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Staples girls, Danbury boys win FCIAC track and field titles

NEW HAVEN – Hannah DeBalsi swept the three longest distance races and Elizabeth Knoll won two jumping events to lead the Staples girls team to its first conference team title since 1987 and the Danbury boys defended their team title at the recent 2014-15 FCIAC Indoor Track and Field Championships.

It was an outstanding meet in that there were five athletes who broke previous meet records in individual events, two individual records were tied, one relay team set a record while another relay team tied a meet record at Hillhouse High School’s Floyd Little Athletic Center.

In addition to DeBalsi and Knoll, Darien senior Anna Sulger was a double individual champion in the girls’ meet while Staples senior Anthony Bravo and Ridgefield senior Johnathan Keating were multiple individual champions in the boys’ meet.

DeBalsi, still a junior, won the 1,000-meter run with a time of 3 minutes, 2.52 seconds and she also won the 1,600 in 5:13.47 and the 3,200 in 10:50.41.

Knoll, a senior, tied a meet record when she won the high jump with a jump of 5 feet, 6 inches and she won the long jump (16-8.5).

DeBalsi and Knoll combined for 50 individual points and the Wreckers won with 92.5 points. Erica Hefnawy placed second in the 1,000 (3:04.13) and Bridget van Dorsten was runner-up in the high jump (5-0) for Staples.

Ridgefield was runner-up with 74 points, Danbury placed third with 56 points, just two more than Greenwich, and Darien was fifth with 51.

Sulger set meet and FCIAC records when she won the 300 in 40.43. Sulger also won the 600 in 1:37.03. Her teammate, Madaleine Schneider, won the pole vault (11-0).

Danbury senior Niema Riley won the 55-meter dash and she also ran the leadoff leg on the 4×200 relay team that tied the meet record time of 1:46.98.

St. Joseph junior Jada Harris set a meet record when she won the 55 hurdles in 8.52.

Sarah Cicchetti of Greenwich won the shot put (39-3).

The other girls who had runner-up finishes were Fairfield Warde’s Gabie Galetta (3,200, 11:53.48) and Stephanie Sheehan (55 hurdles, 8.79), Ridgefield’s Sofie Sogaard (long jump, 16-4), Wilton’s Mary Lynch (1,600, 5:25.02), Danbury’s Leah Sarkisian (600, 1:37.44), Norwalk’s Tamia Taylor (55 dash, 7.42), New Canaan’s Beth Kelley (pole vault, 8-6) and St. Joseph’s Andrea Galeano (shot put, 34-7.75).

Danbury senior Matthew Andrew set a meet record when he won the 55-meter dash in 6.57 and he anchored the victorious 4×200 relay team (1:33.73) while teammate Mike Morrow was runner-up in the long jump (20-11) and high jump (6-2) to lead the Hatters to their championship in the boys’ meet.

Also for Danbury, which cruised to the title with 104 points, Chase Malley placed second in the 55 hurdles (8.6) and Leland Roberts took second in the pole vault (13-6).

The Ridgefield and Staples boys each scored 77 points to tie for second place. Darien was fourth with 57 and Brien McMahon placed fifth with 25.

Bravo racked up 28 points with a pair of victories and a runner-up finish to lead Staples’ Wreckers. Bravo broke meet and FCIAC records when he won the long jump with a 23-10. He also won the high jump (6-4) and placed second in the 55 dash (6.58). Bravo’s teammate, Sean Driscoll, won the 55 hurdles (8.45).

Keating and Kristian Sogaard led Ridgefield’s Tigers to their tie for second place with Staples. Keating won the two long sprints – the 300 (36.35) and 600 (1:23.72). Kristian Sogaard won the 1,000 (2:35.31), he was on the 1,600 sprint medley relay team that set a new meet record time of 3:41.94 and he was also on the victorious 4×400 relay team.

Darien senior Alex Ostberg and Brien McMahon junior Eric Van der Els of Brien McMahon each set new meet records and had excellent meets in the distance events.

Van der Els got his record of 4:19.98 when he outkicked the runner-up Ostberg (4:20.87) in an exciting 1,600 race. Ostberg then won the 3,200 in 9:23.21 to break his own meet record of 9:24.63 that he set last year. Van der Els placed third in the 3,200 (9:27.15).

Darien junior Armstrong Noonan was second in 3,200 (9:23.46) to also get under Ostberg’s previous record and Noonan placed third in the 1,600 (4:22.28).

Westhill senior Chris Rough tied the meet record in the pole vault with his vault of 14 feet, 6 inches.

Evan Adams of Norwalk won the shot put (53-9).

The other boys who had runner-up finishes in individual events included Jack Tyrrell of Darien (shot put, 49-8.25), McMahon’s Daniel Linehan (300, 36.62) and Trumbull’s Tyler Gleen (600, 1:25.36).

Staples' Hannah DeBalsi was a triple-winner at the FCIAC track and field championships, winning the 1,000-, 1,600-, and 3,200-meter runs. (Dave Stewart/Hersam Acorn Newspapers Photo)

Staples’ Hannah DeBalsi was a triple-winner at the FCIAC track and field championships, winning the 1,000-, 1,600-, and 3,200-meter runs. (Dave Stewart/Hersam Acorn Newspapers Photo)

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