The North Haven indoor track program recorded three first-place finishes at the recent Southern Connecticut Conference Western Sectional Championship, receiving wins from Matt Marcarelli in the shot put and fellow senior John Spencer in the 55 hurdles on the boys' side with Kristina Klemenz prevailing in the shot put for the girls.
Marcarelli's win was his second straight at the West Sectional meet as his distance of 48 feet-7½ inches bested runner-up Matt Manzione's mark of 42-7. Sophomore Patrick Vanacore (3rd, personal record of 42-5½) and Dominic Valentino (6th, 39-0) also scored points in that event for Marc Celmer's squad at Floyd Little Athletic Center on Jan. 24.
Meanwhile, Spencer also won at the meet for the second consecutive campaign, running an 8.03 in the hurdles to top Branford's Santino Giannini (8.11) and top-seed Jared Keck (8.16). Steve Cofrancesco (4th, 8.29) and Nick Sbabo (5th, 8.73) also scored by virtue of placing in the top six to help North Haven finish third as a team out of 10 competing squads with 73.50 points. Xavier won the meet with 119 points, 29 more than second-place Branford.
"Matt didn't have his best performance, but it was still a quality one and he has been consistently in the high 40s all season and on the doorstep of 50, which he will hopefully get in the next week or two. John is a talented and very competitive young man who wasn't the top seed going into the finals, but still beat the kids from Branford," said Coach Celmer. "The boys' team competed hard and scored more points than last year with some outstanding performances."
Then there was the showing put forth by Klemenz, who triumphed in the shot put by tossing a personal record 34-8¾, more than three feet better than East Haven's Destiny Coward (31-7¾). Klemenz led a crew that notched six of the seven top places as right behind Coward was Kathryn Ionta in third (30-5), Mary Casey in fourth (29-11¾), Sabrina Coppola in fifth (29-9), Kam Larkins in sixth (28-9¾), and Carly Flannery in seventh (28-3¼). As a team, the Indians finished fifth of nine clubs with 49.33 points. Branford won the meet by totaling 107, ahead of runner-up Mercy's tally of 85.
"Kristina is one of the bets success stories our girls' program has had in a long time. Last year at this meet, she was sixth and only threw 26 feet and so she added eight feet with her throw this year. All of our shot putters did an excellent job as they scored 23 of a possible 31 points in the event," Celmer said. "Overall, I'm happy with the girls' team. They're working hard and have come a long way from last year. I hope to see them do some really good things through the rest of the season."
All totaled, North Haven's girls saw 24 athletes qualify for the SCC Championship that will be held at the same venue at 4 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 1. 28 athletes qualified for the Indians' boys.
Additionally scoring points for the girls' team were Emi Kanyo in the high jump (2nd, 5-0) and long jump (5th, 14-9 ¾), Brianna Carfora in the high jump (4th, season best of 4-6), Abby Tantorski in the 300 (6th, personal record of 45.21), and Alex Ford in the 600 (6th, personal record of 1:55.20).
In relays, the 4x400 quartet of Tantorski (PR split of 66.5, Shannon Carboni, Ford, and Kristen Fournier ran to fourth place (4:29.06); the 4x800 of Carboni, Sara Rademacher (PR split), Ford, and Elizabeth Stern (PR split) finished third (10:47.43); and the 1,600 sprint medley of Nicole Nunez, Jenna Volpe, Christina Sanzari, and Stern finished fifth (4:48.79).
Coach Celmer additionally noted the performances of Alexa Mastriano in the high jump (8th, personal record of 4-4), Erica Salvo in the 600 (9th, 2:00.14), Dawn Hubbell in the 1,600 (7th, season best of 5:57.46), and Zoe Esponda in the 3,00 (9th, personal record of 13:49.84) as highlights for his team.
Also scoring points for the boys were Jonathan Gonzalez in the 600 (4th, 1:28.79), Dave Goodrich in the 1,000 (5th, 2:54.55), Raymond Rich-Fiondella in the 1,600 (4:48.03), Andrew Iovanna in the high jump (3rd, personal record of 5-4), Dillon McManus (3rd, 9-6), Dan Boney (4th, 9-6), and Aria Elahi (5th, 9-0) in the pole vault; and Chris Parisella in the long jump (18-11¾).
For relays, the 4x200 unit of Cofrancesco, Josh Bennitt, Marcus Spignesi, and John Spencer was fourth (1:39.99); the 4x400 of Gonzalez, Andrew Iovanna, Goodrich, and Spencer took third (3:43.77); the 4x800 quartet of Gonzalez, DelVecchio, Rich-Fiondella, and Goodrich placed fourth (8:38.62); and the SMR of Victor Kwentoh, Nick Rodriguez, Bennitt, and Corey Powers came in sixth (4:12.06).