Darien boys track team hopes to carry over indoor success
Based on how things went in the winter indoor track championships, Darien High School's boys' track team members have plenty of reason for confidence this spring. The Blue Wave, runner-up in the indoor season's Class L state championships, could contend for the spring season crown, the captains and coach Tyson Kaczmarek believe.
"We've got a lot of momentum. I think our main objective is to keep that flow, keep in going," said senior captain Matt Pik, adding that the team started out slowly in the beginning of the winter, but came together to finish only four points behind champ Windsor. "Things just clicked," Pik said.
"We could be in contention for states with a good season of training," said Kaczmarek, whose team was 25th in last year's spring state championships but came in eighth the year before.
Darien was second in the FCIAC East a year ago and came in seventh in the conference. The team will have to overcome the losses of graduates Stockton McMullin, Kevin Keller, John Conley, David Watson, Matt Gentile, Graham Hotchkiss and Peter McDonough.
This year's captains are Charlie Baird (1600 meter run and 3200), Michael Johnston (1600 and 3200), Michael Coe (1600 and 3200), Elliott Helgans (200, 400 and relays), Pik (200, 400 and relays) and Judson Bergman (400 and relays).
Other key team members are Will Lochtefeld (throws), Eli Converse (distance), Reed Coots (throws), Harlan Smith (jumps) and Nick Lombardo (jumps). With so much depth in distance events and talent in the jumping competitions, those are the biggest strengths of this squad, the coach said.
"We should be an average team in the FCIAC. The guys have been working hard. We are pleased so far. We want to build on the momentum we established at the end of indoors this year," Kaczmarek said.
Pik was third in the 600 in the indoor state finals. Johnston and Coe were fourth and fifth, respectively, in the 1,600. Baird was second in the 3,200, and Johnston was fourth in the 3,200. Lombardo captured the indoor high jump title with a leap of six feet.
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Tough opponents in the FCIAC are Staples, Danbury, Trumbull, New Canaan and Wilton. Top Class L competition will be provided by New Canaan, along with Fitch and defending champ Windsor.
"This year I think we're looking for second or better," said Helgans, adding that the experience is in place.
"The talent's there," said Pik, noting that with solid effort and training the Wave could be in for a special season.
Bergman also believes the Wave will be able to feed off of the indoor campaign success.
"It's going to be great. I think the team has definitely come together," Bergman said. He recognizes that the Wave have their work cut out in the conference with always-tough Danbury, Staples and company again at the top of the FCIAC. "We're going to try to stick with them as best we can."
Bergman adds that the Wave will continue to run in memory of Andy Pena who passed away last spring.