Coming off a runner-up finish in the Class L state championships, but having lost a large number of key point-getters to graduation, it remains to be seen just where Darien High School's boys indoor track and field team will wind up this campaign. Coach Tyson Kaczmarek, though, notes that his team members have been battle-tested.
The boys won the FCIAC's East Division and tied for sixth with Norwalk in the FCIAC championships before finishing only four points behind Windsor in the Class L state championships.
"Certainly that's in the back of our minds," Kaczmarek said of how close the team came only to come up a little short in the Class L meet. "We're definitely excited and feel we can definitely have a good season and capitalize on the momentum we built last year. I think we carried that over pretty well into the outdoor season."
The Wave placed fourth in the spring outdoor track and field campaign.
"These guys have been tested in a lot of close meets," Kaczmarek said. "They're experienced in terms of pressure. That, I think, is invaluable."
The Wave will move forward without 15 or so significant contributors from last year's squad who graduated.
"We definitely have to have guys step up. They understand that's the expectation every year," Kaczmarek said.
"Each year we come back with good guys and we're looking forward to winning the class title that we almost won last year," junior captain and distance runner Brian Davey said. "I feel like we have enough guys coming back that we'll rise to the challenge."
This year's captains, in addition to Davey, are sprinter/ jumper Nick Lombardo (state champion in the high jump event a year ago), sprinter Judson Bergman, shot-put competitor Will Lochtefeld and distance runners Andrew Xion and Peter Kreuch.
Other key team members are distance runner Alex Ostberg, sprinter C.J. Raia, sprinter/ jumper Spencer McMullin, distance runner Sean Lee, distance runner Marshall Huffman, thrower Spencer McKeough, distance runner Ben Olsen and sprinters Cameron Smith and Cooper Drippe.
"All around, I think we're solid. I think we cover a lot," Kaczmarek said. "We did lose a lot but we have a big junior class."
And with that class comes that big meet, close competition experience. Kaczmarek's goals are to successfully defend the divisional title and do as well as possible in the state meet.
"We want to get as many guys as possible to qualify for FCIACs and states," Kaczmarek said said.
Danbury, Staples, New Canaan, Trumbull, Wilton and Ridgefield are all tough teams in the FCIAC. The Wave know they have their share of competition to try to overcome in the conference, and Kaczmarek considers the FCIAC championships to be a trial run for the state divisional finals which include less of those challenging FCIAC foes.
Following the New Haven Invitational and Reindeer Relays in Wilton on Dec. 14 and 15, respectively, the Wave will go back to Wilton for a developmental meet on Dec. 22.
The regular season continues through mid January when the postseason kicks off and the Wave will have a chance to put that close meet exposure to the test when it matters most.