Law's Caden Simpson goes from hurdling long shot to champion

Caden Simpson went from doubtful qualifier to SCC Eastern Sectional 100-meter hurdles champion.

Caden Simpson went from doubtful qualifier to SCC Eastern Sectional 100-meter hurdles champion.

Law Athletics / Contributed photo

Chances that Caden Simpson from Law would emerge from the SCC Eastern Sectionals girls’ track meet with a 100-meter hurdling title was shaky.

Simpson took on long shot status when the freshmen hit the first hurdle and in the preliminary round held at Bowen Field in New Haven on Monday. Regaining her stride, she caught up to the field and ran a 17.41 to finish behind only Cheshire’s Kira Zawalich (17:18).

This qualified Simpson for the final. But a round of lightning brought a halt to the competition. The 100 hurdles would lead off the meet when it resumed on Wednesday.

Simpson took the title with a personal record time of 15.70. Zawalich (16.41) was second and Molly Lanz (16.84) from Cheshire third.

“I was startled, I had never had a start like that,” Simpson said of her preliminary run. “I knew I had to keep going. I did better in the final.”

Simpson’s winning time set a school record.

Law coach Joe Beler said: “Caden showed her grit. She could have stopped right there, which a lot of kids will do. But she got up and ran the second fastest qualifying time. That is grit for any athlete let alone a freshman.”

Beler was worried that racing first on Monday would have an impact on Simpson.

“She is on our 4x1 relay and uses that race to loosen her legs up. Here she had to go out as an ice-cold freshman saying let’s go, She just blew by everyone. Caden is now the top seed in Class M.”

Simpson first drew Beler’s eye in the indoor season.

“I saw something with the way she was running hurdles,” Beler said. “She is a natural. Caden is a glider. Her step leg and her trail leg are so smooth. I told Caden she would be a champion one day. I didn’t think it would be this fast.”

The boys’ team placed fourth behind Daniel Hand, Hillhouse and Shelton.

The girls tied Guilford for sixth. Sheehan was first followed by Cheshire, Hillhouse, Amity and Shelton.

Junior Jackson Warters won the 110 high hurdles title in 16:58. Lyman Hall’s Jacob Seamans was second (16.66).

Thomas Bretthauser, Shane Pritchard, Chris Wootton and Naheim Washington captured the 4x100 title in 43.94.

Wooton ran a personal best 51.67 to take second in the 400-meter run to Hillhouse’s Ralphael Hawkins (51.11). Bretthauser was third (51.70) and Ethan Harrigan sixth (52.14). All were personal best times.

Warters, Harrigan, Bretthauser and Wootton ran the fourth fastest 4x400 relay in school history at 3:30.7 to place second to Hillhouse (3:27.64).

Beler said: “Our 400 was fantastic. Tommy and Chris both broke 52 seconds. Ethan was at 52.1. It was a great race for us. It was the school’s fourth fastest and we’ve had some great 4x4s.”

“Our three relays in girls can go from winning it to placing fifth at states,” he said. “The boys are one seed in 4x1 and 4x4. The girls are tops in the 4x8. Having one is good; having three No. 1 seeds is a great thing.”

Naheim Washington was third in the triple jump (40-5 feet) and seventh (11.67) in the 100-meter dash.

Top girl finishers

Caden Simpson was second in the 300-meter hurdles (48.46) with Zawalich taking first (47.26).

Sydney Simpson was fourth in the long jump (15-3 feet) and sixth in the 100-meter dash (13.22).

Emma Nelly tied for fourth in the high jump (4-6 feet).

Caden Simpson, Sydney Simpson, Mackenzie Powers and Brooke Dillman placed fourth in the 4x100 relay (52.54).

Eira Rodriguez, Shelby Green, Hannah Rascoll and Katie Konareski placed fourth in the 4x800 relay (10:17.88).

Lauren Davis, Green, Rodriguez and Konareski took fifth in the 4x400 relay (4:22.14).

Konarski was sixth in the 400-meter run (1:02.64).

Dillman placed sixth in the triple jump (32-1 feet). Andrianna Bruno was seventh.

Top boy finishers

Gary Schulte placed fifth in the discus throw (115-3 feet).

Spencer Deer took fifth in the javelin throw (129-7 feet).

Shane Pritchard was sixth (11.45) in the 100-meter dash and seventh in the 200-meter dash (23.82).

The SCC Championships, combining top placers from the Eastern and Western Sectionals, will be held Tuesday at 1 p.m. at Bowen Field in New Haven. There is a $5 charge for spectators.

william.bloxsom@hearstmediact.com Twitter: @blox354