After winning the team title at the FCIAC Championships, the Greenwich High School boys track and field team added another impressive achievement to its resume when it competed at the CIAC Class LL Championships on Tuesday.
Excelling in nearly every event, the Cardinals placed second in the team standings out of 22 teams at the ultra-competitive Class LL Championships, held at Willow Brook Park in New Britain.
Behind a number of top-five finishes, Greenwich totaled a team score of 82 points. Hall won the Class LL team title, amassing 103.50 points. Norwich Free Academy placed third (80), followed by Southington (71), Manchester (51), Norwalk (41) and Ridgefield (34.50) in the 22-team meet.
“This has been the best track and field team Greenwich has ever had and I’m so proud of my fellow teammates and captains for making the team what it is,” Greenwich senior ZJ Jelinek said. “It’s super fun to have my final year at GHS be so exciting.”
In the 200-meter dash, senior Andrew O’Donnell captured the Class LL title for Greenwich, crossing the finish line first in 22.05 seconds. Senior Isaac Dacres was third in 22.94 seconds, while teammate Gianluca Bianchi place fourth (23.09) for the Cardinals, who scored 21 points in the event.
“It was a great day for us, we had a ton of strong performances, the best as a team as we have in the history of the meet,” O’Donnell said. “It was nice to see everyone’s progress show on the track and I couldn’t be more proud of each individual in the program.”
O’Donnell also claimed the gold medal in the 400-meter dash, registering a winning time of 48.06 seconds and giving the Cardinals 10 points to their total. Bianchi was the runner-up in a personal-record time of 48.98, while teammate Cameron Williams, a freshman, took third (51.77).
The 800-meter run saw Jelinek earn the first-place medal, winning the Class LL title in the event by clocking in at 1:55.07 (personal-best time). Jalen St. Fort from Staples, a senior, won the race in 1:54.60. Cardinals senior Quinn Collins had a 10th-place finish in 2:00.91. Jelinek’s time in the 800 was a Greenwich High School record.
Greenwich’s 4×400-meter relay team of sophomore Harrison Goldenberg, Bianchi, Jelinek and O’Donnell combined for a winning time of 3:22.50 at the Class LL finals, giving GHS 10 more team points. The Cards then finished third in the 4×800-meter relay, with senior Robert Enslein, sophomore Antonio Ciccarelli, Collins and sophomore Aidan Fay combining for a time of 8:15.28.
“This year of GHS track has been exceptional,” Collins said. “The amount of runners going to nationals is extremely impressive. I’m also very proud about the 4×800 team going to nationals. It’s been a goal since last year for the team to go to nationals and though I’m sad that my high school running career is coming to an end, I couldn’t have asked for a better send off.”
Dacres was sixth in the 100-meter dash (11.26) and senior Shaan Parekh finished sixth in the 300 hurdles for the Cardinals (42.92).
Zach Carifa, a senior, placed fifth for the Cards in the long jump (20-07.75) and senior Michael Phillips was seventh in Class LL in the pole vault (11-00.00). Sophomore Aidan Karson was eighth in the high jump (5-10.00) and Carifa finished ninth (5-10.00). The Cardinals also had a ninth-place showing at the Class LL Championships in the 4×100 relay (Williams, Dacres, Phillips, Goldenberg, 44.23).
“I am also so proud of the younger guys on the team,” Jelinek said. “GHS track and field would be nothing without our younger guys stepping up and giving it their all. Even though this year has been our best year in GHS track history, I know that the younger guys will carry the team even further. Me and the other captains are happy to hand off the team to such a dedicated group of athletes.”