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Sports Person of the Week
Sweeney Caps Off Outstanding Campaign with All-American Honors
Senior captain Eamon Sweeney capped off a remarkable season by taking sixth place in the decathlon at the Outdoor Nationals in Oregon last weekend. (Photo courtesy of Eamon Sweeney)
Eamon Sweeney enjoyed a historic season for the Haddam-Killingworth boys’ outdoor track and field team this spring. A senior captain, Eamon proved that he was one of Connecticut’s elite high school athletes by achieving tremendous success in multiple events at both the state and national levels, while leading the Cougars to a campaign for the ages.
Eamon won the 110 hurdles (15.12) and the 300 hurdles (41.81) to help H-K finish first at the Shoreline Conference Championship. He then recorded first-place performances in the 300 hurdles (39.67) and the javelin (169-9) at the Class M State Championship, where the Cougars also came in first place.
However, Eamon was just getting started on his amazing postseason journey. After the Class M meet, Eamon took first place in the 110-hurdles by running a time of 14.42 seconds at the State Open, helping H-K finish fourth as a team. One week later, Eamon claimed first place among 48 competitors at the CIAC Decathlon, qualifying him to participate in the decathlon at Outdoor Nationals at the University of Oregon last week. Eamon went on to earn All-American honors by finishing sixth in the nation for the decathlon at the meet.
“I didn’t really know what to expect, because I couldn’t find the seed results,” says Eamon. “But I thought that my performance at the State Open Decathlon would give me a good shot at becoming an All-American.”
Eamon finished first in the 110 hurdles and the javelin and was also the runner-up in the 100, 400, shot put, and high jump on his way to winning the CIAC Decathlon. As great a performance as that was, Eamon knew that the competition would be even stronger in Oregon. Eamon needed to finish in the top six overall in the decathlon at Nationals in order to earn All-American accolades. Eamon was able to do exactly that, despite suffering a dislocated shoulder during the eighth event of the competition.
“I dislocated it during pole vault, which meant that I still had to throw javelin and run the 1,500-meter. It was my right shoulder, which is my throwing shoulder,” Eamon says. “I knew when it happened that if I wanted a shot at All-American because of my loss of points during the pole vault, I had to have a good javelin throw. I just put everything I had into those throws and put myself in a position where I could run my race in the 1,500 and secure a top-six finish.”
Eamon finished in sixth place overall out of 18 athletes for the national decathlon with a personal- best total of 6,445 points. That mark eclipsed his total of 6,365 points from the CIAC Decathlon and was the seventh-best total for any athlete in state history.
Even with his injured shoulder, Eamon posted his top showing in the javelin in the decathlon at Nationals by taking third place for the event. He also finished fourth in the both the 110 hurdles and the discus. Additionally, Eamon finished sixth in the 100, seventh for both the shot put and high jump, ninth in the 400, 12th in the long jump, 13th in the 1,500, and 17th in the pole vault.
H-K Head Coach Matt Diglio praises Eamon for the mental and physical toughness that his senior captain displayed during the decathlon. Diglio says that Eamon’s performance was one of the biggest highlights of his 20-year coaching career.
“Eamon had a tremendous two days in the decathlon and showed tremendous heart and toughness when, in the pole vault, his shoulder popped out of place when making an attempt,” says Diglio. “The trainers popped it back in, although he was unable to make any more attempts. He somehow managed to muscle out three solid throws with the javelin and then ran a gutsy 1,500 to hold on to sixth place and earn All-American status.”
Aside from participating in the decathlon, Eamon also joined forces with teammates Kevin Cavrell, John Kowal, and Max Cozean to compete in the 1,600 sprint medley relay at Nationals, helping the quartet finish in 10th place. Eamon wasn’t sure if he wanted to do the decathlon for the second time in less than three weeks, but Diglio encouraged him to do so, and Eamon feels glad that he made that choice.
“My relationship with all of my coaches is amazing. They would do anything for me, and they got me into the decathlon, even though I was very hesitant at first. I am extremely thankful for that,” Eamon says. “My favorite aspect of the sport is how you can really see your progress through different meets, because your events are what you do. You don’t have to rely on a team for your individual marks as you do in other sports.”
Becoming an All-American was the perfect way for Eamon to finish off his storybook season. In addition to winning the javelin and the 300 hurdles at the Class M meet, Eamon also took second place in the 110 hurdles to help H-K capture its first state crown since 1988. Then at the State Open, Eamon finished third in the 300 hurdles and seventh in the javelin to go with his victory in the 110 hurdles.
“Winning Shorelines and states as a team and making H-K history doing so was my favorite memory from this season,” says Eamon. “As my coach said at the preseason meeting, we didn’t know if we were going to have many meets at all or a championship season, so it was all about trying to make the most out of the time we had and enjoy the season.”
Eamon feels quite satisfied about how everything transpired for both himself and the Cougars this year. Eamon is looking to experience continued success when he begins his collegiate career in the fall.
“I am extremely pleased with this season, and I hope that next year, I can pull some of my weaknesses together and really step up my game in college,” Eamon says. “I want to see the same successes that I had in high school.”