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    Sunday, March 26, 2023

    Stonington’s Mooney ties record and wins State Open 55 hurdles

    Stonington’s Josh Mooney, shown here winning the 55-meter hurdles at least week’s Class S indoor track and field championships, won the State Open on Saturday and tied an 18-year-old meet record previously set by NFA’s Myles Bradley in 2005 with a time of 7.26 seconds. (Dana Jensen/The Day)
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    New Haven — Stonington’s Joshua Mooney tied an 18-year-old record held by another former Eastern Connecticut Conference great to win the State Open title in the boys’ 55-meter hurdles on Saturday.

    The UConn-bound senior captured the state title in 7.26 seconds, the same record-setting time run by Norwich Free Academy’s Myles Bradley in 2005. Bradley went on to compete at Stanford.

    Mooney’s time was the fastest in the nation this winter prior to Saturday, Stonington head coach Ben Bowne said.

    “His senior year was my first year coaching,” Bowne said of Bradley. “I saw him run a 13.77 (in the 110 hurdles outdoors) and that was incredible.”

    Still, when Bowne looked at Bradley’s indoor mark, he felt Mooney could challenge it, even though his previous fastest time prior to the State Open was 7.46 seconds at last week’s Class S championships.

    But after running a 7.41 in Saturday’s preliminaries, Mooney ran as close to a perfect race in the final, beating Michael Johnson of Lewis Mills, even though Johnson ran a quick 7.39.

    “I know he had it in him,” Bown said of Mooney. “He just hadn’t been pushed much up to that point. In practice we have him practice alongside our sprinters. He ran faster than my two guys that ran the 55 ... and he was running hurdles and they were not.

    “He’s just on a different level. I could tell earlier in the season he was capable of some pretty special times. Once he ran 7.46 I told him, ‘You’re only two-tenths away from the state record. Let’s get as close as you can.”

    Mooney came back later in the meet to finish third in the long jump — 22 feet, 6.25 inches — to lead the Bears to a fifith-place finish in the team standings with 22 points (Hall won the title with 66).

    Ryan Gruczka was responsible for Stonington’s other points with a third-place finish in the 1,600 (4:21.36).

    Other local place-winners in the boys’ meet were Old Lyme’s Dylan Sheehan, who finished second in the shot put (52-7.75), Ledyard’s Jacob Lenz, who finished fourth in the long jump (21-5.50), East Lyme’s Thomas Matlock, who placed fifth in the shot put (50-7.50) and Ledyard ‘s 4x800 relay team of Hayden Baber, Auguste Estriplet, Gabriel Huff and Mason Day, which finished sixth in 8:22.37.

    Old Lyme freshman Chase Gilbert had a big day in the girls’ meet. She finished second in the 3,200 (10:50.83) and ran the anchor leg of the 4x800 relay team, joining Maddy Morgado, Aggie Hunt and Olivia Powers to finish second in 9:44.30.

    Also earning medals in the girls’ meet were New London’s Darielys Arnold, who placed third in the long jump (17-10.50), NFA’s Hannah Graham, who finished fifth in the shot put (35-05.75), NFA’s Alexis Boyer, who finished fifth in the pole vault (10-0), Lyman Memorial’s Gabriela Dinisoe, who finished sixth in the pole vault (9-6) and East Lyme’s Sandra Kirvelevicius, who placed sixth in the shot (35-0.50).

    Bloomfield won the girls’ team title with 47 points.

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