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    Friday, September 29, 2023

    Mooney a triple-winner at Class M track and field meet but Bears’ streak comes to an end

    Stonington’s Josh Mooney, shown here competing in the 110-meter high hurdles during the ECC Division I Championships on May 22 at East Lyme, set a pair of meet records and won three events during Tuesday’s CIAC Class M track and field championships at Willow Brook Park in New Britain. (Sarah Gordon/The Day)
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    New Britain — He was going over the second-to-last hurdle in the 300-meter event Tuesday when suddenly Josh Mooney’s steps fell uncharacteristically out of rhythm, causing him a stutter-step.

    Mooney fell momentarily behind before finishing with the Class M state championship in the event in 38.42 seconds. It was his second record of the day, also winning the 100 hurdles in a state record 13.90, and his third overall victory, taking the javelin with a throw of 182 feet.

    “I was a little tired (going into the 300 hurdles) but I knew once I got into it, it was going to be fine,” said Mooney, a senior headed to run at UConn next year. “It wasn’t actually as fine as I thought it was going to be.”

    For defending champion Stonington, that turned out to be the general theme of the day; it wasn’t as fine as they hoped it was going to be.

    With a small team compared to the vast depth of their roster a year ago, combined with several key injuries and a large number of underclassmen, the Bears placed fourth in the team standings with 50 points, ending a streak of three consecutive state championships in indoor and outdoor track.

    Tolland won the boys’ championship with 78, getting a win in the 4x400 relay to close the meet, while Suffield was second with 77 and Ledyard third with 60. Sacred Heart Academy took the girls’ title with 80 points, with Mercy as the runner-up at 55.

    The Stonington boys won the 2022 indoor and outdoor track titles and the 2023 indoor title. On Tuesday, only Mooney and fellow seniors Ryan Gruczka and Quinn Felderman scored.

    “We go in with what we got and do the best we can,” Stonington coach Ben Bowne said of the team’s approach. “We got who we got. Our team’s small this year to begin with. Just put ourselves in position to do the best we can.”

    Other local boys’ champions were Ledyard’s Luca Viviano in the pole vault (13-0), Waterford’s Evan Piotrowski in the 400 (personal best 49.15) and Bacon Academy’s Jake Martino in the shot put (46-8.75). Martino was also second in the discus and fifth in the javelin.

    Viviano, a junior and also the Eastern Connecticut Conference champion this season with 13-0, what was a personal best at the time, competes in the pole vault along with his twin brother Mateo.

    The pair are fairly evenly matched. Mateo was second in the ECC at 12-6 and fourth in Class M at 12-0.

    “It’s nice having competition, especially a twin brother, because we’re going to be at every meet the same,” Luca Viviano said. “It’s nice having him at the same skill level as me. It’s constant competition, pushing each other.”

    Both appeared later on wearing jerseys representing Skyjumpers Connecticut, a local club coached by Russ VerSteeg, which has produced many of the ECC’s top pole vault results in recent seasons.

    “I sort of always wanted to do it,” Mateo Viviano said. “I wanted to do track because I wanted to do a sport in high school. My parents were like, ‘You’ve got to do something. You’re sitting home doing nothing.’ My friend Brady (Moorehead) did pole vault. He did it freshman year and he thought it was fun.”

    Stonington’s Gruczka was third in the 800 and second in the 1,600 before running the 3,200 to try to score a few more points for the Bears, coming in fourth.

    He sat on the turf at New Britain’s Willow Brook Park, his back up against a garbage can, following the final state meet of his career. He and Mooney served as the Bears’ foundation over their three consecutive titles. Gruczka is also a Division I athlete, going on to run at Northeastern.

    “I, honestly, I love being teammates with Josh,” Gruczka said. “It’s going to be tough not having him on the team with me next year but I know we’re going to be really good friends and everything still. I couldn’t wish to have a better teammate. When you talk to him, you can tell he’s something special.”

    Other top local boys’ finishers were Ledyard’s Jacob Lenz, second in the long jump; Ledyard’s Christian Wiltshire, third in the triple jump and fourth in the high jump; Bacon’s Josh Fenton, fifth in the pole vault; Ledyard’s Gabe Huff, fifth in the 1,600; Waterford’s Elliott Childs, fifth in the 300 hurdles and fifth in the triple jump; Ledyard’s Peyton Luther, sixth in the 400; Ledyard’s Auguste Estriplet, sixth in the 800; Ledyard’s Hayden Baber, sixth in the 1,600; Montville’s Enzo Valenti, sixth in the discus; and Ledyard’s Anthony Adamick, sixth in the high jump.

    Ledyard’s 4x100 relay was third, while Waterford had its 4x400 team place fourth and its 4x800 team finish fifth.

    Top local girls’ finishers were Waterford’s Sarah Davidson, fifth in the javelin; Bacon’s Avery Anderson, sixth in the 1,600; Bacon’s Megan Braga, sixth in the 100 hurdles; and Waterford’s Avery Maiese, sixth in the 3,200. Waterford’s 4x100, 4x400 and 4x800 teams were all fifth.


    Class M Outdoor Track and Field Championships

    At Willow Brook Park, New Britain


    Team Results

    1. Tolland, 78; 2. Suffield, 77; 3. Ledyard, 60; 4. Stonington, 50; 5. Waterbury Career, 42; Other local schools: 10. Waterford, 29; 12. Bacon Academy, 27; 26. Montville, 3.

    Individual Results

    100-meter dash: 1. Daniel Kennedy (Tolland), 10.96 seconds; Local place-winners: None.

    200: 1. Noah Colangelo (Killingly), 22.03; Local place-winners: None.

    400: 1. Evan Piotrowski (Waterford), 49.15; Other local place-winners: 6. Peyton Luther (Ledyard), 51.98; 8. Quinn Felderman (Stonington), 52.85.

    800: 1. Noah Perryman (Tolland), 1:56.71; Local place-winners: 3. Ryan Gruczka (Stonington), 1:57.66; 6. Auguste Estriplet (Ledyard), 2:00.04.

    1,600: 1. Griffin Mandirola (Suffield), 4:17.85; Local place-winners: 2. Gruczka (Stonington), 4:18.74; 5. Gabriel Huff (Ledyard), 4:34.63; 6. Hayden Baber (Ledyard), 4:36.30.

    3,200: 1. Mandirola (Suffield), 9:37.75; Local place-winners: 4. Gruczka (Stonington), 10:04.26; 8. Jackson Hill (Ledyard), 10:24.35.

    110 hurdles: 1. Josh Mooney (Stonington), 13.90 (meet record, old mark 14.35 by Lewis Mills’ Michael Johnson in 2022); Other local place-winner: 7. Elliot Childs (Waterford), 15.86.

    300 hurdles: 1. Mooney (Stonington), 38.42 (meet record, old mark 38.68 by NW Regional’s Dan Santanalla in 2012); Other local place-winner: 5. Childs (Waterford), 41.29.

    4x100 relay: 1. Waterbury Career, 43.30; Local place-winner: 3. Ledyard (Jackson Poulton, Roan Fothergill, James Green, Jacob Lenz), 44.15.

    4x400 relay: 1. Tolland, 3:27.40; Local place-winners: 4. Waterford (Gabriel Lombardi, Alex Martinez, Brodie Scott, Piotrowski), 3:32.91; 7. Ledyard (Estriplet, Mason Day, Luther, Fothergill), 3:33.06.

    4x800 relay: 1. Tolland, 8:06.75; Local place-winner: 5. Waterford (Luke Bartlett, Titus Olson, Martinez, Jay Zimmerman), 8:39.26.

    High jump: 1. Avery Cipcic (Suffield), 6 feet, 4 inches: Local place-winners: 4. Christian Wiltshire (Ledyard), 5-10.

    Pole vault: 1. Luca Viviano (Ledyard), 13-0; Other local place-winners: 4. Mateo Viviano (Ledyard), 12-0; 5. Josh Fenton (Bacon), 12-0; 8. Brady Moorhead (Ledyard), 11-0.

    Long jump: 1. Cipcic (Suffield), 21-9.5; Local place-winners: 2. Lenz (Ledyard), 21-3.5; 8. Green (Ledyard), 19-10.25.

    Triple jump: 1. Kennedy (Tolland), 42-11; Local place-winners: 3. Wiltshire (Ledyard), 41-10.5; 5. Childs (Waterford), 41-2.5.

    Shot put: 1. Jake Martino (Bacon), 46-8.75; Other local place-winners: None.

    Discus: 1. Jacob Shine (Granby), 156-6; Local place-winners: 2. Martino (Bacon), 144-6; 6. Enzo Valenti (Montville), 125-10; 8. Aaron Kost (Bacon), 121-7.

    Javelin: 1. Mooney (Stonington), 182-0; Other local place-winner: 5. Martino (Bacon), 147-7.


    Team Results

    1. Sacred Heart, 80. 2. Mercy, 55; 3. Hartford Public, 50.5; 4. (tie) Plainville and Weston, 44; Local schools: 14. Waterford, 19; 21. Bacon Academy, 9; 26. Stonington, 1.

    Individual Results

    100-meter dash: 1. Marie Kane (Mercy), 12.75; Local place-winners: None.

    200: 1. Kane (Mercy), 25.38; Local place-winners: None.

    400: 1. Kiera Baxter (Career), 59.56; Local place-winner: 8. Saniyah Otero (Bacon), 1:02.05.

    800: 1. Rachel Bartolucci (RHAM), 2:18.99; Local place-winners: None.

    1,600: 1. Kelly Jones (Lauralton Hall), 5:03.08; Local place-winner: 6. Avery Anderson (Bacon), 5:30.11.

    3,200: 1. Juliette Forstrom (Sacred Heart), 11:04.46; Local place-winners: 6. Avery Maiese (Waterford), 11:51.04; 8. Peyton Vanderstreet (Stonington), 11:54.24.

    100 hurdles: 1. Aleisha Clarke (Hartford Public), 14.90; Local place-winner: 6. Megan Braga (Bacon), 16.90.

    300 hurdles: 1. Gabriella Zeller (Lewis Mills), 45.03; Local place-winners: None.

    4x100 relay: 1. Plainville, 50:19; Local place-winner: 5. Waterford (Isabella Kimball, Alexa Collins, Sarah Conti, Ava Tucker), 52.04.

    4x400 relay: 1. Weston, 4:15.24; Local place-winner: 5. Waterford (Ella DiBuono, Conti, Maiese, Collins), 4:16.95.

    4x800 relay: 1. Mercy, 9:48.12; Local place-winner: 5. Waterford (Corman, Ava Lee, Erica Mugovero, Maiese), 10:10.34.

    High jump: 1. Victoria Baker (Sacred Heart), 5 feet, 3 inches; Local place-winners: None.

    Pole vault: 1. Ellison Weiner (Weston), 10-6; Local place-winners: None.

    Long jump: 1. Zeller (Lewis Mills), 18-9.5; Local place-winners: None.

    Triple jump: 1. Laci Davis (Woodland), 36-3; Local place-winners: None.

    Shot put: 1. Maya Quaranta (Sacred Heart), 37-4.5; Local place-winners: None.

    Discus: 1. Clarke (Hartford Public), 118-7; Local place-winners: None.

    Javelin: 1. Carley Bannerman (NW Regional), 113-5; Local place-winners: 5. Sarah Davidson (Waterford), 100-2; 7. Leah Hochholzer (Bacon), 94-4.

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