Greenwich’s Safir Scott strikes gold, several FCIAC athletes star at New England track championships

Greenwich senior Safir Scott won the high jump when he cleared 6 feet, 9 inches and was the sole individual champion from the FCIAC at the New England High School Indoor Track and Field Championships on March 4 at the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center in Boston.

Greenwich junior Emily Phillippides placed second in the girls’ meet while Trumbull senior Tyler Gleen and Fairfield Warde senior William Brisman had runner-up finishes in the boys’ meet. That trio and Scott were among many FCIAC athletes who capped off successful seasons which consisted of victories and many other high placings in championship meets this winter.

Several conference athletes also had strong performances and high finishes at the 2017 New Balance National Indoor Championships during the weekend of March 10-12 at The Armory in New York.

Malcolm Going, Daniel Campbell and Terrell Cunningham of Danbury were teammates on two winning boys’ relay teams at the New England Championships. Sean-Michael Parkinson ran the leadoff leg on the 4×400 relay team which won by the slimmest of margins – just 6/1,000ths of a second – as Danbury was clocked in 3:22.813 while the runner-up Newton North (Mass.) team had a 3:22.819. Trevor Reed led off for the victorious 4×800 relay team (7:57.6). Cunningham ran the anchor leg on both relay teams.

Danbury’s same 4×400 quartet of Parkinson, Going, Campbell and Cunningham went on to lower its time to a season-best 3:22.04 a week later at the New Balance Nationals. That same foursome, in that same order, previously won the 4×400 relay at the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference Class LL and State Open championship meets.

Most of the conference’s elite athletes did the right thing in that they steadily improved their performances throughout the last month of the season until they peaked with season-best times and heights in their respective events at the New England Championships.

Scott won his New England high jump title while he also competed in and placed sixth in the long jump (21.75). He passed on attempting the first two heights of the high jump, got into the competition at the height of 6-7 and cleared it on his second attempt. Three other competitors cleared that height, Scott cleared his season-best height of 6-9 on his first attempt and the other three all failed to clear that height on their three attempts.

Scott later placed seventh at the New Balance Nationals when he cleared his first attempt at 6-7 but then missed his three attempts at 6-9. Earlier in the postseason Scott swept the high jump and long jump at the state Class LL championship meet and he won the high jump and placed second in the long jump at the State Open. Scott cleared 6-2 in the high jump to win his Class LL title and he won with a 6-4 at the State Open.

Phillippides got her runner-up finish at the New England Championships with a season-best time of 2:52.56 in the girls 1,000-meter run. She wrapped up her great year by running a fabulous 2:13.06 anchor leg in which she passed several girls and pulled Greenwich’s 4×800 relay team up to a finish of fourth place at the New Balance Nationals. Her teammates – Zoe Harris, Genevieve DeWinter and Hetty McMillan – all ran strong legs before getting the baton to Phillippides.

Phillippides previously won the 1,000 in 2:58.8 and placed second in the 1,600 with a 5:09.91 at the state Class LL championships and then she won State Open 1,000 in 2:58.99.

Gleen got his season-best time of 1:19.52 in the 600 when he placed second at the New England Championships and then he had an outstanding time of 1:56.53 in the 800 when placed 21st at the New Balance Nationals. Gleen won the State Open 600 in 1:21.68 after he won the event with a 1:21.41 at the state Class LL championships.

Brisman won the state Class LL 3,200 with a time of 9:26.47 which was just .70 of a second slower than the meet record. Then he lowered that time by slightly more than 10 seconds at the State Open with a 9:16.26 to help him win a great race against Staples’ super senior Zakeer Ahmad (9:16.46). Brisman continued his improvement at the New England Championships when he was runner-up in the 2-mile with a 9:13.55.

Ahmad placed eighth in the 2-mile run (9:28.88) and also ran a strong anchor leg of 1:57.07 to help the Staples 4×800 relay team place 13th (7:56.14) at the New Balance Nationals. William Landowne, Benjamin Seiple and Brian MacCordy ran the first three legs of the 4×800 for the Wreckers at the national meet.

Wilton senior Aaron Breene put the capper on his great season when he placed third in the 1,000 with a season-best 2:31.72 at the New England Championships after he placed fifth at the State Open with a 2:33.94.

Norwalk’s excellent junior hurdler Penda M’Bengue placed third in the 55-meter hurdles (8.36) at the New England Championships after she placed second at the state Class LL championships (8.56) and third at the State Open with her season-best time of 8.27.

Ridgefield senior Katherine Jasminski and her junior teammate, Anna Landler were teammates on a pair of relay teams which placed very high at the New England Championships.

They were joined by sophomore Gabriella Viggiano and freshman Tess Pisanelli on the runner-up 4×800 relay team with a season-best time of 9:14.55 which was a huge improvement on the State Open winning time of 9:29.73 from that same quartet. Landler and Jasminski teamed up with freshman Emma Langis and senior Alexandra Damron on the 4×400 team which placed third with another season-best time of 3:59.83.


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