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Everything happens quickly at the Eastern Connecticut Conference indoor track meets, which means coaches need to come up with a plan significantly in advance.
For Norwich Free Academy coach Chad Johnson, whose varsity and junior varsity boys’ and girls’ teams totaled more than 160 athletes this winter, there is also a matter of giving a few pep talks.
“Kids who wouldn’t score at the state meet can score at this meet,” said Johnson, who will bring more than 50 boys and girls to Saturday’s ECC Large Division Championship. “That’s my favorite part about it. You take some of the kids aside and say, ‘You realize you can score.’
“And we have a rule that if you score at the ECC meet, you get your varsity letter. There’s kids who might not think they’re varsity and one steps up and fills that role. That’s what it comes down to for whoever wins the meet, whoever does a better job filling that role.”
The Medium/Small Division meet begins at 10 a.m. at the Coast Guard Academy and features Griswold, Killingly, Ledyard, Lyman Memorial, Montville, Plainfield, St. Bernard, Stonington, Tourtellotte, Waterford and Windham.
The Large Division meet follows at the same venue beginning at 4 p.m. and features NFA, Bacon Academy, East Lyme, Fitch, New London and Woodstock Academy.
NFA’s Brianna Lenehan is the top seed in the girls’ 600- and 1,000-meter events in the Large meet, with teammate Brittany Grabill the No. 1 seed in the 55 dash and long jump and Fitch’s Brandy LeClair seeded first in the 1,600 and 3,200.
In the Medium/Small meet, Griswold’s Alyssa Brehler is the top seed in the girls’ 1,000, 1,600 and 3,200 and Montville’s Shatajah Wattley No. 1 in the 55 dash and the 300. Griswold’s Mark Mackin, the ECC cross country champion, is the top seed in the boys’ 1,000, 1,600 and 3,200, as well.