Darien relay strikes gold, Wave takes fourth in FCIAC boys track
Two weeks after setting a new school record, four Darien seniors struck gold at the FCIAC boys indoor track and field championships Thursday night at the Floyd Little Athletic Center in New Haven.
Austin Dehmel, Alec Armstrong, Jacob Grimm and Jack Holly raced to a time of 3:34.30 to win the 4x400 relay by more than six seconds. Staples took second place in 3:40.83, and New Canaan was third in 3:41.64.
Those four runners had set a school record of 3:32.41 during a meet at The Armory in New York City on Jan. 28.
“The 4x4 had big goals for the season, Darien coach Tyson Kaczmarek said. “They work hard. Every workout they run is together so they are constantly pushing each other. It’s great to see. Each of them has embraced their role in the relay,”
The relay team’s performance highlighted a solid meet for the Blue Wave, which collected 37 points and finished tied for fourth place with Wilton. Ridgefield won the FCIAC crown with 85 points, followed by Staples (66) and Danbury (57) in the top three.
“We were very happy with the team’s performance,” Kaczmarek said. “A lot of guys had great days. Our varsity guys have really come together at the end of the season. They have been extra motivated after getting a chance to compete at the Armory late in the regular season.”
Nick Balenzano picked up points in multiple events.
Balenzano finished second in the long jump at 21 feet, 0.5 inches, trailing only Staples’ Connor McGeehan (21 feet, 2.5 inches), and third in the 55-meter dash in 6.73 seconds.
“Nick missed some time early in the season; since he has been back he has been on an absolute tear,” Kaczmarek said. “He is extremely focused and has pushed himself to step up to the competition.”
Dehmel, Balenzano, Holly and Grimm teamed up to finish second in the sprint medley relay, clocking in with a time of 3:45.79. Ridgefield won the race in an FCIAC record 3:42.49.
Dehmel was also sixth in the 55-meter dash on 6.84 seconds.
Aiden Hills added four points to the Wave’s team total by taking fourth place in the pole vault at 11 feet, 6 inches. Alexander Zanin was 10th at 10 feet.
Two Darien relays finished ninth, including Noor Ashrifeh, Luke Ridder, Will Harmon, and Armstrong in the 4x200 (1:40.27), and Nick Yoo, Nicholas Liu, Jack Walsh, Albert Carreno in the 4x800 (9:21.34).
FCIAC Boys Track and Field Championships
1 Ridgefield 85; 2 Staples 66; 3 Danbury 57; 4 (tie) Wilton and Darien 37; 6 Trumbull 34; 7 Ludlowe 31; 8 Norwalk 28; 9 Greenwich 24; 10 New Canaan 21; 11 St. Joseph 15; 12 Brien McMahon 14; 13 (tie) Westhill and Warde 8.
4x400: 1 Darien (Austin Dehmel, Alec Armstrong, Jacob Grimm, Jack Holly) 3:34.30; 4x200: 9 Darien (Noor Ashrifeh, Luke Ridder, Will Harmon, Alec Armstrong) 1:40.27; 4x800: 9 Darien (Nick Yoo, Nicholas Liu, Jack Walsh, Albert Carreno) 9:21.34; SMR: 2 Darien (Austin Dehmel, Nick Balenzano, Jack Holly, Jacob Grimm) 3:45.79; 55-meter dash: 3 Nick Balenzano 6.73, 6 Austin Dehmel 6.84; 300-meter dash: 21 Aidan O’Rourke 39.91, 22 Will Harmon 39.97; 600: 15 Jason Rideout 1:32.75, 19 Aidan O’Rourke 1:33.54; 3,200-meter run: 13 Matt Guttuso 10:41.95; High jump: 13 Ben Henry 5-04; Long jump: 2 Nick Balenzano 21-00.5, 11 Noor Ashrifeh 18-07, 12 Carson Depp 18-07J, 16 Ben Henry 17-08.5, 20 Luke Ridder 17-04.5; Pole vault: 4 Aiden Hills 11-06, 10 Alexander Zanin 10-00, 14 Alex Jones 9-06.