Darien strikes gold in 4x400 relay, finishes fifth in Class L boys track
The Darien boys 4x400 relay team came home with the silver medals from the FCIAC indoor track and field championships on Jan. 31.
At the state meet, they took the extra step and struck gold.
Seniors Pierce Hoyda and Andrew Donovan teamed with juniors Austin Dehmel and Jack Holly to finish first in 3:34.79 at the CIAC Class L championships last Friday at the Floyd Little Athletic Center in New Haven.
The first-place finish also garnered 10 points for Darien’s total of 27, which was good for fifth place in the team standings. Xavier won with 64 points, followed by Amity (43), East Lyme (40.5), and Notre Dame-West Haven (38) in the top four.
Hoyda led off the 4x400 relay off and put the Wave in excellent position when he handed the baton off in third place. Donovan paced his leg perfectly and was able to use an inside move to spring Darien to the front of the pack. Dehmel's surge in the last 100 meters of the race gave Holly enough room to hold off a fast charging Notre Dame team for first place in a time of 3:34.79.
Notre Dame-West Haven was less than a second behind at 3:34.97.
"Awesome race by all four runners," head coach Tyson Kaczmarek said. "The group was focused on winning this race. We talked during the week about how we could pull it off. We weren't concerned by being the fifth seed. We knew all along we could win.
“It was a great way to end the meet. The best part was celebrating it with the guys after. That's why you coach. To see the joy on their faces when they know the hard work paid off."
Holly earned four points in the 300-meter dash by finishing fourth with a personal best time of 36.78.
Senior Ryan Eppley captured second place in the high jump at 6 feet, with senior Kieran Daly third in the pole vault at 12 feet, 6 inches.
All of those athletes will compete at the State Open Saturday.
"We are hoping to get some guys to place at the Open,” Kaczmarek said. “Hopefully, we can sneak someone into New Englands. These guys are in great position to perform well."
In addition, the sprint medley relay team of senior Tyler Herget, junior Nick Balenzano, Hoyda and junior Jacob Grimm placed seventh at Class L in 3:50.37 and qualified for the Open.
In the pole vault, juniors Alexander Zanin and Aiden Hills both hit 10 feet, 6 inches, with Zanin 14th and Hills 16th based on misses.
In the long jump, Balenzano was eighth at 19 feet, 0.5 inches.
Sophomore Lucas Madariaga took 14th place in the 3,200-meter run with a time of 10:29.52.