The Weston High girls indoor track team had so dominated the South-West Conference that victory at the league championships was nearly taken for granted, until last year, when Immaculate was the surprise winner and Weston had to settle for third place.
Nonetheless, the Trojans removed all doubt about their return to dominance with 129 points, easily outpacing runner-up New Milford with 69 points and Newtown with 57 on Saturday, Feb. 2 at Hillhouse High in New Haven.
Entering the meet, the Trojans were without the help of perennial All-SWC sprinter and co-captain Sydney Allon, a fixture on the relay teams, who has been out all season recovering from knee surgery. Weston also had limited duty from Whitney Farber, one of the top sprinters in the state, who has been nursing a foot injury. Yet it would count on many other athletes to rise to the occasion with personal best times and places.
“All of the seniors really stepped up at the meet,” head coach Matt Medve said, “and so did this great group of freshmen. At the same time, all the athletes in the sophomore and junior classes had outstanding performances. It was truly a great team effort.”
The 4×200 relay team of seniors Sara Dietzman and Amanda Matluck, junior Farber, and freshman Nathalie Feingold set the tone early by taking silver medal, breaking the school record set just last year with a time of 1.49.82 and beating out second-seeded New Milford by nearly .4 seconds. Masuk won the race in 1:48.06.
Seeded fourth in the 4×800, junior Jordan Isaacs and freshmen Emily Iatesta, Charlotte Cenatiempo and Andi Rosenblatt took second. Matluck then took fourth in the 55 meter dash with a personal best and new school record time of 7.58.
In the 1,000, Rhémi Toth took the gold medal with a personal best time of 3:05.88 against a group of veteran competitors, beating New Milford’s Sierra Grazia by more than three seconds.
“Rhémi was never really challenged in that race against some experienced runners,” Medve said. “Great things lie ahead for this girl.”
Olivia Watson knocked a full second off her personal best and took fourth place in the 1,000, beating out tough competition from Pomperaug and Newtown.
Meanwhile, in the field events, senior co-captain Emily Savage and Dietzman went to work, racking up a huge number of points. Weston took the first three places in the high jump, with Savage taking the gold at five feet, followed by Dietzman at the same height but with more jumps, and Chloe Shapiro at 4’ 8”.
In the long jump, third-seeded Dietzman took the gold and Savage took silver with jumps of 16’ 6” and 16’ 1” respectively, both posting their best results of the season. Sophie Rueben, seeded 12th, leaped 14’ 6”, a personal best by more than a foot and good enough for fifth place.
Savage then attacked the pole vault, setting a new meet record with a jump of 12’ 1”. Jane Wall took second with a jump of 10’ 6”, while Hanna Campos took fifth and Emily Castro took sixth by clearing eight feet, personal bests for both.
The second-seeded sprint medley team of Matluck, Cenatiempo, Toth and Wall took the gold, edging out New Milford and Pomperaug.
In the 600, Alexa Werner posted a personal best time of 1:43:00, good enough for third place, while Isaacs knocked more than four seconds off her previous best time to take fifth. Devon Tyler did not score points for the team but also took nearly four seconds off her prior personal best.
Rosenblatt took fourth in the 3,200 race with a time of 12:21.37, also a personal best. In the 4 x400, the team of Feingold, Werner, Toth and Wall took second with a time of 4:16.36.
“I always try to motivate the kids throughout the season, and I tell them that hard work, determination and practice will pay off,” Medve said. “We had some tough weather conditions, practicing outside in 15 to 20 degree weather and wind, but they gutted it out and it paid off. That was a great team effort.”
Looking forward to Saturday’s Class S championships at Hillhouse High School, Medve said that Bloomfield, winner of Class S for three straight years is the favorite to repeat. Weston won Class S in 2007, 2008, and 2009, and then moved up to Class M the past three years.
“Bloomfield certainly knows who we are,” Medve said. “If we are on our game, we have a 50/50 chance to win. It’s going to be an exciting day.”