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Sports Person of the Week
Salato Storms Onto the Scene as a Sophomore
Dom Salato saw tremendous success after joining the East Haven boys’ outdoor track team as a sophomore, advancing to the State Open in both the triple jump and the javelin. (Photo courtesy of Dom Salato)
With experience playing football and basketball in East Haven, Dom Salato decided that he wanted to add a third sport to his repertoire by competing for the Yellowjackets’ boys’ outdoor track team as a sophomore this spring. Dom stormed onto the scene and made an immediate impact in a season that saw him compete all the way through the State Open in both the triple jump and the javelin.
Dom felt that track and field would be an intriguing sport to try since it utilizes some of the skills that he’s learned through his other sports. After a few practices, Dom realized that track was going to be much more than something that he did in his spare time.
“I wanted to take up a third sport. Track and field seemed interesting. I decided to try it out,” says Dom. “When we started getting into throwing after the second or third practice, I really enjoyed it. I always like getting my energy out. It just clicked for me.”
Dom participated in three events during his first season with the Easties, competing in the javelin, the triple jump, and the high jump. While it was tough to manage all three events at times, Dom was up for the challenge.
“It’s a little difficult having to run back and forth from place to place. But I get the job done,” Dom says. “It’s a little bit of a challenge, but I like a challenge.”
Dom progressed in all three events as the season went on, seeing his biggest improvements in the javelin and the triple jump. Before the regular season was finished, Dom had qualified for the Class MM State Championship in both of those events. To get to that point, Dom relied on the guidance of Head Coach Jim Vicario and the entire Yellowjackets’ coaching staff.
“I just listened to the coaches and took their advice. Coach Vicario really helped me with the throwing events. When the states came, I was ready,” Dom says. “He really helped my distance. The coaches showed me how to jump farther and showed me more techniques. They really helped me this year. I’m thankful for that.”
Dom competed in all three of his events at both the SCC West Sectional Championship and the SCC Championship. At sectionals, Dom finished third in the triple jump with a distance of 41 feet-5 inches, in addition to placing third in the javelin (141-9) and fifth for the high jump (5-0). He went to take fifth place in the javelin (144-1) and sixth in the triple jump (40-9.5) at the SCC Championship.
Dom’s height in the high jump at West Sectionals and his javelin throw at SCCs were both personal records. Dom walked away from those meets with confidence and was determined to do even better during the next phase of the postseason.
“It was very fun. I’ve never experienced anything like it,” says Dom of competing at the two SCC meets. “I walked in with a high head and hoping for the best. I walked out with new personal bests in the high jump and the javelin.”
Dom went on to compete in the javelin and the triple jump at the Class MM State Championship. Dom broke his personal record in the javelin with a toss of 144-5 on his way to claiming third place at states, where he also finished fifth in the triple jump (39-47.5).
By virtue of these performances, Dom qualified to compete among Connecticut’s elite track and field athletes in both events at the State Open. Dom finished 19th in the triple jump (38-9.75) and placed 21st in the javelin (134-5) to cap off his stellar sophomore season.
Dom says that competing at both the Class MM meet and the State Open were great learning experiences that he’s planning on building off of going forward.
“It was great. There were a lot of coaches there helping us. A lot of the seniors were helping me. People from opposing teams were helping me,” Dom says. “I took their advice, and it just worked. I went with that.”
Dom was named the Most Valuable Player for the East Haven boys’ track team after scoring 105 points for the Yellowjackets on the year. After watching him for just one season, Coach Vicario thinks Dom has the potential to take home state gold as a junior.
“Dom did a tremendous job for us this year. He was our MVP, scoring 105 points, and placed third at the State MM State Championship in the javelin,” Vicario says. “He has a great opportunity to be the MM champion next season in the javelin.”
While he was new to track this year, Dom has been a member of East Haven’s football and boys’ basketball teams since his freshman year at the high school. Dom is currently a quarterback for the football squad. Dom feels that his experience on the gridiron and the hardwood aided his transition to the track and field circuit.
“Football and basketball definitely helped me excel in track and field,” says Dom. “Everything I did in track and field, all the techniques, it felt like I was going up for a layup or throwing a ball. It all connected.”
As he continues through his track career, Dom wants to break East Haven’s school records for the triple jump and the javelin. Additionally, after getting a taste of what it’s like to compete at states, Dom is hoping to walk out of the State Championship meet with a title to his name.
When he first joined the track and field team, Dom didn’t expect to like the sport as much as he did or succeed as much as he has early on. Now, after a strong first season with the Yellowjackets, Dom is already eager to get back out there and see what he can accomplish.
“I wasn’t expecting to do as good. I wasn’t expecting it to be as fun as it was,” Dom says. “It felt good to accomplish what I did, and I hope I can keep it up over the next two years.”