Indoor track: Trumbull qualifies eight for New England
The Trumbull High boys team placed fourth and the girls were 39th at the State Open Indoor Track Meet in New Haven on Monday.
The top six in each event qualified for the New England Championships.
“It was an exciting night as we had two event wins, and placed two individuals and two relays into the New England championship meet, which will be contested in Boston (March 4),” said coach Jeff Klein.
“First up was the girls 4x800 meter relay. Despite coming in as the 13th seed, we thought we had a chance to place in the top six if all the girls ran up to their abilities. We switched the order up and added Kate Romanchick as the anchor.
“Maggie LoSchiavo, leading us off for the first time this year, got us off to a great start with her best split ever of 2:28. Taking the baton next in our heat was Ashley Storino, who with a strong move on the last two laps handed off in first after a 2:27 leg. Next up was Ally Zaffina who was alone in first. She ran her fastest 800 of the year in 2:32 to hand off to Romanchick.
“Kate brought us home with a 2:22 leg, as the team won their heat in 9:50. The girls then had to patiently watch the next heat to see if they would place. In the end their time held up to take a sixth place and earn the berth in the New England championships. Their time was the fourth fastest ever at THS.
“Tyler Rubush, coming off his first place results in the LL meet, was next in the 1000 meter run. Coming in there were a half dozen runners all seeded within about a second, so a close race was anticipated.
“Tyler got boxed in early, worked his way out by the last lap, and despite running his best time ever ended up in eighth place a mere 0.5 seconds off a medal and about a second behind second place. His time of 2:34 was the second fastest ever for an Eagle runner, surpassed only by Tyler Gleen's 2:33 at the FCIAC meet earlier this season.
“The 600 meter race featured Gleen, looking for his third straight state title in the 600 meter run. A slow first lap left the field separated by only a couple of meters. There was a scary moment as Tyler was pushed at about 250 meters, but managed to stay on his feet. At that point he made a break and never looked back, as he successfully defended his title running 1:21 to win by over two seconds.
“He continues to have the number two time in the country and will face the number one runner in Boston, in a rematch of last year's New England 600 meter race where Tyler came out on top.
“Rubush and Gleen were then joined by Colin McLevy and Nigel Hayes, as they competed in the sprint medley relay. After winning the LL meet last week they were the top seed going in.
“Following the first two legs we were in fifth, as Rubush took the baton for the 400 meter leg. He pulled us back to just behind Danbury and Masuk as he handed off to Gleen for the anchor leg. As he did last week, Tyler made a strong move late in the 800 leg to pull away as the team placed first with a time of 3:39.
“This event is not part of the New England championship meet, so this is the final competition in the SMR for this season. Congratulations to the foursome for their LL and State Open championships.
“After helping the girls 4x800 place early in the meet, Kate Romanchick had a long wait for her 3200 meter race. As with Rubush in the 1000 meter run, we expected a very close race with seven racers all with very similar best times. The race played out as anticipated with those seven racing in a pack throughout. The first mile was in 5:29 so the pace was fast as well.
“The group stayed close together until Morgan McCormick from Wilton, the State Open cross country champion, made a move to break away with a few laps to go. The pack chased and it came down to a sprint to the finish as the seven girls finished within seven seconds of one another.
“Kate ended up in fifth place, with a nine-second personal best time for the 3200 of 11:02. She was only six seconds behind the winner and three behind second place. Amazingly, the top eight runners in the race all ran personal best times.
“The final track event of the night was the boys 4x400 meter relay. We came in seeded third, but knew it would be another tight race as the next six teams were only about one second or less behind us.
“Running in the fast heat, McLevy led off with a 54-second leg, followed by Rubush in 52, and Hayes in 54 as they handed off to Gleen for the anchor leg. Danbury had a sizable lead followed by Immaculate, Weston and Hillhouse.
“Tyler ran a 50-second anchor to pull us ahead of Weston and Hillhouse to take third in the heat with a time of 3:31. Hamden had run 3:29 in an earlier heat so the end result was a fourth place finish and four points added to the team total.
“Our final competitor was in the field, as Megan Switzgable competed in the high jump. She ended up clearing 4 feet 10 inches for 16th place overall. That concludes her terrific season after a top clearance earlier for the season of 5 feet 1 inch and a fifth place finish at the State LL meet.
“We will be well represented at the New England Championships with Gleen in the 600, Romanchick in the 3200 and the girls 4x800 and boys 4x400 in the relays.”