Darien girls track takes second in Class L, puts three relays in Open
At the start of the girls indoor track and field season, the Darien Blue Wave set a goal of qualifying three relay teams for the State Open.
Darien’s 4x400 relay won a state title, while the 4x800 and sprint medley teams were runners-up, as the Blue Wave finished second at the CIAC Class L championships, held Friday at the Floyd Little Athletic Center in New Haven.
Darien collected 49 points and trailed only Windsor, which took the crown with 69 points. East Lyme was third with 38 points.
Darien, which also had a second-place finish from freshman Mairead Clas in the 1,600-meter run, did the majority of its damage in the relays, where it scored 26 points to account for more than half of its total.
“Everyone ran as well or better than we expected,” head coach Steve Norris said of the relay teams. “Relays are won and lost based on consistency: Having all four girls run what they are capable of matters more than having one star performer.”
The 4x400 team struck gold with its time of 4:12.22, and all of the runners in that lineup are underclassmen. Freshman Alexis Lyons led off, with sophomore Chelsi Chevannes and junior Suzanna Alliegro in the next two legs. Sophomore Charlotte Sulger finished off the win on the anchor leg, as the Wave just edged second-place East Lyme (4:12.85).
In the 4x800 relay, Sulger, seniors Cameron Appleby and Daphne Cutler, and Clas finished second in 9:53.65, less a second behind the winning pace of 9:52.77, set by East Lyme.
Lyons, sophomore Charlotte Van Ingen, Alliegro, and Cutler also finished second in the sprint medley relay, clocking in at 4:29.09.
Less than a second separated the top two finishers in the 4x400 and 4x800, and the Wave finished about a tenth of a second ahead of the third-place finisher in the SMR, as every runner was key.
“The impact of one relay runner losing focus in the middle of the race,” Norris said, “or giving less than 100% on the final homestretch, would have been several points to our team score.”
In addition to her performance with the 4x800 relay team, Clas also medaled in the 1,600-meter run, finishing second with a time of 5:14.36. Clas, who qualified for the Open, was just over a second behind New Milford’s Claire Daniels, who won in 5:13.28.
Chevannes scored 14 points in the jumps, led by a second-place finish in the high jump at 5 feet. Masuk’s Grace Stephens also hit that mark, with Stephens taking the top spot with fewer misses. Chevannes’ performance qualified for the Open.
Darien freshman Brooke Dolan was ninth in the high jump at 4 feet, 8 inches.
Chevannes hit 15 feet, 9.75 inches in the long jump and finished in third place.
In the pole vault, sophomore Ashley Hagander finished sixth at 7 feet, 6 inches, with junior Joen Echeverria seventh at 7 feet.
In the 600-meter run, Darien sophomore Katharine Chandler was 12th (1:48.64), and Boucher was 13th (1:49.81); and in he 1,000-meter run, junior Brianna Lyons was 12th (3:24.60).
In the 1,600-meter run, Appleby was 12th (5:44.39), and senior Olivia Stein was 15th (5:45.78).