Area indoor track teams had a solid season in 2016-17, with several athletes finishing among the top 10 in their events in their respective state meets.
While teams such as Bristol Central may not have been quite up to the high bar of success set in recent seasons past, the Rams did produce a state champion in Shy-Ann Whitten. Bristol Eastern and St. Paul both also had top eight finishers during state competition.
Our 9th annual All-Press Indoor Track and Field Team highlights eight of the top competitors - four boys and four girls - from the past season.
Whitten naturally leads the list, as the Bristol Central junior won the high jump at the Class L state meet with a leap of five feet even. The same leap at the CCC Championships earned her a tie for fourth place in that competition; and she also hit 5-0 at the State Open, officially finishing 11th there.
Also in the state meet, Whitten teamed with Jenna Ptak, Nicole Pizarro and Adalia Malick for a fifth place finish in the 4x200 relay.
Rams coach Kevin Taylor called her a “versatile athlete who sprints and jumps as well.”
A Bristol Central athlete also had the best finish among area boys in the state meet, as senior Kaynan Conrod placed third in the Class L 300-meter dash in a time of 36.59 seconds - just 0.13 behind the winner - to earn a spot on our All-Press team as well.
Conrod also teamed with Luis Medina (an All-Press selection last year), Sean Fitzgerald and Pat Kjornrattanawanich to place second in the 4x400 relay at the state meet - a mere 4/100ths of a second behind state champion Hall - and teamed with Fitzgerald, Nigel West and Medina for a fourth place finish in the 4x200 relay.
Conrod won both the 300 meters (36.59, setting a new school record) and 4x400 relay (with Medina, Fitzgerald and Kjornrattanawanich) at the CCC Championships.
A co-captain with the Rams, Conrod was “the top sprinter on our team and one of the top sprinters in the CCC,” Taylor said.
Bristol Central senior Kenny Knox also earned a spot on our All-Press team, as he finished sixth in the Class L meet in the 600 meters with a time of 1:28.39, exactly matching his previous best from the season. He also competed in the 1,600 sprint medley with Fitzgerald, West and Kjornrattanawanich, finishing 10th in the state meet. He had also qualified for the state meet in the 4x800 relay and 1,000 meters.
“A very versatile runner and outstanding athlete,” Taylor called him.
Rounding out the Bristol Central selections is repeat pick Olivia Savino, a senior co-captain who placed seventh in the 55 hurdles at the Class L meet, running a personal best time of 9.60 seconds.
“All of these athletes played a major role in the overall success of their teams,” Taylor said. “They were huge contributors and led their teams to conference championships.”
Bristol Eastern and St. Paul each landed one boy and one girl among our All-Press selections to round out the elite teams.
Bristol Eastern senior Chris LeBeau is a repeat choice. He placed fourth in the Class L meet with a time of 1:26.20 in the 600 meters.
“Chris did great this year,” Lancers coach Kyle Fuller said. “He set two new school records for indoor track, with the biggest change coming in the 1,600 meters, where the record he broke, he broke by 3½ seconds [a record set in 2004].”
With LeBeau now training to continue his career in college, Fuller added, “He’s looking forward to his freshman year at Southern Connecticut.”
Rounding out the boys squad is St. Paul’s Pierce Piana, a senior who placed seventh in the shot put at the Class S state meet.
“Pierce Piana threw well early in the season, topping 40-plus feet in several meets,” St. Paul coach Jim Husbands said. “Injuries and illness limited his practice time later in the season, limiting his competition opportunities and not allowing him to reach his full potential. He is planning on having surgery this spring and will not be able to throw this outdoor [season].”
Bristol Eastern sophomore Kailey Laprise, one of the youngest athletes among our All-Press indoor track selections, placed sixth in the Class L meet with a time of 1:45.15 in the 600 meters.
Coach Fuller called her “the best runner on the team.”
While she did well with her finish in the 600 meters, “I feel she hasn’t even tapped her greatest potential yet, which is either the 800 or the 1,000,” Fuller said. “She’s such a strong person, both speed, endurance-wise and mentally.”
Another sophomore earning All-Press honors is St. Paul’s Addison Davis, who tied for 11th in the Class S meet with a mark of 4-8 in the high jump. She had previously cleared 5-0 for a second place finish in the NVL league meet.
“Considering the amount of time Addison was able to practice during the winter months, her results are encouraging and bode well for the spring season, where she should be a high jumping force in the NVL and Class S,” Husbands said. “It’s my hope that she’ll clear at least 5-4 this season.”