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Ledyard - For Joe Carter, competing for Ledyard High School in a track meet on the opening afternoon of the spring season Wednesday was the perfect accent to the day.
Earlier, Carter signed a letter of intent to attend the University of Rhode Island and run for the men's track team. He did so at a ceremony in Ledyard's Standish Gymnasium, which was dotted with the faces of friends, family and fellow students.
Carter was one of three Division I recruits from the Ledyard track program who took part in a signing ceremony prior to Wednesday's opener. He joined fellow seniors Chenoa Sebastian, who will attend St. John's, and Lauren Scahill, who will attend UConn.
"Track is a big thing for me. It's gotten me through high school and it's bringing me to the next level," Carter said. "It's just one of those sports that always keeps me calm."
"I'm glad I had two close friends to go through it with," Sebastian said. "I'm glad we had a meet today. It was really exciting to go from signing to our opening meet of the season."
Carter won four events, as Ledyard topped Montville 106-40 and Windham 88-61. He took the 100 meters (10.8 seconds), 200 (22.7), long jump (19 feet, 7 inches) and triple jump (38-10). Windham defeated Montville 80-65.
Carter was the Class M champion a year ago in the 100, 200 and as part of the Colonels' winning 4x100 relay.
Sebastian won the 100 (15.0) and the 100 hurdles (15.2) in the girls' meet Wednesday, swept by Montville. Montville defeated Ledyard 98-53 and Windham 90-60, while Windham also beat Ledyard 93-52.
Sebastian was the 2013 Class M and State Open champion in the 100 hurdles.
Scahill, who was fourth in the ECC last year in the 1,600, did not compete Wednesday, recovering from a stress fracture in her foot that sidelined her for all of indoor track season.
Together, according to longtime girls' track coach Dave Tetlow, the three athletes own 40 program records at Ledyard.
Each of them, too, have family ties to the schools with which they signed.
Carter's father, Joseph Carter IV, grew up near URI and the family visited the area often to see relatives. Carter would like to major in kinesiology or physical therapy, he said.
Sebastian, meanwhile, one of six children, has two sisters who live in Manhattan near Times Square, one a fashion model and one a budding neurosurgeon. With St. John's in nearby Queens, Sebastian said she can see herself visiting her sisters in her free time. Sebastian wishes to major in education.
Scahill, who will compete in cross country for the first time, as well as indoor and outdoor track, joins her sister Ashleigh at UConn. She is uncertain of the major she will choose.
"It's a great feeling," boys' coach Jose "Pasta" Sanabria said of the athletes entering the Division I ranks. "That stems from their abilities ... It's a great incentive for the younger kids, too, to work and know that, 'We can do something.'"
"They're extremely talented," Tetlow said.
Both coaches said that Ledyard will have a tough time vying for the title in the ECC Large Division, moving up this season from the ECC Medium Division where the boys were the reigning champions.
There's no taking away from the stars of the show, however. Not Wednesday anyway.
"We've run together since we were freshmen. It's really exciting," Scahill said. "It's crazy."
• In other highlights from the meet, Ledyard's Bryce Hedman won the 1,600 (4:57), Aaron Norica the 800 (2:14.5) and the two joined Max Armstrong and Trey DeAndrade to finish first in the 4x800, as Ledyard swept.
On the girls' side, Montville's Abbey McAdams led the way with wins in the 800 (2:48.4), high jump (4-10) and as a member of the winning 4x400 and 4x800 relay teams. Ledyard's Ari Fustini won the triple jump (30-2) and the javelin (94-4).