2019 H.S. girls' outdoor track and field preview capsules
ECC DIVISION I
Coach: Carl Reichard (31st season)
Key returnees: Sr. Saige Deveau (sprints), So. Katherine Harris (sprints), Jr. Samantha Lyster (distance), Jr. Lena Osso (jumps, hurdles), Sr. Phoebe Provencher (distance), Jr. Sofia Riker (jumps, hurdles), Sr. Katie Solinsky (jumps), So. Ashley Zelesky (hurdles), So. Danielle Zelesky (hurdles).
Top newcomers: Sr. Sydney Buckley (throws), Jr. Megan Delillo (pole vault), Jr. Margaret Dunne (sprints), Jr. Gillian Goodwin (distance), Jr. Anna McCusker (pole vault, javelin), Jr. Darya Mikusova (hurdles).
Outlook: Numbers are up and the Vikings are coming off a strong indoor season when they edged rival NFA for the ECC Division I title. Reichard also loves East Lyme's mix of experienced athletes and talented newcomers. The Vikings' goal, as always, is to challenge for the Division I title and be a factor in the ECC championship meet again. The new Division I lineup includes East Lyme, Fitch, NFA and Woodstock.
Coach: Denise Descheneaux (2nd season)
Key returnees: Jr. Abby Rogers (sprints, mid-distance), Sr. Janaya Burley (sprints, mid-distance), Jr. Sydney Comstock (sprints, mid-distance), Jr. Paige Pollard (sprints, mid-distance), Jr. Riley Marquis (sprints, mid-distance), Jr. Ava Paprocki (sprints, mid-distance), Sr. Julia Adrian (distance), Sr. Da'Zohanique Cardwell (throws), So. J'onnelle Davis (throws), So. Deja Driscoll-Smith (throws).
Top newcomers: Fr. Ajanae Merchant-Oates (sprints), Fr. Allyah Benros (sprints).
Outlook: The Falcons must replace three All-Area athletes in Celeste Duffy (discus), Madison Powe (4x100 relay) and Lily Johnson (4x100 relay), but Rogers and Burley were part of that relay team and return to lead a talented group of sprinters. Fitch might not be on the level of East Lyme and NFA this year, but there is young talent and Descheneaux is "looking forward to building up a strong team over the next couple of years."
Norwich Free Academy
Coach: Kara Kochanski-Vendola (17th season)
Key returnees: Sr. Allyson Lewis, Sr. Eve Buckridge, Sr. Leah Mikkelson, Sr. Rachel Zelasky, Sr. Ashley Grayson, Jr. Paige Martin, Jr. Madison Martin, Jr. Emma Grace Ricketts, Jr. Samantha Tracey, So. Erin Jedele, So. Kayla Park, So. Hannah Elliot, So. Tahlia Bryant, Jr. Niela Sylvestre, Sr. Emmalee Fritzsche, Jr. Katie Aydt, Jr. Angela Ni.
Top newcomers: Sr. Jazlynn Toussaint, So. Makayla Kelly, Fr. Jasmyn Bransford, Fr. Taylor Ladyga, So. Sherland Alexandre, Fr. Charlize Russell.
Outlook: A talented senior class led by Lewis, The Day's 2018 All-Area Athlete of the Year and one of the state's elite high jumpers, looks to lead the Wildcats to a big season in the ECC and in Class LL, while Kochanski-Vendola believes NFA has a large group of athletes capable of qualifying for the State Open. Paige Martin (pole vault) and Park (800, 3,200) were All-Area selections last spring and Martin won the State Open indoor pole vault title in February.
ECC DIVISION II
Coach: Dave Tetlow (45th season)
Key returnees: Sr. Miranda Chesnut (discus, javelin), Sr. Elise Derusha (javelin), Jr. Olivia Crawford (hurdles, sprints), Jr. Abby Millbach (jumps, sprints), Jr. Ally Tran (distance), Jr. Tajeah Winston (shot put, discus), So. Nadia Helme (sprints), So. Kira Kassim (javelin), So. Teia Lee (400), So. Natalie Poulton (throws), So. Paylynn Sormude (jumps).
Top newcomers: Sr. Abby Campbell (sprints, hurdles), Jr. Ann Leandri (shot, discus), Jr. Dominque Martinez (high jump), So. Emma Longton (shot), So. Emma Pratt (pole vault), Fr. Emily Evans (mid-distance), Fr. Christina Fain (hurdles), Fr. Ailish Farquhar (hurdles), Fr. Katherine Harren (mid-distance), Fr. Reanna Robbins (mid-distance), Fr. Victoriza Schweitzer (distance), Fr. Jessica Vajdos (sprints).
Outlook: The Colonels join New London, Waterford, Bacon and Killingly in the new Division II and Tetlow believes his team has the talent and depth to be in the mix for the title. Crawford had a strong sophomore season earning ECC Division all-star honors in the 100 and 300 hurdles.
Coach: Samantha Wasilefsky (2nd season)
Key returnees: Sr. Araya Munoz (sprints, hurdles), Sr. Marissa Parker (throws), Jr. Eliza Brown (throws).
Top newcomers: So. Jaden Burns (sprints), So. Gillian Melville (distance), Fr. Anissah White (sprints), Fr. Akeena Farrior-Parcak (sprints).
Outlook: Numbers are much better for the Whalers, who expect to enjoy a competitive season in Division II. Munoz, White and Farrior-Parcak were part of New London's 4x200 indoor relay team which qualified for the Class M state meet, while Parker and Brown will be solid in the throws. Newcomers Melville (distance) and Burns (sprints) are expected to step in and help the Whalers, too.
Coach: Jay Criscuolo (7th season)
Key returnees: Sr. Jenny Keth (sprints, jumps), Sr. Ellie Lokken (jumps), Sr. Cat Saucier (distance), Sr. Jess Nadeau (throws), So. Alicia Sanders (sprints, mid-distance).
Top newcomers: So. Lillie Abramowicz (sprints), Fr. Maddy Myers (sprints), Fr. Kate Lange (throws).
Outlook: The Lancers graduated two of the ECC's best all-around athletes in Sophia Podeszwa and Zora LaBonte, but Waterford has more athletes in the program this spring and some strong senior leadership. Keth and Sanders were part of the Lancers' 4x400 relay team in 2018 that earned All-Area honors and Criscuolo has some athletes that should make noise in the conference and at the state level.
ECC DIVISION III
Coach: Joel Finnegan (17th season)
Key returnees: Sr. Lauren Ross (hurdles, jumps), Sr. Michaela MacCracken (sprints), Sr. Mady Whittaker (distance), Sr. Savanna Perkins (throws), Sr. Emma Giurleo (distance), Sr. Jamila Linder (sprints), Jr. MacKenzie Clark (jumps, sprints), Jr. Lexi Peck (sprints).
Top newcomers: Sr. Lauren Velasquez (sprints), Sr. Kara Beaupre (sprints), Sr. Alana Chappelle (jumps), Jr. Jenny Alarcon (throws).
Outlook: The Indians are now part of the ECC's new Division III with Stonington, Griswold, Plainfield and Windham. They will be led by a dynamic senior class that includes Whittaker, the reigning ECC champion in the 1,600 and one of the state's top distance performers, along with Ross, Perkins and MacCracken. Finnegan thinks Montville will be particularly strong in the jumps and sprints, and is looking forward to having a large freshman class push his veterans as the season progresses.
Coach: Ben Bowne (6th season)
Key returnees: Jr. Gwen Andersen (sprints), Sr. Aliza Bell (throws), So. Kaleigh Bolduc (hurdles), Sr. Jessica Detwiler (mid-distance), Sr. Keegan Donohue (sprints, pole vault), Jr. Mary Gray (distance), Sr. Alex Jefson (hurdles), Sr. Lindsey Orr (distance), Jr. Zoe Ribeiro (throws), So. Lila Rich (jumps), Jr. Julia Rich (mid-distance), Sr. Emma Small (mid-distance), Sr. Lucy Sternberg (sprints, jumps), Sr. Lexa Van Duine (throws), Sr. Izzy Yarnall (throws).
Top newcomers: So. Vanessa Benjamin (sprints), Fr. Piper Doyle (sprints), Fr. Nancy Inthasit (sprints), So. Ellie Korinek (jumps), Fr. Lindsey Labbe (mid-distance), So. Sasha Oakes (distance), So. Teagan O'Brien (jumps), So. Mady West (sprints).
Outlook: The Bears did graduate Kate Hall, an All-Area pick and an elite sprinter, but they return a veteran senior group that make them a threat as the ECC and Class M state levels. Bell, a returning All-Area pick, is the reigning Class M champion in the javelin while Orr, Detwiler and Small have been part of a pair of state championship 4x800 relay teams. Sprinkle in some new talent and Stonington has the ability to have success in every event.
ECC DIVISION IV
Coach: Raymond Forrester (5th season)
Key returnees: Jr. Brigid Kunka (distance), Jr. Sophia Duhig (mid-distance), Jr. Gracey Reilly (distance), Jr. Hope Geise (jumps), Jr. Bella McClure (jumps), Jr. Allison Codner (jumps), So. Serena Britner (distance), So. Juliet Brady (sprints), So. Rachel Kunka (sprints), So. Aaliyah Masters (hurdles, jumps).
Top newcomers: Jr. Olivia Massad (throws), Fr. Adrianna Graul (mid-distance), Fr. Lillian Turner (distance), Fr. Sophia Boras (jumps), Fr. Hallie Jennings (jumps), Fr. Alexis Duyan (sprints), Fr. Katie Power (sprints).
Outlook: The Saints have more depth this season, which should make them a threat in the ECC's new Division IV with Lyman Memorial, Putnam and Tourtellotte. Brigid Kunka, Duhig, Britner and Turner are all experienced in the distance events and relays while Brady and Rachel Kunka are the top returning sprinters. They are all coming off solid indoor seasons. St. Bernard should be in the mix for a division title, especially with improvement in the field events.
Coach: Beth Wallace (2nd season)
Key returnee: Jr. Ana Julia DaSilva (distance).
Top newcomer: Fr. Minna Zhao (sprints).
Outlook: The Eagles will be rebuilding, especially after graduating the versatile Rhema Phillips, one of the Connecticut Technical Conference's top athletes and a member of The Day's All-Area team in the triple jump. Grasso Tech doesn't have great numbers, so its goal is on individual performances and preparing its athletes for the CTC and state meets.
Coach: Aron D'Aquila (14th season)
Key returnees: So. Bianca DaSilva (sprints), Jr. Faith Caulkins (sprints), Sr. Grace Gilbert (sprints), Sr. Oliva Rugg (sprints), Sr. Ciara Klimaszeweski (sprints), Jr. Anna Williams (distance), So. Emma Griffith (distance), Jr. Summer Siefken (distance), Jr. Emily Speckhals (distance).
Top newcomers: Sr. Jacqueline Barry, Jr. Araselys Farrell (throws).
Outlook: The Wildcats expect to field a competitive team in the always strong Shoreline Conference. D'Aquila said Old Lyme's strengths will be in the sprints and relays, especially in the 4x400 and 4x800 relay events. Newcomers Barry and Farrell are also expected to contribute to the Wildcats' success after productive indoor season.