Last year’s outdoor track season saw a number of teams and individuals have plenty of success both in the regular and postseason.
New Britain, Berlin, Southington each had at least one athlete win an individual state title, while the Blue Knights also captured the State Open crown. Newington, Plainville and Innovation also had some top-notch performances during their respective conference meets. Overall, it was a strong season for outdoor track and field season and this year figures to be no different.
Here is a closer look at each team:
Head coach: Darwin Shaw (34th season)
Last year: 14th in Class LL
Key losses: N/A
Key returnees: Rozalyn Smith (sophomore, triple jump), Raven-Symone Jarrett (sophomore, hurdles)
Newcomers to watch: Stella Ofei (sprints), Treanaliz Maestri (sprints)
Outlook: The Hurricanes were a young team last season and features only six upperclassmen on their entire roster. As such, there were plenty of learning experiences for New Britain to go through. But as long as everyone remains healthy, that should only benefit the Hurricanes this year. They also have some strong talent returning that showed well in 2018. Sophomore Rozalyn Smith won the Class LL state title in Class LL, while Raven-Symone Jarrett placed fifth in the 300 hurdles. This will certainly be a team to keep an eye on throughout the season and could make some headway in LL. It should be an interesting season for New Britain.
Head coach: Steve Soucy (10th season)
Last year: 8-1-1 (3rd in Class M)
Key losses: Nikki Xiarhos (All-State sprints), Lexi Kavarsky (All-State sprints)
Key returnees: Patty Mroczkowski (senior, jumps), Megan Perrotta (sophomore, mid distance), Juliana Cancellieri (junior, distance)
Newcomers to watch: Kylie Gentile (sprints), Taylor Desmarais (distance)
Outlook: Berlin has been about as consistent as a program can be under the direction of head coach Steve Soucy. Just in the past five seasons alone, the Redcoats have placed in the top 10 of their state meet and that same expectation, if not more, is anticipated this year. Soucy believes Berlin should be very balanced this season, which should result in a run at the Class M state title.
It’s with good reason too. Despite the Redcoats losing key performers like All-State sprinters Nikki Xiarhos and Lexi Kavarsky, the team brings back a wealth of talent, including All-State jumper Patty Mroczkowski, who won both Class M and State Open high jump titles. There’s also Megan Perrotta in the mid-distance events and Juliana Cancellieri running distance among others.
But no matter who will be out there for Berlin, opponents have to know they’re most likely going to be in for a tough afternoon. Overall, it should be another excellent season for the Redcoats.
Head coach: Jen Deschenes-Emord
Last year: 4-4, 22nd in Class L
Key losses: Alexa Freitas, Claudia Padykula, Gaby Paxi, Angelina Zacharias
Key returnees: Maggie Callahan, Kassidy Doyle, Maia Ericson, Madelyn Gentile, Samantha Gorski, Jillian Grande, Essence Kelley, Tanijha Ledbetter, Maya Leonard, Caroline Lynch, Abby Lyons, Rashell Mezquia, Isabel Paxi, Mia Vendetti
Newcomers to watch: Erika Cuevas, Alexandra Daha, Ashanti Fraizer, Alyse Karanian, Caylee Sanders
Outlook: There were both some positive moments and some tough ones for Newington last season. The Indians had a number of young athletes and as such, had to go through some growing pains along the way. But last year should only serve to help Newington this season and it looks to return a solid nucleus of young talent that is sure to have benefitted from last season and will continue to grow. The Indians have a few athletes who want to try events the team has had trouble scoring points in the past and head coach Jen Deschenes-Emord sees that as an exciting aspect and how that plays out on meet days.
Head coach: Connor Green (4th season)
Last year: 11-3 (State Open champions, 5th in Class LL)
Key Losses: Megan Biscoglio, Amanda Howe, Tayler Riddick, Abby Connolly, Julia Groll, Janette Wadolowski, Mikaela June, Allie Brown, Amanda Brocki, Deb Hannigan, Laini Pizzitola
Key returnees: Natalie Verderame (senior, sprints/relays), Kate Kemnitz (senior, distance), Samantha Przbylski (senior, sprints/relays), Alijah Vega (senior, javelin), Trinity Cardillo (junior, throws), Sydney Garrison (junior, jumps), Livy Pizzitola (sophomore, sprints/relays/jumps), Shannon Litchfield (sophomore, sprints/relays), Anny Moquete (junior, distance)
Outlook: It was quite an ending to last season for Southington. The Blue Knights won the State Open title and would like nothing more than to add to its trophy case this year.
Replacing perennial standouts and Division I athletes such as Megan Biscoglio and Amanda Howw will be difficult, but Southington is returning a plethora of talent that includes athletes such as Trinity Cardillo, Sydney Garrison, Alijah Vega and Kate Kemnitz, who are all close to breaking records. Head coach Connor Green also sees a lot of depth on his team, especially in the field events, which he believes will be the Blue Knights best asset this season. If there is an issue, according to the head coach, it’s the hurdles. Green said this is one of his team’s weaker areas, but is constantly looking to build strong hurdlers.
Overall, expect another strong season from Southington. It has the talent, after all, to do so.
Head coach: Tim Shea (3rd season)
Last year: 3-3 (24th in Class M)
Key losses: N/A
Key returnees: Sydni Spencer (senior, muli), Samantha Lozefski (senior, jumps), Cheyenne Gregory (senior, throws), Callia Donahue (senior, sprint/vault), Amy Muller (senior, sprint), Ebelyn Rodriquez (senior, distance), Marlee Susco (senior, throws), Allie Chambrello (senior, distance), Emma Lopez (junior, distance), Jillian Arens (junior, sprint/hurdles), Simona Barbagallo (junior, throw), Helena Rose Yawin (junior, distance), Tess Susco (sophomore, jumps), Caitlin Quilter (sophomore, sprint/hurdles)
Newcomer to watch: Morgan Levesque (freshman, distance)
Outlook: Plainville had plenty of good moments last season and is looking to build off of that this year, especially with the upperclassmen who are returning. The Blue Devils have a good group of seniors, including Sydni Spencer, Samantha Lozefski, Cheyenne Gregory, Callia Donahue and Amy Muller, who all qualified for more than one event at the state qualifier.
If there is a concern, however, it will be the depth, or lack thereof, and head coach Tim Shea said the team will have to get creative to fill out every event during dual meets. The team also has a lot of young athletes and first timers for track and field.
Still, Shea is looking forward to the Blue Devils’ season, one that he expects the group to contend both in conference and at the state level.
Head coach: Bryan McCain (6th season)
Last year: Won CRAL championship, 17th in Class S
Key losses: N/A
Key returnees: Morgan Sartor (senior, discus/hammer/shot put), Aaliyah Walker (senior, heptathlon), Malena Van Beveren (senior, javelin), Mackensie Spencer (senior, hurdles/long jump), Tiandra Scott (junior, relays/sprint), Katerina Rodrigues (senior, high jump), Victoria Merced (junior, long/high jump), Breanna Santana (junior, sprint/jumps)
Newcomers to watch: Ashley Palombizio (freshman, throws), Katherine Palombizio (freshman, throws), Alice Bidoue (freshman), Te'ijah Roberts (freshman), Chelsea Wray-Brown (freshman), Carese Davis (freshman, mid-distance)
Outlook: Innovation might still be a fairly new program, but the Ravens have been highly successful and are looking to continue that success this season. The team is going for its sixth consecutive conference title between the indoor and outdoor seasons and has a lot of veteran experience to rely on to do so.
Jumping is one of the team’s biggest strengths according to head coach Bryan McCain and has a lot of high-level talent at those spots. If there is a weakness, for Innovation, it would be a lack of depth to help backup its top talent. How the Ravens go about this will be interesting to see. Innovation does have a lot of new athletes who are eager to try different events, so that could be helpful along the way.
In the end, another strong season for the Ravens is expected and that means a title of some kind or two.