BRISTOL - Coming into the CCC South Championships on Wednesday at Bristol Eastern High School, Bristol Central boys track’s 4x100 team was a man down.
David Bowes had suffered a concussion the day before so the Rams were in need of a spark at the first leg of the race.
“We were trying to put together a first leg to run with us and Kiran was next up,” Nigel West said. “We trusted him and his abilities. He ran with us and we ran our best time. It was impressive for sure.”
In stepped sophomore Kiran Siriwardene from the junior varsity team to race the event with West, Dathan Hickey and Pat Kjornrattanawanich.
Siriwardene delivered big time, helping Bristol Central record its best 4x100 time of the season, placing second of six teams with a time of 43.15.
The Ram boys went on to place first in the meet, scoring 212 points to get past Middletown (202.5).
“It speaks a lot about our team and how we can come together and face adversity,” Hickey said. “Kiran was the next man up and he rose to the occasion. We told him he just needs to run his fastest and have fun and that’s exactly what he did. He did what he had to do.”
Siriwardene wasn’t the only first-timer on the track.
Both Hickey and Kjornrattanawanich are in the midst of their first seasons competing in the 4x100 event.
It’s Hickey’s first season competing in track after being a baseball player in his first three.
Doing so was to improve on something he thought would benefit him on the football field.
“I transitioned to the sport to work on my speed,” Hickey said. “And my bros over here helped me transition. I came in a newbie and didn’t know how to hand off or get a handoff or how to start. They took me under their wing and tried to push me. They knew what I was capable of. Them taking me, teaching me and pushing me the way that they do means a lot. It made it easier to come to a different sport.”
Kjornrattanawanich was a distance runner his previous seasons in outdoor track. He’s always loved sprinting so he got his wish in his final year.
“In indoor I was always with the sprinter group but in outdoor coach Stafford always wanted me to be a distance runner,” Kjornrattanawanich said. “But Nigel kind of backed me up and since it was my last year I wanted to try sprinting because I feel like that has always been my thing low key. I got to do it and I stepped up and started running 4x100s and we’re kind of nice.”
Dropping times individually in the 100 meters or in the relay has been a constant for this year’s group and the performance on the biggest stage this season was indicative of that.
The group is looking forward to States and has something left on its agenda, setting the school record.
In order to do so, they need to beat a time of 42.9.
“We just gotta put it all together,” West said. “It all needs to come together at once. The weather has to cooperate and we all have to be on that day. If we put it together we’ll get the school record for sure.”
Depending on Bowes’ availability Siriwardene may continue competing with the group but regardless seeing how the three seniors he raced with compete and work at practice has influenced him and he will look to continue the progress whether this year’s group beats the record or not.
“Honestly I’m just going to keep pushing forward and keep working,” Siriwardene said. “I want to try to beat all the past times that they ran. My senior year I want to beat Nigel and Dathan’s 100 [meter] time. Every day in practice they always motivate me. I always try to beat them in at least something.”
Dan Orencole can be reached at 860-973-1811 or firstname.lastname@example.org