GHS boys' track team strong in relays, sprints

By Janice Steinhagen - Staff Writer
Jewett City - posted Tue., May. 17, 2011
Mark Mackin of Griswold anchors the sprint medley relay team to a third-place finish at the Ledyard Relays. Photos by Janice Steinhagen.
Mark Mackin of Griswold anchors the sprint medley relay team to a third-place finish at the Ledyard Relays. Photos by Janice Steinhagen.

Track and field is like a spring flower – its season is short, but enjoyable while it lasts.

The Eastern Connecticut Conference championships in track and field are this Saturday, nearly a month before most schools graduate their seniors. Fortunately, Griswold High School boys’ track and field head coach James Bruno doesn’t have much senior-itis to deal with – he’s got just four seniors on his team this year.

“We have a young team,” Bruno said. “We don’t have any huge standouts, but the guys we do have are working really hard and doing really well. It’s a well-rounded team.”

Bruno, along with distance coach Mike Flynn, is counting on solid performances in the relays by the foursome of Jon Choiniere, James Strmiska, Jon Finley and Zac James. All are seniors but Zac, who’s a junior, and they ran together in indoor and outdoor track last year, too. The quartet placed first in the 4 x 1600-meter relay at the multi-school Ledyard Relays last month, matching the Wolverine girls 4 x 1600 team.

“The sprinters are doing pretty well this year,” said Bruno, citing Ryan Lincoln, a junior; Silas Conrad, a sophomore; and junior Brian Beckwith, who’s also a hurdler. “Brian is doing really well in the 300-meter hurdles,” he said. “He’s getting close to our school record. He’s probably one of our top guys, our top prospects for getting far” in the ECCs.

Another sprinter of note is senior Josh Brown, who Bruno said “really came out of nowhere” with strong performances. He’s been out for some of the season with a hamstring injury, but should be able to run the ECCs, he said.

Off the track and onto the field, the Wolverines have a few gaps. “We’re really down this year in the field,” said Bruno. “A couple of guys didn’t make it through the season. Some of our throwers are new to track this year.” Shot-put throwers Kyle Craig, a junior, and sophomore Adam Rock merit attention in that department, with Beckwith pitching in for the long jump.

 

Coach’s Corner-

Griswold Boys’ Track and Field Head Coach James Bruno

Number of years coaching: 3

Bruno, who also coached volleyball at Griswold for five years, is assisted by Mike Flynn, who works with the team’s distance runners. Flynn, the Wolverine cross-country coach, is in his sixth year coaching at the high school and works with the distance runners in indoor track as well.

 

Sports Spotlight: Players to Watch-

Zac James – Junior: The youngest member of the Wolverines’ top relay team, James also runs the mile, said distance coach Mike Flynn. After running a consistent 4:50 mile for the last two years, “this year he’s made quite a leap,” Flynn said, and shaved five seconds off his time in that event. “He’s probably the nicest kid I’ve ever coached. He does everything I ask for him to do.”

 

Jon Choiniere – Senior: “Jon ran all four years, all three seasons,” said Flynn, who calls Choiniere “a quiet leader. He’s tall, probably 6’3” or 6’4”, and he’s really learned to use the height to his advantage.” He’ll be running for the University of Hartford in the fall.

 

James Strmiska – Senior: A standout in indoor track, where he won the ECC 1000-meter and mile championships for the past two years, Strmiska “is probably the most genuine and sincere kid on the team,” said Flynn. “He’s always smiling, always happy.” He’s headed to Sacred Heart University next fall.


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