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NFA boys get the best of East Lyme in ECC track and field showdown

East Lyme — Cam Belton was huddled around the measurement area in the javelin competition late Wednesday, waiting for Norwich Free Academy teammate Max Davidson's third of four throws to be announced. It was, apparently, for bragging rights.

Belton finished ahead of Davidson in the javelin and began teasing him. "Say my name," Belton, who was third, said with a laugh. "Say it."

"It's like a friendly rivalry," NFA's Osaretin Osagie said of the team atmosphere for the two-time defending Eastern Connecticut Conference boys' track and field champion Wildcats. "It's like, 'I'll get you next week. Don't worry.' We make it fun."

"It does get competitive in practice," Belton said with a smile of Davidson. "We're like brothers, basically. It betters both of us. Who throws farther? Who has the better technique?"

And that's not even counting NFA's rivalry with its opponent Wednesday, East Lyme.

NFA swept the 100 meters and the triple jump on the way to an 82-68 victory over East Lyme which gave the Wildcats at least a share of the ECC Division I regular-season title, pushing their record to 3-0 overall, 2-0 in the four-team division.

Jahiem Spruill won the 100 meters in 11.5 seconds, the long jump at 22 feet, 2 inches and the high jump at 6-2, also finishing second in the triple jump. Osagie, meanwhile, glided to first-place finishes in the 110 hurdles in 15.35 seconds and the 300 hurdles in 42.32. Belton and Davidson each ran a leg of NFA's winning 4x100 relay, joining Neville Tawdeen and Dangelo Aristilde.

Belton took the shot put (49-11), Andrew Cote the 400 (52.16) and Justin Costick the triple jump (44-3) for NFA.

East Lyme won the ECC indoor track championship over NFA 141.33-123.33, a fact which was not lost on the NFA runners.

"We frequently do (think about indoor season)," said NFA's Tom Teixeira, the head coach of both the indoor and outdoor teams. "It was big motivation. Before we ran today, I gave the kids the floor ... they said, 'We didn't get a chance to do our best in the winter (partly due to injuries). Let's do our best today.'"

Teixeira said of his team: "The competitiveness is all them."

"You try to keep it fun," Teixeira said. "One or two might go on to do something at the college level, but mostly it's a way for them to have a good time in a school-sanctioned activity. ... (The good-natured ribbing) is like that between Cam and Adelino (Daveiga) in the shot, Cam and Max in the jav."

NFA beat East Lyme by the exact same margin as last season. The points were split differently, however. Last season, East Lyme took eight of 11 track events, while NFA made up for it in the field.

This time, East Lyme commenced things with a win in the 4x800 relay behind Matt Kung, Magnum Brandt, Fred Rukundo and Sam Whittaker in 9:18.6 and NFA came right back with a 4x100 victory in 45.5, tying the score at 5-5. Osagie then took the 110 hurdles and Spruill, Belton and Aristilde went 1-2-3 in the 100 to give the Wildcats a 20-9 lead.

"As long as we've been running these guys, it's always a good meet," East Lyme coach Steve Hargis said. "In true East Lyme-NFA fashion, we went out and won big in the 4x800 and they came back and won the 4x100. It was punch, counter-punch. Battling, battling, battling. You would have a two-event momentum swing and then it was someone else's turn. It's fun."

Whittaker had wins in the 1,600 (4:35.82) and the 800 (2:07.63) in rapid fire as the meet progressed quickly, and later took the 3,200 (10:31.38), as well. Jonathan Zavalata won the 200 (23.5), Josh Morton the discus (114-6), Akhil Chilamkurthi the pole vault (12-6) and Spencer Duthrie the javelin (140-2) for the Vikings (2-1, 1-1).

East Lyme tacked on a win in the 4x400 with Kung, Rukundo, Rob Avena and Chris Abbey.

"I am pleased with it," Teixeira said. "We were a lot more balanced, a lot more balanced than last year when they said, 'We'll take all the track and you take all the field.'"


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