The indoor track season saw a number of area athletes break school records or replace their own top marks in program history. With multiple state champions, the picks for our annual All-Herald indoor track team can run, throw and jump with the best of them, and had some of the most dominant track careers at their respective schools.
The Southington girls team boasts two entries, and rightfully so. Trinity Cardillo and Sydney Garrison have been dominant for the Blue Knights throughout their high school careers, and this season was no different. Cardillo secured her second straight state championship in the shot put when she recorded the top mark at the Class LL championships, logging a top mark of 43 feet, 7.5 inches. After helping Southington pick up a ninth-place finish at the state championships, Cardillo placed second in the shot put at the State Open with a throw of 43 feet, 4.75 inches, trailing only Alliyah Boothe of Bloomfield, to help the Blue Knights secure 10th place overall. Cardillo, who makes this group for the second straight season, improved upon her fourth-place finish at last year’s State Open, and her throw at this year’s State Open was well beyond last year’s mark of 41 feet, 9.5 inches. She continued her improvements into the New England Championships, where she took first place and finished in the top 15 in the nation in the shot put and weight throw.
Cardillo, the school record-holder in the shot put, will continue her track career in college when she competes for Northeastern University next year.
Garrison couldn’t quite join Cardillo as a champion in Class LL, finishing second overall in the high jump with a mark of 5 feet, 2 inches, but she was just saving her best for the bigger stage. At the State Open, Garrison jumped 5 feet, 6.5 inches to take first place overall, avenging her second-place finish from the year before.
Like Cardillo, Garrison makes this list for the second straight season, and her jump at the State Open improved upon her own program record she set the year before. A four-time all-conference selection, Garrison will be competing at the University of Hartford next season.
Garrison wasn’t the only local state champion at Class LL competition. New Britain’s Stella Ofei took first place in the 55 meter dash with a time of 7.37, and also placed fourth in the 300 meter dash to complete an all-around memorable performance. At the State Open, Ofei took 13th place overall in the 55 meter dash, completing an impressive career for the Hurricanes.
Also recording a strong season for New Britain was Baijeon Bookal of the boys squad. Bookal, also a senior, finished in second place in the 55 meter dash at the Class LL sate championships and fourth in the 300 meter, then carried that momentum into the State Open, where he placed third in the 55 meter dash with a time of 6.49, and fifth in the 300 meter dash with a mark of 35.88. Bookal and Ofei will both be tough for New Britain to replace next season.
Rounding out our group is Newington’s Olivia Mullings, who helped the girls sprint medley relay team break a school record that had stood for 10 years. Mullings also broke the school record in the 300 meter dash when she set a mark of 43.08 during the regular season, and improved upon that at the Class L state championships when she finished with a time of 42.61 in the finals, good for third place overall. She was also part of the 4x200 relay team that finished fifth overall in Class L, then finished her season with a 12th-place finish in the 300 meter dash at the State open. Mullings, also an All-State and All-New England talent in soccer, still has her senior season left to break more school records before her high school career comes to a close.