Fitch's Latham wins three events at Class MM track and field meet
Middletown - Tyler Latham wasn't positive he could get over his last hurdle.
When the Class MM state track and field meet began Tuesday at Middletown High School, Latham found himself in the preliminary heat of the 110-meter high hurdles, followed by the 110 hurdle finals, a flight of the javelin, the finals of the javelin and then, finally, the 300 hurdles.
He sprawled across the finish line of the 300 hurdles, a three-time champion, two-time meet record-holder.
"That last hurdle I was tired," said Latham, a Fitch High School senior headed to Division I Central Connecticut State University next year. "Going into the last hurdle, I had to stutter step, which is the last thing you want to do. I almost fell before the finish line.
"… I was at the javelin before and I saw the milers had one lap to go (in the event before the 110 hurdles finals). I said, 'I gotta go.' I waved to the coaches and they came and brought my blocks down (to the starting line). I had absolutely nothing left (at the end). That's never happened before."
Latham won the 110 hurdles in 14.92 seconds, the 300 hurdles in a meet record 38.72 seconds and the javelin with a meet-record throw of 194 feet, 5 inches, leading Fitch to a fourth-place finish with 64 points.
Bunnell was first with 76.5 points, Hillhouse second with 69 and New Fairfield third with 65.
Fitch was followed by fellow Eastern Connecticut Conference teams Ledyard in fifth (48), New London sixth (45), Bacon Academy seventh (35), East Lyme ninth (32) and Waterford 10th (26).
Windsor wrapped up the girls' team title with 90 points. East Lyme was fourth with 35.
Aside from Latham and Ledyard's Chenoa Sebastian, the hurdlers, the ECC was also represented by the sprinters.
Waterford's Julio Gil-Martinez took the 100 (11.04) and the 200 (22.51), with the league going 1-2 in the 100 and 1-2-3 in the 200. New London's Orrin Parke won the 400 (50.64) after finishing second in the 100 and third in the 200. Ledyard's Joe Carter won the long jump (21-1.5) and was second in the 200 and third in the triple jump.
Ledyard's Bryce Hedman won the 1,600 (4:30.61) and East Lyme's Andrew Peitzsch (13-3) the pole vault. Sebastian won the girls' 100 hurdles in 14.66, a school record.
Fitch, the ECC boys' team champion, scored 23 points in the javelin, with Devante Anderson finishing second and Bobby Johnston fourth behind Latham. Brian Robinson was fourth in the discus and coach Rich Kosta was pleased with his 4x400 relay team, which closed the meet by finishing seventh out of the second-fastest heat.
"We've been second the last two years; it would have been nice to win it, but we had a great meet," said Kosta, whose team led briefly after Latham's first in the 300 hurdles was posted.
Latham broke the records formerly belong to Chris Bogie of Darien in the 300 hurdles (39.40, 2006) and Kevin Gilhuly of Sheehan in the javelin (185-11, 2009).
"This was a big day for him," Kosta said. "He was running back and forth. He has the unique ability to focus. … He powered himself to the finish (in the 300 hurdles)."
Gil-Martinez, meanwhile, has been on fire since his dad gave him a pep talk during the ECC meet and told him he looked like he wasn't having fun. And, well, he wasn't. He hasn't lost since.
"I love them both; they're great guys," Gil-Martinez said of Parke and Carter. "We're always together before we start out the race and we say it doesn't matter who wins as long as we go 1-2-3. I'm listening to what my dad said and trying to have some fun."
Other top finishers in the boys' meet were New London's Nico Ramos, second in the high jump; New London's Jelani Lucas, second in the long jump; Ledyard's Brandon Chesnut, second in the discus; East Lyme's Josh Leffingwell, tied for second in the pole vault; and Hedman, fourth in the 3,200.
For the girls, East Lyme's Gianna Folz was second in the high jump, fourth in the triple jump and fourth in the 100 hurdles. East Lyme's Jenna Schumacher was second in the javelin and sixth in the shot put and Sebastian was third in the long jump.
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