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    Monday, March 20, 2023

    Whalers' Parke earns bragging rights in 100 dash

    New London's Orrin Parke, second right right, crosses the finish line in 10.92 seconds to win the 100-meter dash during Saturday's Eastern Connecticut Conference Track & Field Championships at Montville. Parke also won the 400. Waterford's Julio Gil-Martinez, left, who later won the 200, finished second while NFA's Andris Vital, second from left, finished third and Plainfield's Cody Alday, right, was fourth.

    Montville - When sprinters from the Eastern Connecticut Conference get together, such as at the Middletown Invitational earlier this season, they "talk for hours," Waterford's Julio Gil-Martinez said.

    "We talk all the time," he added. "We talk about schools, what majors we want to go into for college."

    Having said that, Gil-Martinez thought his friend and fellow senior Orrin Parke of New London had won quite enough at Saturday's Eastern Connecticut Conference boys' track and field championship meet.

    Parke won the 100 meters in 10.92 seconds, with Gil-Martinez second. Parke then took the 400 in 49.93 in another talented field.

    Then came perhaps the most hotly contested race of the day, the 200, featuring Parke, Gil-Martinez and Ledyard's Joe Carter, the three of whom combined for six ECC, three Class M and a State Open title during indoor track, all of them state champions. All three of them also play football for their respective schools.

    Carter began to pull away down the stretch, Parke then surging forward.

    "I saw (Carter) starting to get away and I said, 'No, no, no,'" Gil-Martinez said. "... And Orrin is my oldest rival since the fifth grade (Gil-Martinez is formerly from New London). I had to beat him. It's always a battle when they're there."

    Gil-Martinez rallied to win the 200 in 22.47, saying his father told him he looked as if he was running tight during the 100, urging him to relax a little. Carter, meanwhile, earned his title Saturday in the long jump (21 feet, 1 inch).

    The three will compete against each other again in the Class MM state championship on June 3 at Middletown High School.

    Parke said while his strategy in the 400 included conserving a little bit of energy, his plan in the 100 was simpler.

    "I was just focused on the finish line," Parke said. "Because I know there's a lot of fast people next to me."


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