4×400 relay leads Darien at FCIAC boys track championships

Darien’s Jack Holly takes the baton from teammate Austin Dehmel during the 4×400 relay at the FCIAC indoor track and field championships in New Haven on Thursday, Jan. 31. — Dave Stewart/Hearst Connecticut Media photo

The Darien 4×400 team raced to a second-place finish to highlight the FCIAC boys indoor track and field championships for the Blue Wave last Thursday at the Floyd Little Athletic Center in New Haven.

The Wave scored 24 points at the meet, which was good for eighth place in the team standings.

Seniors Pierce Hoyda and Andrew Donovan teamed up with juniors Austin Dehmel and Jack Holly in the 4×400 relay, as the Wave finished in the silver-medal spot with a time of 3:36.78. The quartet earned All-FCIAC first team honors with the performance.

“The race unfolded perfectly for us,” head coach Tyson Kaczmarek said. “We knew we would be right in the mix. There is still plenty of time the group can drop. Mentally, they were very ready for this race.”

Danbury, which was the overall champion, edged Darien with a time of 3:34.65, while third-place Greenwich was more than four seconds behind the Wave with a time of 3:38.79.

Holly and Dehmel also ran well in the 300-meter dash, as Holly was fifth in 37.09 and Dehmel was ninth in 37.90.

Hoyda joined forces with senior Tyler Herget, and juniors Nick Balenzano and Jacob Grimm to place fifth in the sprint medley relay with a time of 3:54.38.

Seniors Donovan, Herget, Tyler Strub and Matt Firmin finished 10th in the 4 x 200 in 1:40.35.

Balenzano had a fine showing in the long jump, finishing fifth with a leap of 20 feet, 2 inches.

“Nick finally broke 20 feet,” Kaczmarek said. “He has been so close all season.”

Senior Ryan Eppley took third in high jump at 6 feet, and senior Kieran Daly was ninth at 5 feet, 6 inches.

Junior Aiden Hills was fourth in pole vault at 11 feet, with junior Alexander Zanin finishing ninth at 10 feet.

“Even though our score doesn’t reflect it, we had a great day,” Kaczmarek said. “We had about 40 performances and 27 of them tied or set personal bests. That is all you can ask for as a coach. The Class L meet should be just as good.”