Once again, boys indoor track rules its side of the conference
The boys indoor track team has been the best of the east for quite awhile now.
The Blue Wave captured their eighth consecutive Eastern Division championship by posting 157.5 points at Saturday's meet, easily distancing themselves from second-place New Canaan, which posted a total of 117.
The team captured six first-place finishes en route to victory, and leading the way was Kevin Keller. Keller broke his and the school's record in the long jump by leaping 21-9 on his final attempt (Keller jumped 21-4 in 2009). Keller was also first in the 300 in 38.25, and along with Brent Eppley, Corey Eppley and Peter McDonough, placed first in the 4 x 225 relay in 1:55.63.
The meet got off to a good start for Darien, as Ryan Mahoney out-kicked the New Canaan anchor to take the 4 x 750. Meanwhile, Darien scored three places in high jump. However, New Canaan came back by scoring three places in pole vault. Darien grabbed firm control on the lead by scoring two places in the 1000 and the 1600 as the team gradually outdistanced New Canaan.
"I thought the meet would be closer," head coach Tyson Kaczmarek said. "New Canaan has a good team. Our guys stepped up and performed at a high level like they do every year at this meet. This is my favorite meet of the season because it gets us ready for championship time."
John Conley accumulated 28 of Darien's points with wins in the 1,600 (4:44.30) and 3,200 (10:24.70), while finishing second in the 1,000 with a personal best of 2:44.95. Jake McCauley, who was the backbone of the cross country squad in the fall -- competing in the same events -- was fourth in the 1,000 (2:52.34), third in the 1,600 (4:51.20) and fourth in the 3,200 (10:41.10).
Kaczmarek said he never takes his athletes for granted; a few guys are expected to do a lot of things for this team.
"Conley and McCauley are always asked to do a lot," Kaczmarek said. "The three events they run are an extremely difficult triple at this meet. There is pressue and they have to race hard and conserve energy. This is very difficult. We train to be able to do this at this meet. They deserve a lot of credit."
Stockton McMullin was second in the long jump (20-6.25), second in the 300 (38.32) and second in the 45 (5.89, a personal best). Brent Eppley was fourth in long jump (19-5.5, a season best) and third in the 45 (5.95, a personal best). Corey Eppley was on the sprint medley team, which placed second along with Jack Bushell, Stevenson Bone and Alex Reynoso in 3:48.1.
" Our three jumpers -- Keller, McMullin and Eppley -- have been rock-solid all year," Kaczmarek said. "They compete banged up. They push each other in practice. They work hard. The deserve every bit of success they get this season. They take nothing for granted. Today was no different. They were awesome."
Bone and Bushell joined with Sean Gill and Matt Pik to place third in the 4 x 375 in 3:36.60. Gill was third in the 45 hurdles in 7.77, while Pik placed third in the 600 in 1:33.46.
Austin Cockerill was first in high jump with a mark of 5-10, followed by Graham Hotchkiss (tie for third, 5-8) and Charlie Taylor (tied for sixth, 5-4). Colin Vanderhorn tied for fifth in pole vault, getting 10 feet up, and Charlie Baird was sixth in the 3,200 in 10:53.70. The 4 x 750 team of Brandon Tripodi, Matt Gentile, Michael Johnston and Mahoney was third in 8:41.1.
Now, with little rest, the group gets to go up against the best in the county later today at Hillhouse at 4:30.
" We will be in the mix for FCIACs," Kaczmarek said. "We really want to have a good showing. It is a tough turn around to have to compete on Thursday. However, we are ready for the challenge."
For the complete results from this race, you can visit http://www.clubct.org/HighSchool/Indoor/10Indoor/10East.html.
-- Tyson Kaczmarek contributed to this story.