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‘Few thought we could beat Hillhouse’: Wave takes 1st indoor state open meet

Darien outscores Hillhouse 66.33-57 for school’s best finish since Wave’s fourth place in 1991

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Maddie Schneider roars on her leg of the school record 200m relay run. (Photo courtesy of Darien Athletic Foundation)

GIRLS INDOOR TRACK

Coach Steve Norris had three reasons for Darien winning its first state open in school history.

This one was the clincher: “We produced our third straight meet of top level performances,” said Norris of Darien completing its postseason sweep of championship meets. “Nobody mis-performed.”

We have had a remarkable run over the past three meets.

— Steve Norris

Before taking it with 66.33 points to second place Hillhouse’s 57 at Floyd Little Athletic Center in New Haven Tuesday, Darien had never finished higher than fourth place at a state open girls indoor track title meet, and that was back in 1991.

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Grace Loh holds rare gold, in the school’s first-time plaque in the sport.

“We have had a remarkable run over the past three meets, first with our FCIAC Championship win, then with our Class L win, and now with the state open,” Norris said. “Certainly we were the dominant team in the first two meets”

Yet, there was still some convincing to do.

“Few thought we could beat Hillhouse today,” said Norris.

Bloomfield was a distance third with 30 points at the meet competed by nearly 50 teams.

Anna Sulger, Maddie Schneider, Catherine Lacy and Dillon Schoen won the 4×200-meter relay in 1:45.11.

Lacy scored a first in the long jump measuring in at 18-02.50.

Schoen ran second in the 600 in 1:36.05 and third was Sulger in 1:36.62.

Leah Hotchkiss had a second place high jump of 5-02.

Schneider came in second in the pole vault at 10-06 with Jessica Thornbury fourth at 10-00.

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Jessica Thornbury’s fourth place followed Maddie Schneider’s second for big Wave points in the pole vault. (Photo courtesy of Darien Athletic Foundation)

Third in the 1600 sprint medley relay was the team of Schoen, Schneider, Brittany Henry and Grace Loh in 4:23.34.

Loh was fourth in the 1000 in 3:02.51.

Sulger came in fourth in the 300 in 41.08,

Taylor McDonald was 13th in shot put with a throw of 33-00.

“Hillhouse runs and elite program with at least two national class athletes and others who spend their careers traveling throughout the northeast to find the best competition,” said Norris. “Moreover, Hillhouse has the best facility in Connecticut on which to train.”

Norrie’s other two reasons: “Our FCIAC victory showed us that we could be competitive at the top level; our strong Class L performance placed all our key girls in the state open, we didn’t win the open on this day, but we didn’t loose it either.”

The baton in the first relay was like a stick of dynamite to Darien’s prospects for a historic run.

“We started with a victory and another school record in the 4x200m relay,” Norris said. “We led the whole way. That set the tone.”

In the high jump Hotchkiss gave Darien another eight points by jumping 5-2 without any misses.

The Wave poured it on in the pole vault, with Schneider and Thornbury goint 2-4 respectively for another 10.33 points.

Points just came rolling in.

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Leah Hotchkiss is state open runner-up. (Photo courtesy of Darien Athletic Foundation)

“Grace Loh ran well for fourth in the 1000m,” said Norris. “In the 600m Dillon Schoen ran another school record for second, Anna Sulger was third.

“At this point we were in the driver’s seat.”

Schneider, Henry, Schoen and Loh finished third in the sprint medley and next up, it was Sulger’s fourth in the 300m.

“Our final points came from Catherine Lacy’s victory in the long jump,” Norris added. “She had the three best jumps of the competition.”

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Darien Times Sports Editor since 2000

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