MERIDEN – The Record-Journal Invitational is an annual early-season test for area track teams.
This year, the festivities, scheduled for Thursday, were delayed by a day by the weather. Friday morning, from 11 a.m., it will be full speed ahead for Platt, Maloney, Sheehan, Lyman Hall, Cheshire, Southington and Coginchaug at Platt High School.
Both the Sheehan girls and the Lyman Hall boys come out of the Class M state championships in the indoor season.
Longtime RJ meet manager and Sheehan coach Charles Farley says his women’s team remains one of the best in the state after the indoor crown in the winter and a second-place finish in Class M last spring. .
“The most important thing is that we have to keep everyone focused on what we need to do,” Farley said of her daughters. “They’ve had a lot of success, but we have a whole new season ahead of us and we have to start over. We think about the big picture, but we take one encounter at a time.
Farley said Friday’s game is a good step forward for all local teams.
“It’s a good opportunity to see the teams around the region; other than Lyman Hall, we don’t compete with any of them,” Farley said. “It’s fun to compare and see where you stack up against other schools that you don’t normally see. At CSC, we keep racing against each other and it’s still the same people. open the door a bit to see other teams.
Sheehan will be led Friday by senior sprinters Avery Winters, Amanda Castaldi and Patrice Mansfield, senior pitchers Darla Jagrosse and Madison DiPasquale, junior jumper Savanna Bauman and junior middle distance runner Olivia Platt.
Castaldi will also compete in the hurdles, junior Maya Wresien in the high jump and 400.
Among the stars of the Sheehan boys are seniors Jack Taylor (throwing), Anthony Galicia (3,200) and Jelan Kollie (100, high jump) as well as second Wilson Moya (javelin, 100).
Maloney is highlighted by sophomore distance runner Bria Benigni and junior jumper Shaelyn Murphy. Both went to the Nike Indoor Nationals, with Benigni winning the 1 mile in the Emerging Elite division. Murphy holds Maloney’s high jump records.
Also for the Lady Spartans, junior Jylosdet Davila is a good hurdler and long jumper.
The men’s team is 95% new, although they have some familiar names. Athletes who have played in other sports, such as football players Ian Graham, Michael Reddick and Travis Wright, have joined the list.
“We all have new athletes,” Maloney’s coach Don Askew said. “We’ve added strong and fast kids, and our boys are looking really good.”
Graham made a major impact and was named captain.
“He’s the first there and the last to go, and he helps everyone,” Askew said. “Look for him to do well in the 100 tomorrow; Ian wants to show what he is capable of.
Maloney will be without injured sophomore Marquis Ward.
Askew said the Spartans love the RJ encounter, especially the mixed relays.
“We think we can do very well; we’ve been waiting for this for a long time,” Askew said. “Historically, Maloney has done well with the 4×100 and we need to maintain that excellence.”
The meeting organizes JV and university races as well as mixed relays in 4×100 and 4×400. Askew is particularly excited about his 4×100 team of Murphy, Davila, Graham and Donte Kelly.
Askew added that his team is looking forward to seeing Sheehan again.
“Last year we played them in a double meet and it was lousy – and we had some really good kids,” Askew said. “They were so dominant. We think of Sheehan as giants and we want to be the giant slayers.
As for Cheshire, the Lady Rams will be shorthanded due to holidays and holidays. The best Cheshire girls expected in action are senior Meghan Georgescu (1600), junior Squirrel Lanz (100 hurdles, 400) and second Mia Vientos (800, mixed 4×400).
Senior jumpers Arjaenna Joseph and Lexie SanAngelo will face off, as will junior pitchers Val Shlyk and Kaitlyn Cannon.
“This meeting gives us a chance to compete against some teams that we don’t normally see,” said Cheshire coach Barbara Hedden. “Most of the teams that we see (Friday), we won’t see them again in the area. In our league, we are shipped an hour away and face teams that are nowhere near us. This meeting we gives an experience during the season. It’s something they look forward to. It’s fun.
The Cheshire boys to watch are junior captain Colin Brown (100), second Tyler Caron (mile), senior Robert DiNatale (3200), junior Riley Wilson (shot put), second Ryan Fraser (javelin).
Southington will also be shorthanded due to the holidays. Junior Devin DiMartino will be among the javelin favorites.
Southingon also has a strong 4×100 relay that is just fractions of a second from breaking the school record set in 1989. The members of this relay are Ryan DelMonte, Nate Cofrancesco, Rashard Williams and Justin Zitofsky.
The Southington girls are led by senior Denette Belu-John (shot put), juniors Alexis Strong (pole vault, high jump), sophomore Camilla Wessels (long jump, 100) and Hailey Zembrzuski ( javelin), and freshmen Emma Talon (1,600) and Avi Webb (200).
Ed Neilander’s crew of Lyman Hall will also be compromised by holidays and vacations. But the Trojans will come to town led by seniors Mac Fuller (sprints), Yahya Kardad (400) and Jacob Seamans (hurdles, high jump) and juniors Chance DeCrescenzo (pole vault) and Peyton Durant (distance).
Neilander also said to watch out for mid-range freshman twins Tim and Tom Conklin.
A pair of rising freshmen to watch on the LH girls side are Madelyn Buccheri in the 400m and Samantha Jackson in the distance events. Valerie Torres will be the Trojans’ top pitcher on Friday at discus.
“I hope these kids have a great time tomorrow,” Neilander said. “With the JV, the university and the mixed relays, it’s more of a fun day.”
Neilander said his team is already looking forward to the annual Sheehan/Lyman Hall meeting, which will take place next Thursday at Riccitelli Field at 5 p.m.
As for host Platt, the Panthers see this meeting as an opportunity.
“Everything we do at this point is a good test,” girls’ coach Jason Bruenn said. “We have a lot of young kids in the team and they will see talent that we don’t normally see.”
The Platt boys to watch are senior sprinters Brandon Carrion and Zyair Coleman as well as senior pitchers Reggie Darkah and Antwone Santiago.
Cattail stars are subclasses: sophomores Erin Sola (100 hurdles, pole vault) and Estrella Delacruz (100, 4×100), rookie Briggette Vazquez (800, 1600) and juniors Dayanara Gonzalez (100 hurdles, 4×400), Mia Daley (triple jump, javelin) and Zaria Calloway (discus, shot put).
Please note: the meeting will be timed by hand. The timing service scheduled for Thursday was unavailable on Friday.