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The Old Saybrook girls’ indoor track team claimed first place in the Shoreline Conference Championship Meet for the fourth-straight year at Floyd Little Athletic Center on Feb. 8. (Photo by Kelley Fryer/Harbor News | Buy This Photo)
Senior captain Grace Hanratty and the Rams took first place at the Shoreline Conference Championship last week. Hanratty won the 600-meter run and was also part of two victorious relays. (Photo by Kelley Fryer/Harbor News | Buy This Photo)
Senior captain Cate Coppes claimed first place in the pole vault by clearing a height of 10 feet-6 inches at the Shoreline Conference Championship meet on Feb. 8. (Photo by Kelley Fryer/Harbor News | Buy This Photo)
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Another year and another Shoreline Conference Championship for the Old Saybrook girls’ indoor track team as the Rams claimed first place at the meet for the fourth season in a row. Old Saybrook posted a score of 182.0 to beat out runner-up Haddam-Killingworth who tallied 109 at Floyd Little Athletic Center on Feb. 8.
A big part of Rams’ four-peat feat was senior captain Grace Hanratty, who had a full docket at the meet. Hanratty earned a first-place finish in the 600-meter run with a time of 1:39.93 to outpace Margaret Jacaruso of Valley Regional’s time of 1:51.84. Hanratty also competed in two first place relay squads. In the 4x400-meter relay, Hanratty, sophomore Anna Brodeur, freshman Avery Reuckert, and junior Emily Stratton earned first place with a time of 4:25.23. Hanratty, Brodeur, freshman Maddie Beaudoin, and senior Autumn Szucs, took first in the 1,600 sprint medley relay with a time of 4:43.31.
Hanratty had a strong performance in several events for Old Saybrook, and several Rams’ competitors besides Hanratty had the tall task of competing in several events.
“Everyone knew that they had to step up and do their job yesterday. Everyone was ready to step up to the plate. It was awesome to see our team come together and support each other,” said Hanratty. “Everyone was more than happy to take responsibility to do what they had to do to win the championship.”
Head Coach Peter Capezzone was impressed with his team’s perseverance as a whole, but especially Hanratty who wasn’t feeling well after a pair of grueling events.
“After Grace won the 600 and then ran the medley, I thought she was done, but she came back to help us win the 4x400. That’s just the way she is. I told her after the meet that she is a tough nut,” said Capezzone, “I would say 98 percent of kids wouldn’t even step on the track after that. You don’t get kids like that all the time. I just think she’s a great role model for other student athletes. She works so hard. She just inspires everyone else on the team. The other girls rallied around her.”
The Rams received top finishes from several other competitors to help in the victory. Senior captain Cate Coppes took first place in the pole vault clearing 10 feet-6 inches. Coppes also teamed up with sophomore Anna Brodeur, senior Grace McLaughlin, freshman Avery Rueckert to take second place in the 4x200 medley with a time of 1:55.25. Coppes also earned third place in the 55-meter hurdles with a time of 9.53 seconds.
Coppes was happy to help out he squad with her results. The senior captain has had to sit out with a back injury at different points this season, so for Coppes to come back that strong felt gratifying to her. She also felt proud to have been a part of Rams’ championship team in each of her four years at Old Saybrook.
“It feel really good to have won all four years. It’s pretty rare. I don’t know a lot of teams that can win all four years. It’s because we have a wide variety of people on the team that can contribute. Everybody does their job to get us to win,” said Coppes. “It feels great to win an individual event because we practice a lot and put a lot of work into it. There’s a lot that goes into it to get it done. I’m coming off an injury, and it feels good to finish in first.”
Other athletes turned in impressive finishes, as well. Junior Emily Stratton claimed first place in the 1,000 with a time of 3:18.93. Stratton was also part of a quartet that included sophomore Libby Stuart, senior Julia Sultini, sophomore Caitlin Wiley that earned first place in the 4x800 with a time of 10:26.93. Stuart also claimed second place in the 1,000 with a time of 3:21.30, while Wiley grabbed second in the 3,200 with a mark of 12:28.72, as well as second place in the 1,600 with a time of 5:42.90.
Coach Capezzone knew that his team had a great shot at pulling off the four-peat, but it all came down to the outstanding effort his athletes put forth.
“We knew going in that we were the favorite, but that doesn’t always mean everything,” said Capezzone. “The kids knew what they needed to do, and we did a good job getting the girls to have success at this meet.”
Senior Autumn Szucs placed second in the 55 hurdles with a time of 9.25 seconds, and freshman Avery Rueckert took second place in the 300 at 43.63 seconds. In the shotput, senior Elizabeth Mariol claimed second place with a toss of 29 feet-6 inches.
With so many outstanding finishes, the Rams were able to stake their claim as Shoreline champs. Hanratty believed that her teammates’ ability to adapt year after year and fill up the different events is what has led to this impressive run.
“I think that it’s always special when we win as a team, but I think it’s really special that we were able to win all four years. It shows our depth as a program,” Hanratty said. “Every year we lose important components to our team, but it just goes to show the strength of our program and development.”
Other key Old Saybrook finishes came in pole vault with junior Hannah Sumby taking third place at nine feet, and senior Grace McLaughlin grabbing fourth place at 8-6. The Rams sent a slew of competitors to the long jump with McLaughlin getting third place at a height of 14-10, and Sumby placed right behind her at fourth place clearing 14-9. Sophomore Avery Nosal (10th, 13-10.5), freshman Maggie Ashe (13th, 13-3), freshman Jess Kidd (18th, 12-5.5), and freshman Kate Molesky (22nd, 10-8.5) also competed in the event.
In the 1,600, Sultini took fifth place at 6:02.23, and sophomore Molly Nygard earned sixth place with a time of 6:05.85. In the high jump, freshman Katelin Brady took sixth place with a leap of 4-4. Other long jumpers included freshman Maddie Beaudoin (8th, 4-4), Molesky (13th, 4-2), Ashe (15th, 4), and Kidd (16th, 4). Sophomore Avery Nosal claimed fifth place in the 55 hurdles with a time of 9.81 seconds. Also competing in the shotput were senior Sydney Smirnow, who took sixth place with a throw of 25-3, and senior Bailey Appiah who came in 13th with a toss of 22-3.5.
Sophomore Lia Francisckziewicz came in seventh place in the 3,200 with a time of 14:29.94. Elizabeth Ryan finished 21st in the 300 with a time of 50.46 seconds. In the 600, Lilly Sigersmith came in 17th place with a time of 2:07.15.
Up next for the Rams is the Class S State Championship meet on Friday, Feb. 14 at the Floyd Little Athletic Center at 4 p.m. In the meantime, the team will have a light practice here or there, but mostly this time will be spent recovering to be rested for another big meet.
“We have to lay low a bit. We’ll just have one work out day,” said Coach Capezzone. “We have to just coast a bit. We want to give our athletes the best opportunity to have their best effort at states. We’re just coming off midterms, and we’re trying to get our sea legs. We have to try to get back and get it going.”
Coppes is looking forward to being able to compete at states at full strength, and possibly achieve something special in her final year with the squad.
“We have a chance of maybe winning states. Bloomfield has always dominated so it would feel really good to win against them,” Coppes said. “We’re going to take it seriously and rest our bodies so we’re ready to compete. We’ll still do some work outs, but nothing as intense as we would in the preseason because we’re already in shape. We’re in this kind of shape so that we’re able to take these breaks.”
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