BRISTOL - Coming into the State Open, the Bristol Central boys outdoor track 4x100 relay team consisting of Nigel West, Dathan Hickey, David Bowes and Pat Kjornrattanawanich had already qualified for the emerging elite event down in Greensboro, N.C. at the New Balance Nationals.
They did so with their time of 43.15 at the CCC South Championship, topping the mark of 43.25 needed to qualify. But while that feat is one they were proud of, the four Rams expected and wanted more.
The goal was to qualify for the championship event at Nationals, competing against the best of the best the country has to offer at the high school level. In order to do so, the relay team needed a time of 42.65 to qualify and there was no better time to do so then at the State Open.
West, Hickey, Bowes and Kjornrattanawanich delivered a time of 42.64, just below the qualifying mark needed.
While the potential was always there, it came as a little bit of a surprise with group still needing to cut down its time substantially with not many chances left in the season to do so.
“It’s something [our coaches] believed because they knew what we could do but it was still a dream that was kind of farfetched,” West said. “So when we actually hit the time I’ve never seen a bigger smile on coach [Tamara] Stafford and all the coaches faces. They were just so happy for us.”
West, a senior captain and the leader of the relay team, gathered the others together when the goal became more and more realistic after starting the season with a time of 45.40 and cutting it down to 42.79 at the Class L championships.
West knew his group was capable of competing with the best of the best and now that they have qualified, the obstacle becomes getting everybody down to Greensboro.
The group set up a Go Fund Me page (gofundme.com/new-balance-track-amp-field-nationals) with the hopes of the Bristol community supporting them on the journey to represent not only the school but the city in a positive light.
“Everybody on the 4x100 is on the All-Academic team and we’re good kids,” West said. “This is something we’ve been working towards for a long time, some longer than others, but we all had a goal to get here and we were able to accomplish it. To come up short in something like funds would be pretty upsetting. I feel like we owe it to our coaches to go down there and represent Bristol the best we can.”
The three seniors will all be attending college. West will be running track at Southern Connecticut State, Hickey going to Yale to play Division I football and Kjornrattanawanich will be attending Boston College and not participating in a sport there.
Bowes is still a sophomore.
Getting to go to Greensboro would be one last ride for the relay team that’s put together a remarkable season and they’re hoping the Bristol community is willing to help them reach their goal.
“It would mean a lot if people donated to help us,” Hickey said. “It shows that our community can come together and support high school kids that are trying to go have fun and show what they’ve been working for throughout the season and go to the National level and compete against other teams from different states.”
Dan Orencole can be reached at (860) 973-1811 or email@example.com