As the early-season results have indicated so far, Greenwich’s boys track and field team is indeed, going to be a squad to watch out for this spring.
The Cardinals have posted standout performances in each event during their first three meets, their latest fine efforts coming Monday against Norwalk at Cardinal Stadium.
Andrew O’Donnell and ZJ Jelinek each won two individual events for Greenwich, which defeated Norwalk, 92-54, to raise its record to 4-1.
“Our first two meets were really good,” O’Donnell said. “We lost a close one to Danbury, which I really wanted to win, but a lot of our new athletes ran really well, which was exciting. I’m looking forward to seeing them develop, so I think that will be great for us down the stretch of the season. We had a pretty strong showing against the Bridgeport teams and the team’s coming together nicely so far.”
O’Donnell, a senior, who will compete on the track team at the University of Pennsylvania next season, won the 100-meter dash against Norwalk with a time of 10.90 seconds – a personal-record. Norwalk junior Jamar Alcena placed second (11.58). In the 200-meter run, O’Donnell crossed the finish line first, registering a time of 21.92 (personal-record). Teammate Gianluca Bianchi was the runner-up (23.22), followed by Cardinals junior Harrison Goldenberg (23.88).
“I ran the 100 for the first time this season and I didn’t really have expectations for myself,” said O’Donnell, who earned All-American honors at the New Balance Indoor Nationals in the 400-meter run. “I ran a PR, even though I didn’t have a good start, so it was nice to do that. I’m just looking forward to running my events this season and maybe I’ll add the 100 to the events I run every meet now.”
Bianchi was Monday’s 400-meter winner, clocking in at 49.44, while teammates Cameron Williams (54.32) and Aidan Fay (56.77) finished second and third, respectively.
Jelinek had victories in the 800-meter event (2:05.89, season-record) and the 1-mile run (1600-meters), posting a time of 4:33.17. Sophomore Antonio Ciccarelli was the runner-up for GHS in the 800 (2:09.36), while teammate Quinn Collins, a senior, took third (2:10.27). Ciccarelli was third in the mile in 4:38.37.
“The 800, I was doing it as a workout and to work on my start and getting my body used to that,” said Jelinek, who will compete at Bucknell University next season. “I did the mile, which was very fun, because they have a really fast miler. Usually what I do is I’ll let them lead, then in the final 800 I try to out kick them. This race, I was pretty much running on my own. I love the mile, it’s probably my favorite event. I was three seconds off my PR, which running alone is good.”
Jelinek helped spark Greenwich’s successful indoor winter track team, which placed second in the team standings at the CIAC Class LL Championships and fourth at the State Open Championships. He was part of the Cards’ sprint medley relay, which had a fourth-place, All-American finish at New Balance Nationals Indoor Championships last month.
In Monday’s 4×400-meter relay against Norwalk, Goldenberg, Jelinek, Ciccarelli and Williams teamed up to win the event in 3:36.94.
“We went into that didn’t think we were going to have any competition, but we did,” Jelinek said. “That one was a little harder, I had to sprint that one.”
Zach Carifa, a senior, finished first in the 110 hurdles for the Cards, posting a personal-best time of 16.19 seconds. He also tied for first place with Norwalk’s Duke Quermorllue in the high jump (5-10.00). Christian Zawislack, a sophomore, won the two-mile race for Greenwich, crossing the finish line in 10:19.93. Teammate Jack Briode, a junior, was second (10:35.57).
The 4×100 relay saw the speedy foursome of junior Logan Galletta, junior James Wailgum, Michael Phillips and senior Chason Barber combine for a winning time of 44.98. Norwalk was second in 46.90.
Wyatt Abernethy, Zawislack, Briode and Fay were first for GHS in the 4×800 relay (9:03.24).
Greenwich’s next meet is against host Trumbull on April 25.
“I don’t think we’ve had this good a Greenwich team in years,” Jelinek said. “This is the best Greenwich team I’ve gotten to experience. We have a really solid base and a really nice team environment this year.”
Junior Sergot Boone gave Greenwich a winning effort in the javelin (131-00), while Carifa was second (115-06). Phillips was the pole vault winner (12-00.00) and GHS senior Sebastian Parra placed second in both the shot put (38-06.00) and discus (121-01). Norwalk’s Sebastian Pierre won both events. (41.-7.00 shot put, 143-07 discus).
“This has been our strongest team since I entered high school, which has been everything I’ve asked for my senior year,” O’Donnell said. “We have a lot of returning guys who are talented, a lot of new guys from the basketball team and other teams as well. It’s nice seeing everyone come together and make a team.”