Bone Sets Record In State Open; Girls Fifth, Boys 10th
NEW HAVEN -- Led by Robin Bone's record-setting State Open pole vault effort and first-place finishes in the long and high jump competitions by Christy Gasparino, Darien High School's girls track and field team came in fifth at Saturday's State Open at the New Haven Athletic Center.
The Blue Wave boys team also had some strong performances en route to a 10th-place finish in the day-long event, which featured the best of the best athletes from around the state. The team qualified four athletes for the New England Championships on March 5.
Two other records, alongside Bone's mark, fell. The Danbury girls sealed the team championship with a victory and a meet record in the 4 x 200 relay, while John Raneri of New Fairfield set the state record in the boys 3,200 meters.
Danbury led a field of 41 girls teams to score points in the event with 52 points. Darien accumulated 29 points to edge out sixth-place Windsor (28) for a top-five result. The girls meet was close throughout, but Danbury's impressive victory in the 4 x 200 -- the final track event of the day -- all but wrapped up the title. The Hatters' foursome of Teyanna Green, Nyoshee Lowry, Walton and Charisma Green won with a meet-record time of 1:42.14 and scored some valuable team points over Weaver, which finished second in the even
On the boys' side, New Britain, with 57 points, won in a battle of 52 teams to score during the Open. Darien's boys scored 14 points to finish in a three-way tie for 10th with Weston and Seymour.
Bone captured the pole vault title by getting as high as 11 feet, 10 inches, good enough to break the Open record, set by Jessica Sullivan of Norwich Free Academy in 2007. Gasparino won the long jump competition with a leap of 5-04.00. Gasparino also captured the high jump crown by clearing the bar at 5-04.00.
The DHS standouts earned 10 points in each of their first-place events.
"The best part about being here is definitely the great level of competition," Bone said. "You can showcase what you've been working for all season to the best in the state."
Bone certainly did a good job of showcasing with her record-setting performance.
Gasparino was oh so close to winning the 55 meter hurdles competition, setting for a runner-up finish with a time of 8.53, just behind Weaver's Cassandra Bennett (8.52). She participated in the long jump event and came in eighth (15-11.50).
In the 1,600 meter run, Darien's Cat Thomas placed sixth in a time of 5:19.86. Elizabeth Crafford was eighth in the pole vault event (10-00.00). Ann Fucigna also qualified for the Open in the pole vault competition at the State Open
"I think it's a really good confidence booster," Crafford said of having talented athletes from throughout Connecticut competing in the same venue. "You get to see the best athletes in the state."
It was the third time this season Keller broke the school record which he previously set. He'll be attending New Englands. Keller's teammates, Stockton McMullin and Brent Eppley, finished seventh and 13th, respectively, with leaps of 20-09.75 and 19-05.00.
Darien's 4 x 200 meter relay team, comprised of McMullin, Eppley, Peter McDonough and Keller came in third in a time of 1:34.13.
"There's so much great competition here," Keller said.
Eppley said he enjoyed hearing the cheering of the supportive fans who packed the Athletic Center's corners and balcony to help encourage all of the participants.
"They deserve it. They've been working hard every day in practice," DHS boys coach Tyson Kaczmarek said.
Kaczmarek said that this was a small contingent of Darien boys' participants compared to recent years, but added that this was also the most he's seen a DHS team bring for the long jump event.
What a year it's been for this gropu -- this ending was the best finish for the boys team at a State Open in the last seven years, or since Kaczmarek began coaching the team.
-- Rich Gregory contributed to this article.