Danbury boys off to typ­i­cal strong start

The News-Times - - SPORTS - By Dan Nowak

The Danbury boys out­door track team has a his­tory of starting strong each sea­son and 2019 is no ex­cep­tion.

The Hat­ters are 6-0 fol­low­ing wins over Sta­ples and Westhill on Tues­day. Danbury has also posted wins over Fair­field Warde, Green­wich, Bridge­port Cen­tral, and Fair­field Lud­lowe. The Hat­ters also won the 39th O’Grady Re­lays last week­end.

Danbury coach Rob Mur­ray cred­its a com­bi­na­tion of fac­tors for the team’s start.

“We are a very solid team on the track with our strong ar­eas be­ing sprints, mid­dis­tance, dis­tance and hur­dlers,” Mur­ray said. “The throws and jumps are com­ing along and pro­vid­ing the team with points at our dual meets.

“The weather has been tough to hit high marks, so we are hop­ing for warmer weather in May. Ma­lik Thomas has lead the way

for our sprint­ers. The hur­dles have also per­formed well in the 110 high hur­dles and 300 in­ter­me­di­ate hur­dles, par­tic­u­larly Shay Fahs­ben­der.”

Mur­ray said Jaden Ca­zorla has also had done well in the long jump and sopho­more Gabriel Kwarteng “is mak­ing early strides in his

400 me­ter and 800 me­ter per­for­mances.

One of the strong­est mem­bers of the mid­dle dis­tance run­ners is Malcolm Going in the 800.He is com­ing off wins in the in­door track sea­son in the 600 at the CIAC State Open

(1:21.40) and at the Class LL meet (1:24.01).

Going has com­mit­ted to run­ning for Amer­i­can Univer­sity.

“Malcolm opens up his sea­son this week­end at the St. An­thony In­vi­ta­tion at St An­thony High (Melville, New York) against a very com­pet­i­tive na­tional level field of 800 run­ners,” Mur­ray said. “This out­door track sea­son has re­ally just started. We trained hard in April for fast times in May.”

MA­SUK STARTS STRONG TOO

Ed Lu­cas took over the Ma­suk boys out­door track team five years ago, and since he said the team has been on the rise and the numbers bear that out.

Over the last five years the team is 53-3-1, in­clud­ing 10-0 in the dual meet reg­u­lar sea­son in 2018. Ma­suk won the South-West Con­fer­ence meet in 2016, were the run­ners up in 2018, and the CIAC Class MM cham­pi­ons in 2017. Ma­suk has also won the SWC Colo­nial Di­vi­sion the last 4 years.

This sea­son, the Pan­thers are off to an 8-0 start and last week­end they won the medium school size di­vi­sion at the O’Grady Re­lays.

“The rea­son for our success is the kids have brought into the system,” Lu­cas said. “Older ex­pe­ri­enced kids help out the newer kids with drills, in­struc­tion, and other ar­eas daily. We av­er­age about 85 boys on the team, so we have numbers to have qual­ity kids in each event.

“Our coaches work well

to­gether and our main goal is to try to get ev­ery kid to improve through­out the year and through­out the entire time that they are with us.”

The Pan­thers are com­ing off three wins in a quad meet on Mon­day with vic­to­ries over SWC ri­vals Bethel, Im­mac­u­late and We­ston. Ai­dan McShane was among the top Ma­suk per­form­ers in the meet with wins in the

110 high hur­dles (15.3) and the 300 in­ter­me­di­ate hur­dles (40.4).

Lu­cas said Conor Ma­hony (sev­enth in the 55 dash at the New England in­door meet) has been his top run­ner. He is the de­fend­ing Class MM Cham­pion in the

200. Mahoney has won the

100 and 200 in ev­ery meet he has run in this sea­son. He also scores for the Pan­thers in the long jump. Austin Pompa (dis­cus), Matt Res­nick (SWC in­door cham­pion in shot put) and Zach Minch (javelin) have given the Pan­thers strength in the throw­ing events.

Dy­lan Torok (SWC in­door high jump cham­pion), Sean Var­gas (long jump) and Jake Mac­Far­lane (triple jump) con­trib­ute in the jump­ing events. Mac­Far­lane and Isa­iah Rober­son, along with McShane, gives the team depth in the 110

and 300 hur­dles. They re­cently won the hur­dle re­lay at the O’Grady Re­lays on Satur­day. Theo Gross, Rober­son, Ma­hony, McShane and Steven Lee all ro­tate in the 4x100 re­lay and are about .5 sec­onds off qual­i­fy­ing for Out­door Na­tional Meet ac­cord­ing to Lu­cas.

“We are off to a great start and still have some tough teams to face on our league sched­ule in the up­com­ing weeks,” Lu­cas said. “Plus we are going to some high qual­ity In­vi­ta­tion­als (Mid­dle­town In­vi­ta­tional and Greater Hart­ford In­vit­tional) the next few Satur­days. We set in­di­vid­ual meet team and per­sonal goals each week all hop­ing to get to where we want to be in the post­sea­son.

“We would like to be one of the teams to con­tend for an SWC ti­tle when it is all said and done. But right now there are six teams (We­ston, New­town, Pom­per­aug, Bun­nell, New Mil­ford, Ma­suk) that on any given day could win it. Going to the In­vi­ta­tion­als will al­low us to see teams and ath­letes that we don’t nor­mally see and will give us an idea of where we are in Class MM. We just take it one week at a time and con­stantly reeval­u­ate our goals for the year.”

Krista Ben­son / For Hearst Con­necti­cut Me­dia

Danbury’s Malcolm Going dur­ing the 800 at the State Open track cham­pi­onships at Wil­low Brook Park in New Bri­tain on June 4.

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