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Weather halts LL meet, but not before NFA's Belton, Martin finish first

New Britain — Cam Belton may have some time today at Norwich Free Academy to answer the question from inquiring minds as to how he became the state boys’ Class LL shot put champion late Wednesday afternoon.

His perfectly reasonable answer would have been “to run as fast as I could.”

No, really. Belton, who was busier than Times Square for a few moments at Willow Brook Park, knew the finals of the shot put were about to happen just after he’d thrown the javelin and participated in the 4x100 relay.

“I finished the 4x100 as fast as I could and then sprinted (across the entire field) to get to the shot,” Belton said later. “The official was forgiving. He let me get all my throws.”

One of which was 53 feet, 7 inches, good enough for first place, two spots in front of teammate Adelino Daviega.

Belton and girls’ teammate Paige Martin (pole vault champ) highlighted the abbreviated day for the Wildcats, who will return at noon Thursday to finish the LL finals. Rain halted the meet at about 6:30 p.m., two hours after it began. The NFA boys lead the field with 34 points through eight events. The girls, who led briefly after scored 23 points in the pole vault, are tied for third.

Belton didn’t place in last week’s Eastern Connecticut Conference championships, fouling all three times he attempted the shot put.

“I fouled everything,” he said. “First, I jumped too high and landed on the toe board. Then I kicked the top of the toe slightly. Then I stepped outside where I was supposed to.”

And what gave him the confidence to succeed amid greater competition? A pep talk from coach Tom Teixeira that Belton will remember.

“He told me that this might be my last throws in an NFA jersey,” Belton said. “If you don’t do it now, he said … that kind of got me. I wanted to go out with a bang.”

Martin, meanwhile, was all grins after she not only won the pole vault, but with a personal best of 12 feet. Consider that the pole vault offers some trepidation even if the weather is sunny and 70, let alone windy and rainy.

“I usually like it when it’s cloudy and a little cooler, that’s when I tend to do my best,” Martin said. “But I have to admit, it felt a little dangerous. It’s a great feeling to do this, though. I’ve never experienced that kind of weather, at least at a big meet before.”

The teams will return Thursday to complete the meet. NFA girls’ coach Kara Kochanski said the Wildcats have experienced this before in the past because of weather — even because it was too hot a few times.

“It’s hard to get your whole team back together the next day,” she said. “It’s happened before.”

m.dimauro@theday.com

 

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