Boys, girls sweep third straight ECC indoor track title

By Janice Steinhagen - Staff Writer
Griswold - posted Tue., Feb. 14, 2012
Sophomore distance runner Alyssa Brehler swept three events at the ECC championships. Photo by Janice Steinhagen.
Sophomore distance runner Alyssa Brehler swept three events at the ECC championships. Photo by Janice Steinhagen.

Griswold’s indoor track teams pulled out their third straight one-two punch this season, capturing both girls’ and boys’ championships at the Eastern Connecticut Conference finals Feb. 4. Head coach Chris Morth credits the improved depth in his athletes’ field events for the win.

“The key to our success is that we’re no longer completely reliant on what happens on the track,” he said. “When I first started, we’d score 90 percent of our points on the track and hope to scrape together a few in the field. This year, our girls scored 47 points from the four field events alone, compared to the 63.5 we picked up from 11 track events. The boys’ side was just as impressive. We scored 62 points in the four field events and 100 in the 11 track events.”

Among the Wolverine standouts in the field at the ECC was senior shot-putter Kyle Craig, who won the ECC with a 46-foot toss and placed second at the State Class S championships Feb. 11. “This is actually his first season of indoor track,” said Morth. “The improvements he has made from season to season have been truly spectacular. He’s a real competitor and rises to the occasion when the occasion calls.”

Morth has high hopes for Craig at this weekend’s State Open. “We’re hoping to get a school record performance out of him to propel him to New Englands,” Morth said. The mark that Craig is aiming to best is 51-1.5.

Other top ECC field performances came from Wolverine long-jumpers Zach Nute, a senior, and Anthony Boyington, a junior, who placed first and second, respectively. Junior Adam Rock managed second in high jump and third in shot put at ECC, despite pulling a hamstring in the 4x200m relay.

On the distaff side of the field team, junior Abigale Slonski racked up 28 team points at the ECCs, placing first in long jump and high jump and second in pole vault.  She placed fifth in high jump at the State Class S. “The rest of the [girls’] team came through for us in a very big way” at the district championships, said Morth.

On the track, seniors Mark Mackin and Chris Helmiski took turns at the top in the ECC distance events. Helmiski placed first and Mackin second in the 1600 and 3200; they swapped slots for the 1000.  Morth also had high praise for sophomore Tyler Longolucco, who has dropped almost 10 seconds from his personal best in the 600 since last season and  who, he said, “would definitely qualify as most improved. He ran a beautiful race to beat Zack Higgins in the 600 at ECCs this year and really set the tone for the rest of the meet.”

Sophomore standout Alyssa Brehler swept first place in all three distance events (1000m, 1600m, 3200m) at the ECC, but persistent health issues caught up with her at the states, Morth said. After she had to jog in to eighth place in the 1600 race, she and her coach made the decision “to shut her down for the season and let her rest up and get healthy for outdoor [track].”

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