team (1:32.86) that included Tavon Kinder, Yvens Borno and Niko Petridis.

William Bordash won the 1,600 in 4:24.66 to lead Ridgefield to second place and the Tigers also got runner-up individual finishes from Austin Gilbert in the 3,200 (9:33.83) and Johnathan Keating in the 600 (1:27.36). Keating also ran the anchor leg on the winning 4×400 relay team (3:34.4) after Tom Guillaume, James Barile and Graeme Hewett ran the first three legs.

Darien junior Alex Ostberg won the 3,200 in 9:24.63 and ran the anchor leg that secured the victory for the 4×800 relay team (8:18.5) that included James Farrington, Jack Sparkman and Arthur Cassidy.

Darien had two other individual champions; Nicholas Lombardo in the high jump (6-4) and Spencer McKeough in the shot put (51-4). Armstrong Noonan placed second in the 1,600 (4:26.44) for the Blue Wave.

Spencer Brown of Wilton won the 1,000 with a 2:34.53 and ran a strong anchor leg on the victorious 1,600 sprint medley relay team (3:42.47) that included Peter Hermann, Marco Agudo and Berkeley Peterson. Hunter Shipp placed second in the shot put (47-10) for the Warriors.

Anthony Bravo won the long jump with a leap of 21-1 and Peter Elkind placed second in the 1,000 (2:36.91) to lead Staples.

Westhill’s Chris Rough vaulted 14 feet to win the pole vault.

Norwalk’s Hopeton Chambers placed second in the 55 hurdles (7.91). Austen Deery of New Canaan was runner-up in the 300 (36.5).

NOTES: Darien won the girls’ championship for the fifth time in the last eight years and now has eight conference crowns, which is just behind Wilton s record nine FCIAC championships. New Canaan has six conference titles while Ridgefield and Danbury each have five. Danbury and Staples have been dominant in racking up most of the boys’ team championships. Staples won two straight in 2012 and ’13 to extend its record to 16 FCIAC boys’ indoor track championships. Danbury is now just one behind at 15 and the Hatters have accumulated all of them since their first one in 1993 when they were co-champions with Staples. Stamford, the old Rippowam High School in Stamford, and Ridgefield are tied for third with three titles apiece.

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