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    Thursday, February 02, 2023

    2021 H.S. girls' track and field preview capsules

    NFA´s Kayla Park takes the handoff from Sophia Jones in the 4x800 relay during the 2020 Class LL indoor track and field championships in New Haven. Park and Jones are back to lead the Wildcats in the 2021 outdoor season. (Dana Jensen/The Day)
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    ECC Division I


    Coach: Denise Descheneaux (4th season)

    Key returnees: Ashley Spreng (sprints, hurdles), Saffron Pentell (sprints), Natalia Ryan (middle distance), Kelsi Ursini (distance), Silvia Chen (distance), Deja Driscoll-Smith (throws).

    Top newcomers: Amaris Johnson (sprints, jumps), Laura Letellier (sprints), Lily Drake (sprints), Catherine McKenna (distance).

    Outlook: Descheneaux was encouraged by the performance of her athletes during the abbreviated indoor season, which included a few outdoor meets, particularly the times of freshman Johnson in the sprints. Along with seniors Spreng, Ryan and Ursini, Descheneaux loves Fitch's work ethic and believes it will lead the Falcons "to a successful season."

    East Lyme

    Coach: Carl Reichard (44th season)

    Key returnees: Brie am Ende (distance, high jump), Emily Crandall (throws), Margaret Dunne (sprints), Sjodin Fedekovich (pole vault, javelin), Katherine Harris (sprints), Abigail Jorgenson (sprints), Savannah Soleau (throws), Isobel Sutherland (throws), Ashely Zelesky (hurdles), Danielle Zelesky (hurdles).

    Top newcomers: Sydney Arustei (sprints), Ella Chiasson (jumps), Lauren Hinckley (sprints, jumps), Kennedy Holsapple (distance), Kayleigh Jensen (distance), Isabelle Paggioli (distance), Ava Pirtuzzello (sprints), Emma Treptow (distance).

    Outlook: Reichard has a wonderful mix of youth, experience and talent as the Vikings resume following a year off. "Everyone is excited to have an outdoor experience having missed last outdoor season," he said. "We should be competitive within the ECC."


    Coach: Dave Tetlow (47th season)

    Key returnees: Sr. Alanna DeGaetano (pole vault), Sr. Zahra Hebert (pole vault), Sr. Nadia Helme (sprints, long jump), Sr. Kira Kassim (javelin), Sr. Teia Lee (sprints), Sr. Natalie Poulton (throws), Jr. Emily Evans (middle distance), Jr. Ailish Farquhar (hurdles), Jr. Katherine Harren (middle distance), Jr. Gretchen Irwin (hurdles), Jr. Reanna Robbins (middle distance), Jr. Tori Schweitzer (distance), Jr. Jessica Vajdos (sprints).

    Top newcomers: Sr. Hannah Avila (sprints), So. Lavinia Hutchins (throws), So. Arwen Jones (sprints), So. Ciara May McGrath (middle distance), So. Aniya Pearson (throws, sprints, long jump), Fr. Samantha Doran (middle distance, hurdles), Fr. Ella Stephenson (distance, hurdles).

    Outlook: Tetlow will lean on a strong senior class to lead the way, especially with a promising group of freshmen and sophomores who will compete in multiple events. The Colonels will also have plenty of athletes to choose from when it comes to the relay events. The goal, as always, is to peak in time for the ECC championships and qualify several athletes for the state meets.


    Coach: Kara Kochanski-Vendola (19th season)

    Key returnees: Jr. Jasmyn Bransford, Jr. Avery Larkin, Sr. Christina Siguencia, Sr. Hannah Elliot, So. Anna Ricketts. So. Eliana Duclos, Jr. Sophia Jones, Sr. Makayla Kelley, Sr. Kayla Park, Jr. Ashley Pierre, Sr. Catie Shannon, Sr. Teagan White, Jr. Gillian Cameron.

    Top newcomers: Alexis Boyer, Caroline Holmberg, Alyssa Newson, Zoey Chinn, Nevaeh DeAndrade, Adele Johnson, Ella Krzywicki, Anna Gosselin, Jaelyn Callicut, Sam Schies, Annika Fishlock, Lily Gilbert, Amelia Carney, Hannah Graham.

    Outlook: When we last left NFA in 2019, the Wildcats were winning the ECC championship, placing third in the Class LL meet and fourth in the State Open. They return some key pieces from that team, plus Kochanski-Vendola is excited about some of the new athletes in the program. "Our athletes are positive and are up for the challenge of a competitive and fun season," she said.


    Coach: Jeff Parkinson

    Top newcomers: So. Hannah Anderson (sprints), Jr. Sophia Anderson (sprints), Jr. Miabella Antonio (throws), Sr. Sophia Bell (throws), Sr. Amelia Caron (sprints), Sr. Ruth Greene (sprints), Fr. Elise Greene (sprints), Jr. Olivia Habarek (throws), So. Helena Hoinsky (sprints), Jr. Nuchwara Inthasit (sprints), Sr. Elene Korinek (sprints), Fr. Addison Labbe, Fr. Courtney Labbe, Fr. Sierra Lund (sprints), Jr. Molly Neale (middle distance), Sr. Sasha Oakes (middle distance), Sr. Teagan O'Brien (sprints), So. Gabrielle Ocasio (sprints), Sr. Lila Rich (pole vault), So. Marin Singletary (sprints), Sr. Madison West (sprints), Fr. Alexa Williams (middle distance), Sr. Madison Wing (throws).

    Outlook: With no spring season in 2020 and a limited indoor schedule, Parkinson said, "we are just simply looking forward to getting back to work and competing." The Bears will certainly be challenged in a new regionally based ECC schedule that includes the likes of East Lyme and NFA, but Parkinson said his team is looking forward to the challenge, adding, "Hopefully there will be a state meet because we likely will have a number of qualifiers and a few top scorers."


    Coach: Sam Wasilefsky (3rd season)

    Key returnees: Sr. Lillie Abramowicz (sprints), Sr. Sarah Johnson (distance), Sr. Alicia Sanders (middle distance), Jr. Kate Lange (throws), Jr. Maddie Myers (hurdles).

    Top newcomers: So. Emma DeVito (sprints), So. Colleen Corman (hurdles), So. Gabby Brennan (sprints).

    Outlook: Waterford returns some veteran performers despite not having a season in 2020. Abramowicz, DeVito, Sanders and Brennan will also team up to help with the relays, too. Said Wasilefsky: "After waiting two years, they are energized, excited, ready to work and continue to live up to the Waterford Lancer name."

    ECC Division II

    Bacon Academy

    Coach: Steve Browning

    Key returnees: Jordan Malloy (distance), Jennifer Whipple (throws), Caylin Davids (middle distance), Jaime Greene (sprints, jumps), Emma Mallet (sprints).

    Outlook: The Bobcats are rebuilding after graduating a pair of ECC champion and all-state performers in Natalie Rolon-Issa (throws) and Cleondra White (sprints). But Bacon does return Malloy, the two-time ECC cross country champion and an accomplished distance runner on the track, and Whipple, who will be solid in the throws.

    New London

    Coach: Andrea Chappelle (2nd season)

    Key returnees: Jr. Annisha White (sprints, long jump), Jr. Akheena Farrior (sprints, middle distances), Sr. Mia Dorcely (throws, sprints).

    Top newcomers: So. Kmara Royster (hurdles, jumps), Sr. Stephanie McGuire (hurdles, sprints).

    Outlook: Chappelle will be assisted this year by Kiah Strickland as the two will try to take the program another step forward after missing out on the 2020 season. The Whalers will have some experience in the sprints and jumping events and enough depth to put together some strong relay teams.

    ECC Division III


    Coach: Kelsey Nixon (5th season)

    Key returnee: Taylor Bialowas (sprints, jumps).

    Outlook: The Wolverines are young, so there will be a rebuilding process this spring, but Nixon expects Griswold to improve with each competition and be competitive throughout.

    Lyman Memorial

    Coach: George Gray (12th season)

    Key returnees: Sr. Kate Anderson (sprints, middle distance), Sr. Sierra Batista (sprints, hurdles), Sr. Jessica Casey (middle distance, distance), Jr. Helen Blakeslee (middle distance, distance, jumps), Jr. Kasey Cook (sprints, hurdles, throws), Jr. Olivia Dunnack (sprints, middle distance, jumps), Jr. Kristen Goodrich (jumps, sprints, hurdles, middle distance), Jr. Morgan Tartaglia (throws).

    Top newcomers: Fr. Mia Attardi (sprints, jumps), So. Kendall Breault (middle distance, distance, throws), Fr. Ella Caplet (sprints, throws), So. Magda Carpenter (middle distance, distance), So. Leah Comeroski (sprints, hurdles, jumps, middle distance), So. Gabriela Dinisoe (sprints, hurdles, jumps), Fr. Allyssa Judd (sprints, hurdles, jumps), So. Ava Mathewson (sprints), Fr. Rebecca Risley (throws), Fr. Nevaeh Shifrin (sprints, hurdles), Fr. Elizabeth Scala (sprints, throws, hurdles), Jr. Callie Nanos (sprints, hurdles, jumps).

    Outlook: The Bulldogs return an experienced team from the 2019 season, but Gray has added depth with a huge influx of freshmen and sophomores. "We plan to compete strongly in the conference and utilize the enthusiasm from our newcomers to help the team," Gray said. "We have some new talent which will enable us to increase our depth in events."


    Coach: Joel Finnegan (19th season)

    Key returnees: Sr. Kiera MacCracken (sprints), Sr. Lily Wijaya (sprints), Jr. Julia Beaupre (hurdles), Jr. Kylah Bilheimer (sprints), Jr. Karina Huang (jumps), Jr. Katelyn Plikus (hurdles).

    Top newcomers: Jr. Kelsey Chiasson (throws), So. Maya Suarez (distance), So. Angelique DiNoto (jumps), So. Sam Kuruchi (jumps), Fr. Sage Gressly (distance).

    Outlook: Finnegan will need the 2021 season to rebuild in many areas, although Plikus and Beaupre provide a nice 1-2 punch in the hurdles, Bilheimer and MacCracken are experienced sprinters and Huang will lead in the jumping events. Finnegan is also high on Suarez, who is coming off a strong cross country season.

    St. Bernard

    Coach: Raymond Forrester (8th season)

    Key returnees: Sr. Serena Britner (distance), Sr. Juliet Brady (sprints), Sr. Rachel Kunka (sprints), Sr. Aaliyah Masters (hurdles, jumps), Sr. Oliva Massad (throws), Jr. Adrianna Graul (middle distance), Jr. Lillian Turner (distance), Jr. Sophia Boras (throws), Jr. Hallie Jennings (middle distance), Jr. Katie Power (sprints), Jr. Maria Proulx (jumps), Jr. Lindsey Reilly (throws).

    Top newcomers: Jr. Rebecca Malacrida (distance), So. Adeline Arvidson (distance), So. Chloe Jennings (distance), So. Charlotte Kunka (throws), So. Payton Noe (distance), Fr. Marguerite Brady (sprints, jumps), Fr. Sienna Sferrazza (sprints jumps), Fr. Valentina Gjonbalaj (middle distance), Fr. Ajanae Hall (throws), Fr. Beverly Mayberry (sprints, throws).

    Outlook: Despite the loss of a season and a talented senior class, the Saints will field a nice blend of youth and experience and are developing quality depth, especially in the throwing events. Forrester calls Britner, Juliet Brady and Kunka "the cornerstones of the team this year," and expects an immediate contribution from his freshman class.


    Grasso Tech

    Coach: Beth Wallace (4th season)

    Key returnee: Natalie MacCulloch (hurdles)

    Outlook: Not having a 2020 season really hurt the Eagles, who graduated a strong senior class. Wallace will rely on some newcomers to rebuild the Connecticut Technical Conference program while making sure the student-athletes "have a fun season" along the way.

    Norwich Tech

    Coach: Catherine Sikorski (3rd season)

    Key returnees: Jr. Autumn Lovett (sprints, high jump), Jr. Hailey McGuirl (middle distance, distance).

    Outlook: The Warriors are young and lack experience but Sikorski was encouraged by the turnout and expects to improve as the Connecticut Technical Conference season moves along.

    Old Lyme

    Coach: Aron D'Aquila (16th season)

    Key returnees: Sr. Emily DeRoehn (sprints, middle distance), Sr. Emma Boardman (sprints, high jump), Sr. Bianca DaSilva (sprints, javelin), Sr. Emma Griffith (middle distance, distance), Sr. Kelly Walsh (distance), Jr. Anne Colangelo (distance), Jr. Maggie Rommel (sprints, high jump), Jr. Cora Kern (throws), Lauren Presti (sprints, jumps).

    Top newcomers: Emerson Kaye, Isabella Hine, Alyssa Spooner, Isabelle O'Connor, Gianna Salpietro, Calla Gilson, Katie Bauchman, Madeleine Morgado.

    Outlook: The Wildcats return a roster with plenty of experience and versatility, but he's also excited about a solid core of newcomers who spent the preseason experimenting in various events. "The team is looking to do well in the competitive Shoreline Conference," said D'Aquila.

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