Greenwich captures FCIAC boys and girls indoor track and field championships

NEW HAVEN – There previously had only been two high schools from the FCIAC which had its girls and boys indoor track and field teams win team titles at the conference championship meet the same year.

The Greenwich High School girls and boys teams combined to accomplish that feat by capturing the team titles at the 2023 FCIAC Indoor Track and Field Championships at Floyd Little Athletic Center on Feb. 2.

Danbury High School and Staples High School were the two schools which had pulled that off in previous years until Greenwich High School became the third school to do it this year.

The Greenwich girls won by 11 points over runner-up Staples to win their championship while the Greenwich boys captured their crown by finishing 20 points ahead of Trumbull.

Gianluca Bianchi set a meet record with his winning time of 35.41 seconds in the 300-meter dash and he was on two winning relay teams, including one which set a meet record, to lead Greenwich’s boys to the team championship with 78 points.

Trumbull scored 58 points as the runner-up in the boys meet and was followed in the top five by defending FCIAC champion Staples (53), Danbury (49) and Fairfield Warde (32).

Greenwich, which was runner-up last year, won its second FCIAC boys championship 51 years after winning the 1972 title in the second year the conference held a championship meet.

The Greenwich girls also ascended from finishing second last year to winning the team championship this year.

Kate Friedman won the mile and placed third in the two-mile run, Julia Gustafsson won the 600, and they were both on the victorious 4×800 relay team to help Greenwich’s girls win with 91 points.

Staples placed second with 80, Darien scored 44 points to place third by just a half point over Wilton (43.5) and defending champion Fairfield Ludlowe (41) was fifth.

Friedman had a winning mile time of 5:26.45 and she also got that third place in the two mile with an 11:47.23 in her third event of the meet. Gustafsson won the 600 in 1:30.48 and she ran the leadoff leg on that winning 4×800 relay team (10:04.69) which included Eliana Dablyn, Margaret McCooe and Friedman.

The Cardinals were victorious in four of the 15 events as Noelle Wilkinson, Skylar Aysseh, Gemma Hardwick, and Esme Daplyn teamed up to win the sprint medley relay in 4:21.53. Esme Daplyn placed second in the 1,000 (3:00.6) while Kaitlyn Fay also contributed a runner-up finish (300 dash in 42.14) for the champion Cardinals. This was their fourth FCIAC championship as they previously won in 1980, 2012 and 2018.

Jill Roberts of Wilton was the only athlete from either the girls or boys meets to win two individual events. Roberts won the 55-meter hurdles (8.34) by 0.43 of a second, she won the 55 dash (7.23) by 0.14 of a second, and then she placed third in the 300 (42.51).

Francine Stevens of Staples also had an excellent meet. Stevens won the 300 in 41.42 after she was runner-up to Roberts in the 55 dash (7.37), and she ran the anchor leg on the winning 4×200 relay (1:48.1) which included Mary Stevens, Valentina Davis, and Samantha Dewitt.

Fairfield Ludlowe’s longtime excellent jumper Tia Stapleton won the long jump with a jump of 17 feet, 4 inches and she placed third in the high jump (5-0).

Julia Blake of Darien won the 1,000 in 3:00.16 and came back at the end of the meet to run the leadoff leg on the Blue Wave’s winning 4×400 relay team (4:11.08) which included Camilla Lash, Anna Duarte, and Kate Demark, who had earlier placed second in the 600 (1:39.49).

Trumbull junior Kathryn Marchand won the two-mile run in 11:36.43. Marchand had an excellent finish to her cross country season this past fall. She won the Class LL state championship race and then placed second at the State Open.

The other two individual champions in the girls meet were Isabelle Blend of Staples in the pole vault (8-9) and New Canaan’s Lauren Smith in the shot put (35-5¾).

Bianchi, Greenwich’s superb long sprinter, is the defending New England boys champion in the 300 and he sure seems primed toward having a successful senior indoor postseason. Bianchi won the 300 at last year’s New England Championships with a 35.36 and he was just 0.05 of a second off that time while setting his new FCIAC championship meet record of 35.41.

Bianchi ran a solid pivotal second leg when he, leadoff runner Cameron Williams, Antonio Ciccarelli, and Harrison Goldenberg set the new meet record of 3:29.0 when they won the 4×400 relay by 5.66 seconds. Caleb You was the leadoff runner and followed by Bianchi, Williams, and Goldenberg on Greenwich’s victorious 4×200 relay team (1:33.06) which won by 2.54 seconds. Bianchi won the 300 at last year’s state Class LL championship meet and then he placed third at the State Open before winning the 300 at the New England Championships.

Parker Broderick of Fairfield Warde won the 1,000 with an outstanding time of 2:32.41 which is 1.26 seconds faster than last year’s winning time at the State Open and it is this season’s fastest time in the state. Broderick also ran his 800-meter anchor leg so fast that he and his fellow junior teammates Scott Francis, Otto O’Brien, and Yussuf Assouel set the new meet record of 3:41.78 when they won the 1,600-meter sprint medley relay by a comfortable margin of 3.18 seconds.

David Carillo won the two-mile run in 9:43.61, and fellow junior Liam O’Keefe placed second in the 300 (36.79) and was on runner-up 4×200 and 4×400 relay teams to lead Trumbull to second place.

High jumper Mason Sweeney (5-8) and shot putter Angelo Pisacreta (48-9) also contributed key runner-up finishes to help Trumbull’s Eagles finish five points ahead of third-place Staples.

Jonas Varnas won the 55-meter hurdles (8.24), and Benjamin Lorenz was the mile champion (4:27.52) to lead Staples.

Lucas Williams cleared 13 feet to win the pole vault for Ridgefield and the Tigers also got a victory in the 4×800 relay (8:19.53) from the quartet of Liam Edson, Magnus Manley, Charles Lovett, and Isaac Graber.

The other four boys who won individual events were Norwalk’s Jamar Alcena in the 55 dash (6.6), Brien McMahon’s Charles Prescott in the 600 (1:26.89), Wilton’s Andrew West in the shot put 49-4¾), and Fairfield Warde’s Joseph Coppola in the long jump (21-0¾)

The Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference Class L Indoor Track and Field Championships were scheduled to begin at 4:30 p.m. on Friday (Feb. 10), the Class LL Championships are set for 4 p.m. the next day (Saturday, Feb. 11), and the State Open Championships will commence noon on Feb. 18.

NOTES: Danbury High School has pulled off that girls/boys FCIAC championship sweep eight times while Staples achieved that feat in 1987. The two Danbury indoor track and field teams did it three years in a row from 2002-04 and they combined to sweep both titles again in 2010, 2011, 2016, 2017, and 2019. And both Danbury programs have the records for FCIAC team championships – nine for the girls team and the boys team got its record up to 18 after completing a run of six consecutive conference crowns from 2014-19. Defending boys champion Staples won its 16th FCIAC championship last year.

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