Stonington boys have pair of champions and finish third in Class M indoor meet

New Haven — The boys' and girls' 55-meter hurdles and 55 dash finals were run rapid fire at Friday night's Class M state championship indoor track and field meet, with each group of runners asked to exit off to their left when they were finished to make room for the next group.

Stonington High School's Cam Whalen led off, winning the boys' 55 hurdles in 7.75 seconds, a pulsating one one-hundredth of a second ahead of Hillhouse's Deshaune Poole, and promptly exited stage left.

Waterford's Sophia Podeszwa then won the girls' 55 hurdles and was about to follow directions, too, when she saw a group of teammates jumping up and down nearby and chose the path to jubilation instead. Podeszwa suddenly veered off, sneaking out through what was the entrance to the track, and was quickly lifted off her feet by her friends.

Podeszwa won the hurdles in 8.58 seconds, her first career state championship.

“I feel amazing. I feel so good,” said Podeszwa, a senior. “I guess I just kept going. I just didn't take a hurdle off. … I've done well in the past. To win something, it just feels a little bit better.”

East Lyme's Dylan Hatajik followed in the next race with a victory in the 55 dash in 6.59 seconds, also winning by .01, as one after another for those few moments at least, Eastern Connecticut Conference runners dug in.

Stonington's Joey Hinckley added a title in the boys' pole vault (12 feet, 6 inches), as the Bears finished third in Class M with 52 points, trailing Hillhouse, which defended its title with 68 points, and Lyman Hall with 58. Whalen was second in the 300 in 36.20 seconds and joined Hinckley, Nick Benjamin and Graham Johnstone to claim second place in the 4x200 relay.

The Bears were also third in the 4x800 relay behind Jason Kilcoyne, Steve DeVoe, Chase Flynn and Blake Edwards, despite being seeded seventh, and Ben Abely, Johnstone, Benjamin and Hammond teamed for a third-place finish in the sprint medley relay.

The Hillhouse girls won the division championship overwhelmingly, scoring 104 points to 40 for Rocky Hill. East Lyme was the top local finisher, fifth with 27 points.

Stonington sisters Jessica and Megan Detwiler, meanwhile, won a state championship side by side Friday as part of the first-place girls' 4x800 relay team, the second event of the meet. Megan, a freshman who was just added to the relay, led off. She was followed by Emma Small and Lindsey Orr, with Jess, a junior, running the anchor leg. The four finished in 9:52.86.

“I knew Meg would be a good addition,” Jess Detwiler said. “We were seeded fourth, so I wasn't expecting us to win. We finished 25 seconds faster than our seed time. … Our parents missed it, too; it was really unfortunate.”

“I was on my toes, cheering,” Megan said of watching the final three legs. “It was very intense. There was a girl coming on.”

Overall, Whalen and Hatajik, lightning bolts a week ago at the ECC meet, were among the fastest again.

Hatajik, coming off a bout with the flu, also finished second in the long jump (20-10.75) and was sixth in the 300 (36.84).

“It's over just after it starts,” Hatajik said of the 55. “There's no room for error. You've got to do everything right. I had a bad preliminary time. I don't know. I was seeded third. I had to really focus on the final.”

“I've been looking forward to it all year,” Whalen said of running Poole. “We didn't run our best in the prelims. I knew (the final) was going to be a good race. … I always go see my coaches (afterward) to see what I did wrong. This time they said, 'Good race.'”

East Lyme's Sam Whittaker was second in the 1,600 (4:27.74), followed by Ledyard's Zak King in third (4:34.36), among other top finishers for the boys. East Lyme's Ryan McCauley was third in the 600 (1:24.43) and Ledyard's Collin Wiltshire tied for third in the high jump (5-8). Ledyard's Robbie Petriel was fourth in the long jump (20-2.25).

For the girls, East Lyme's Claire Mason was second in the 1,000 (3:08.87), East Lyme's Rasa Kirvelevicus was fourth in the 1,600 (5:29.11) and the Vikings were third in the 4x800 (9:56.04) and fourth in the 4x400 (4:14.56).

v.fulkerson@theday.com

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