Girls track: Law captures SCC's Hammonasset title
The Jonathan Law girls track team didn’t just repeat as the Southern Connecticut Conference Hammonasset Division champions, it won in impressive fashion by mixing arguably the best group of sprinters in the state and solid performers up and down the roster.
Law, wgich will compete in the Class MM meet on Wednesday, June 1, was dominating in each of the four dual meets, defeating Guilford 86-60, Hillhouse 103-38, Daniel Hand 103-43 and cross-city rival Foran 97-53.
Linwood Schulte, who completed his 32nd year leading the girls, guided his team to dominating victories. In the Foran meet Law took 12 of 18 first-place finishes and in the other three meets the girls won 13 of 18 events.
With defending State Open 400-meter champion Jess Centore leading the way, Law was unstoppable on the track. Pick the event, and Centore was typically leading the field across the finish line.
Against Hand, Centore won the 400 and 200 and ran on both the winning 4x100 and 4x400 relays. Centore repeated the remarkable effort by doing the same against Foran and Hillhouse.
Unfortunately for Centore, her dream of repeating as State Open champion was delivered a severe blow when she re-injured an already sensitive ankle. The team is holding out hope that the senior may be ready for the relays at the Open on June 6.
In a sport that includes 18 events, it takes more than one superstar to carry a team to a championship and the Law girls had a seemingly never-ending list of standouts.
Junior sprinter Kiara Smith seemed to be at her best flying down the final stretch as anchor of the 400-meter relay.
Olivia Steiner was another key part of the relay as the first leg and when she wasn’t racing around that first corner, the junior was winning the long jump in three of the four meets.
The one meet when Steiner didn’t take first, that honor went to classmate Melanie Coleman, who was also a standout in the triple jump winning the event in three of the four dual weeks. The one meet she didn’t win, she missed entirely when she was out sick.
The fourth member of the 400-relay was Holly Caldwell, who attacked the curve in the third leg with the power of runaway train and handed the baton to Smith. When the relay needed someone to fill in, it was Coleman there to take over the role.
Law featured a host solid performers in the distance events with senior Kailee Frank running some of the gutsiest 800-meter races of the year. Freshman Maddie Jennings shined in the 800 and 1600.
In the four division meets, Frank won the 800 twice and was part of a number of winning relays.
Jennings collected a double-win against Foran, capturing the 800 and 1600.
Junior Emma Saley gave Law a solid presence in the hurdles, taking a pair of firsts in the 100-meter event (with two seconds) and pair of seconds in the 300 hurdles.
While not as dominant as they were on the track, the girls more than held their own in the field events. You never knew would might pop up at the top of a field event, as Steiner won the high jump in the victory over Hand.
Shawna Winters and Keala Hoff led the throwing events, with Winters winning the discus in each of the dual meets and Hoff taking three of four in the shot put. Winters also picked up valuable points in the shot put to support Hoff.
Grabbing crucial points were Tori Nabors with a win (and three seconds) in the javelin.
First year senior Alicia Paight had two firsts and a second behind Nabors in the javelin.
With the combination of youth and experience, chances are good the Hammonasset Division trophy may be staying in Devon for a while longer.