A group of talented, fast and determined athletes finished their winter indoor track season for Greenwich High School’s girls team in championship fashion.
Senior Kayla Egan, senior Olivia Eslava, junior Haley Townsend and sophomore Esme Daplyn combined their talents to win the girls 1600-meter sprint medley relay Rising Stars race at the 2022 New Balance Nationals Indoor Championships on Friday at the Armory in Manhattan. The Cardinals’ speedy foursome combined for a time of 4:12 in the event, which consists 200 meter runs in the first two legs, a 400-meter run in the third leg and an 800 run in the fourth and final leg.
Egan started the 1600 sprint medley for Greenwich at Nationals, then passed the baton to Eslava, who turned it to Townsend. Daplyn anchored the race, running the last 800 meters.
“I think going into it we were hoping to get top six, because we knew we had a fast time and we just know that we are strong athletes and we can put out a strong effort,” Daplyn said. “We were hopeful we could get top six. We saw the other teams running fast times.”
Daplyn, who produced another standout track season for the Cardinals, knew she had to keep her composure as she began her anchor leg of the race.
“As an anchor, it was really intimidating,” Daplyn said. “Kayla and Olivia gave us a good start, they both ran the 200 and then Haley ran a 400 leg and she hit a PR (personal-record) in it, so she was going fast. That was an eight-second PR and just shy of school record. When I got the baton I was thinking be patient, because sometimes I get excited and run a little too fast. The second lap, I overtook the girl in second and going into that final lap, I was thinking ‘just give it your all’ and that back stretch I kicked a little bit.”
Union Catholic from New Jersey placed second behind Greenwich in the 1600 sprint medley relay with a time of 4:12.99. The race included 22 relay teams.
“It took us a while to realize we won because there was another heat,” Daplyn noted. “We were excited for our PR, it was an 8-second improvement from our previous PR. When we found out we won, we were all in disbelief, we hadn’t realized it was possible. We were all nervous going into a competitive race. Though we knew we had strong efforts in the season it wasn’t on our radar that we could win the race.”
Following the victory, the Cardinals’ fast foursome proudly displayed their first-place medals. Daplyn especially enjoys the relay events.
“Being able to run with a group of girls so talented is such a fun experience,” she said. “To not to be there alone and have the support of your teammates is exciting. Everyone’s splits were outstanding.”
Greenwich’s 1600-meter medley relay runners also excelled in the event at the CIAC Class LL Championships, posting a time of 4:20.84 – which they greatly improved upon at Nationals on Friday – and were strong in the event at the State Open and New England Championships.
Daplyn was two times a champion at Nationals. After competing in the sprint medley relay at the New Balance Nationals, she tested her skills in the Nike Indoor Nationals today at Ocean Breeze Athletic Complex in Staten Island, N.Y. She went on to win the 800-meter run in the Emerging Elite division, registering a time of 2:17.34. Grace Carr from Cumberland, Rhode Island, was the second-place finisher, clocking in at 2:19.36 in the event, which included 27 competitors.
“I was hoping to get top-six get and get recognition,” Daplyn said. “I was more nervous for this one knowing it was just going to be me. I was probably in second position for the first two laps and went ahead into first.”
“Winning the race was an unbelievable feeling, it was exciting knowing I worked the whole season to get to this point,” Daplyn continued. “My coach (Peter Watson) has been incredible to the training and success.”
Indeed, the environment surrounding the national championships added to the excitement level.
“I always the atmosphere exhilarating, because everyone is so excited to be there,” Daplyn said. “You are all there to run and have fun. It is your final race of the season you all get to celebrate.”
Egan, Eslava, Townsend and junior Kaitlyn Fay also competed in the 4×200-meter Emerging Elite relay and posted a personal-record time.
“This season was definitely unexpected after a long two years of COVID, with virtual meets or no meets and our indoor nationals in 2020 being canceled the day before our race – having so much success was amazing,” said Egan, one of Greenwich’s captains. “The team was really able to come together and improve in every individual way, whether it be making it to nationals, or beating a personal record.”