Darien track athletes take gold at Nutmeg games
Despite keeping a minimal training regimen for the past eight weeks, Keller dusted off his sneakers over the weekend and came away with three medals at the Nutmeg State Games, which were held Veteran's Memorial Stadium in New Britain.
Keller, who will be a senior at Darien High this fall, participated in three track and field events in the 15-18 age group. He took gold in the men's 400-meter dash, finishing with a time of 52.2 seconds. The bronzes came in the 100-meter dash (11.7) and long jump (20 feet, 6 inches).
"The 400 is my event, and I really like seeing my times drop," Keller said. "That will be one of my strong running events. That and the long jump."
The competition wasn't all-state or FCIAC quality, Keller said, but it was still organized competition, and that kept the juices flowing and was, at a minimum, a confidence-booster.
"It wasn't very competitive, to be honest, definitely wasn't like a state meet or anything like that," said Keller, "but I'm happy I came away with a gold and two bronzes. I would've liked to jump or run a little bit better. I know I'm better."
The co-captain of the indoor and outdoor track teams said his coach, Tyson Kaczmarek, implored him to compete in the games to keep his body in tune. Keller doesn't run cross country; he'll be weight-training and running in the fall to tune up for the winter season indoors.
"My coach (Kaczmarek), he gave me workouts and things I should do, and I've done them every week," Keller said, admitting he's rested up quite a bit this summer, too. "I'll do a workout here and there or just try and not completely take a week off."
Turns out Keller wasn't the only one from Darien competing at the games, though he thought that may be the case when he first decided to participate.
Conley took first place in the 1,600 meters race in the 15-18 age group category. Conley crossed 4 minutes, 32 seconds, while Watson was 14 seconds behind his Blue Wave teammate, finishing fourth overall and setting a new personal best.
Conley's gold medal qualifies him to run in the 2011 State Games of America, which are held in San Diego.
Darien's representation at the games -- which is a multi-sport, Olympic-style competition in 26 events for any amateur athlete in Connecticut -- surely bodes more positive things to come for the track and field teams in 2010-11.