NEW BRITAIN - The Innovation boys and girls track teams have been competing at the state level over the past week and continued to pile on the accolades.
“When Matt Lance, Chris Mahl, and I started up this program … I don’t think any of us imagined having this kind of success,” coach Bryan McCain said. “Being a new program, without a track to practice on, our goal was to get kids active and to buy in to an idea of learning how to exercise, challenge yourself, and to try to be your best at whatever you do. It’s safe to say these kids have done this. It’s amazing to see how far we’ve come.”
After becoming the first female CREC athlete to earn All-State honors by winning the triple jump at the Class M state championships, senior Aaliyah Walker continued her spectacular season by placing third in the triple jump at the State Open.
That finish made Walker the first athlete in Innovation and CREC history to record a top-five finish at the State Open, and sealed a trip to the New England championships on Saturday.
Walker was just one of many Ravens at the State Open. The boys team was represented by Quentin Askew and A.J. Corso, the latter securing a trip to the State Open by finishing in second place in the mile at the Class S championships with a personal best mark of 4:34, despite entering the event seeded ninth. Corso cracked the top 20 at the State Open with a 17th-place finish in the mile, and Askew finished in 13th place in the 800 meters.
The boys 4x100 relay team of Malachi Bolden, Elijah Pouncey, Colby Gray and Lester Emmanuel finished in 16th place after setting a school record in the event at the Class S championships.
On the girls side, Katerina Rodriguez joined Walker at the State Open and finished 19th overall in the high jump after a fifth-place finish in Class M.
Senior Morgan Sartor competed in the hammer throw at the New England Championships on Wednesday and recorded a personal record of 139 feet, 1 inch, good for an 11th place finish among the best competitors in New England.
“These kids have worked so hard this year and for the past several years and I’m so proud of what they have accomplished,” McCain said. “On top of being really good athletes, these kids are high quality human beings. Most of them are going to compete next year in college and those programs are gaining some great kids.”