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    Sunday, April 14, 2024

    East Lyme boys find strength in numbers to win ECC Div. I-II title

    Stoningtin’s Josh Mooney wins the 110-meter high hurdles, one of his three individual wins during Monday’s Eastern Connecticut Conference track and field championships at East Lyme High School. (Sarah Gordon/The Day)
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    East Lyme — A few weeks ago, a photograph from a dual meet showed a pack of four East Lyme High School boys’ 1,600-meter runners surrounding a competitor from Fitch, illustrating the Vikings’ strength in numbers.

    On Monday, it was the 3,200 meters. East Lyme, led by Sean McCauley, who won the event in 9 minutes, 36.96 seconds, scored 25 points in the event to break open what was a close meet just moments before.

    Trailing Fitch by four points through 15 of 18 events, East Lyme won the Eastern Connecticut Conference Division I-II championship meet with 142 points, also getting a victory in the 4x400 relay, the meet’s final event.

    In the 3,200, McCauley was joined by Jilali Benjdid, third (9:52.62); Matthew Carrier, fourth (9:52.80) and Nathan Bergman, fifth (10:11.17). McCauley, Benjdid and Carrier are sophomores and Bergman a junior. Coach Steve Hargis calls them “the nicest guys on the planet.”

    “We all work as a team. We all do what’s best for our team,” McCauley said. “We’re super happy with what happened today. We’re glad that in just that one event, we were able to change the outcome of the meet.”

    “We knew that we had to do our best and push through everything,” Benjdid said. “We knew (the team race) would be close to the point where the 3,200 and the 4x400, we had to dig and really go for the win. With 200 to go, me and Matt, we were really feeling it and we knew we had to push through to where we got.”

    The Vikings broke a streak of six straight ECC titles by Norwich Free Academy, with East Lyme finishing second to the Wildcats a year ago.

    Fitch finished second Monday with 116 points, followed by Ledyard third with 84, NFA fourth with 77 and Waterford fifth with 76.

    Stonington senior Josh Mooney was a triple-winner, taking the 110 hurdles in 14.51 seconds, the 300 hurdles in a meet record 37.78 seconds and the javelin with a throw of 188 feet, 2 inches.

    The record in the 300 hurdles was set in 1998 by Montville’s David Job (38.51 seconds), who attended the meet in person and congratulated Mooney.

    Following his record-breaking performance, Mooney had to return to the javelin competition for the finals, leaving the East Lyme track through the front gate and walking around the side of the school, accepting a series of fist bumps as he proceeded.

    Mooney made the 300 hurdles look easy, sporting a pair of sunglasses, but it’s anything but easy.

    “We were trying to figure out my third event for states and Opens and everything like that because we want to win another state title (Stonington has won three straight in indoor and outdoor track combined),” Mooney said. “So we decided between the 300 hurdles, long jump or discus, maybe.”

    Mooney, an All-American who struggled this season with shin splints, chuckled at the notion it was easy.

    “That’s good,” he said. “It didn’t feel easy. I think the hurdle form from the 110 definitely made it look easy but it’s not. ... (This meet) feels like a good gateway from regular season to postseason.”

    Waterford’s Evan Piotrowski won the 200 (22.89) and the 400 (49.80) and Woodstock Academy’s Jared Eaton took the discus (142-9) and shot put (52-7).

    In addition to McCauley, East Lyme got wins from the 4x800 team of Kai Ritz, Benjdid, Finian Gates and Brendan Fant and the 4x400 team of Lucas DeNucci, Gates, Ritz and Fant. The Vikings also got a third-place finish from Shawn Henning in the pole vault to help close out the meet.

    “Shawn, after running his butt off, goes 12 feet in the pole vault today, you can’t make that up,” Hargis said. “It was great. He was like, ‘We’ll get points, don’t worry about it.’”

    “I think a big part of who we are as a team is that we just have fun every single day,” McCauley said. “Practice we have fun, before practice we have fun, after practice we have fun. That makes it a great environment to be around.”


    ECC Division I-II Track & Field Championships

    Team Results

    1. East Lyme, 142; 2. Fitch, 116; 3. Ledyard, 84; 4. Norwich Free Academy, 77; 5. Waterford, 76; 6. Woodstock Academy, 73; 7. Stonington, 65; 8. Bacon Academy, 50; 9. New London, 16.

    Individual Results

    100-meter dash: 1. Carter Saracina (WA), 11.19 seconds; 2. Oakley Garrison (F); 3. Adonis Fine (F); 4. Shawn Henning (EL); 5. Charles Tarbox (F); 6. Jacob Lenz (L).

    200: 1. Evan Piortrowski (W), 22.89; 2. Oakley Garrison (F); 3. Carter Saracina (WA); 4. Adonis Fine (F); 5. Shawin Henning (EL); 6. Jeremiah Paul (NFA).

    400: 1. Evan Piotrowski (W), 49.80; 2. Charle Cabusao (F); 3. Aaron Fidrych (BA); 4. Peyton Luther (L); 5. Finian Gates (EL); 6. Lucas DeNucci (EL).

    800: 1. Christian Menounos (WA), 1:57.73; 2. Ryan Gruczka (S); 3. Kai Ritz (EL); 4. Auguste Estriplet (L); 5. Ryan Dunning (F): 6. Mason Day (L).

    1,600: 1. Ryan Gruczka (S), 4:24.19; 2. Brendan Fant (EL); 4. Ryan Dunning (F); 4. Nathan Bergman (EL); 5. Ehtan Manfredi (NFA); 6. Jilali Benjdid (EL).

    3,200: 1. Sean McCauley (EL), 9:36.96; 2. Patrick Croughwell (NFA); 3. Jilali Benjdid (EL); 4. Matthew Carrier (EL); 5. Nathan Bergman (EL); 6. Colton Sallum (WA).

    110 high hurdles: 1. Joshua Mooney (S), 14.51; 2. Elliot Childs (W); 3. Matthew Leone (EL); 4. Jonas Regondola (L); 5. Hagen Drake (S); 6. Brandon Prempeh (NFA).

    300 intermediate hurdles: 1. Joshua Mooney (S), 37.78 (ECC record, old mark 38.51 by Montville’s David Job in 1998); 2. Elliot Childs (W); 3. Mathew Leone (EL); 4. Hagen Drake (S); 5. Allans Jean Simon (NFA); 6. Tristian Kruse (BA).

    4x100 relay: 1. Fitch (Charles Tarbox, Oakley Garrison, Nimyel Gamboa, Adonis Fine), 43.55; 2. Ledyard; 3. NFA; 4. East Lyme; 5. Woodstock; 6. Bacon.

    4x400 relay: 1. East Lyme (Lucas DeNucci, Finian Gates, Kai Ritz, Brendan Fant), 3:28.80; 2. Bacon; 3. Fitch; 4. Waterford; 5. Ledyard; 6. Woodstock.

    4x800 relay: 1. East Lyme (Kai Ritz, Jilali Benjdid, Finian Gates, Brendan Fant), 8:37.14; 2. Ledyard; 3. Waterford; 4. NFA; 5. Woodstock; 6. Bacon.

    High jump: 1. Gianni Colebut (F), 6 feet; 2. Christian Wiltshire (L); 3. Anthony Adamick (L); 4. Joal Barros (NFA); 5. SaVahn Warren (NL); 6. Camden Nason (WA).

    Long jump: 1. Jacob Lenz (L), 21-10; 2. Zayshawn Griffin (F); 3. James Green (L); 4. Jamel Kearse (L); 5. Caylen Morris (F); 6. Jonathan Booth (W).

    Triple jump: 1. SaVahn Warren (NL), 42-7; 2. Elliot Childs (W); 3. Zayshawn Griffin (F); 4. Rhys Tickner (W); 5. Christian Wiltshire (L); 6. Callaway Scott (EL).

    Pole vault: 1. Luca Viviano (Ledyard), 13-0; 2. Mateo Viviano (L); 3. Shawn Henning (EL); 4. Derek Osborne (F); Josh Fenton (BA); 5. Gage Weber (NFA).

    Discus: 1. Jared Eaton (WA), 142-9; 2. Thomas Matlock (EL); 3. Chris Amy (NFA); 4. Jake Martino (BA); 4. 5. Jackson Hart (EL); 6. Mason Holt (NFA).

    Javelin: 1. Joshua Mooney (S), 188-2; 2. Jake Martino (BA); 3. Jared Heaton (WA); 4. Charle Cabusao (F); 5. Matthew Thompson (EL); 6. Daniel Girard (W).

    Shot put: 1.Jared Eaton (WA), 52-7; 2. Thomas Matlock (EL); 3. DeAndre Ducael (NFA); 4. Jake Martino (BA); 5. Mason Holt (NFA); 6. Mardocher Civil (NFA).

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