STRATFORD — When you’re talking about 70-something points, a mere half point isn’t much at all. For Newtown High School’s girls’ track and field team, it meant the difference between a runner-up finish and first place. Newtown scored 77 points and was edged by Weston (77.50) for first place in the 15-team South-West Conference championship meet at Bunnell High School on May 29.
The Nighthawks were led by several standout performances, including Jenna Calandro who earned first place in the pole vault event. Newtown High’s boys’ squad was 11th among 14 schools with 19 points. Host Bunnell won the boys’ meet with 128.
Calandro waited until the 36th and final event of the afternoon-turned-evening for her first-place effort. She pole vaulted 11 feet, 6 inches for ten points. Weston’s Jane Wall pole vaulted 11 feet to earn a crucial eight second-place points. Weston also pulled in four points for having the fourth-place pole vaulter.
“I am very proud of our team. They definitely put up a strong effort throughout the entire meet. Of course there are things that could have happened to change the outcome of the meet but it just goes to show how competitive our conference is and how athletic our student athletes are,” said Doug Russell, coach of the girls’ squad. “Both teams, us and Weston, knew what was expected of them going into that last race and both teams stood up and performed at an excellent level. I want to congratulate Weston on a job well done.”
Newtown’s 4x800 meter relay team of Erin Tressler, Micaela Guinee, Hannah Booth, and Jess Keller finished fourth in 10:03.20 for four points.
The 4x100 relay team of Shay Fahey, Hailey Conrad, Brooke Newton, and Calandro was fourth in 50.55 to earn four points.
In the 100 hurdles, Jillian Vazquez placed seventh in a time of 17.21 for one point. In the 100 dash, Fahey was sixth in 13.11 for two points.
Newtown’s top finisher in the 400 was Conrad, who was third in 59.47 for six points.
In the 300 hurdles, the Newtown girls had two point-getters as Makenna Cerney placed sixth in 49.29 for two points and Vazquez came in seventh in 49.80 for one point.
Newtown’s 4x400 relay team of Cerney, Shelby Tolla, Conrad, and Keller placed fourth in 4:10.63 for four points.
Micaela Nowacki came in fourth in the javelin throw with a throw of 109-02 for four points. Nowacki was third in the discus throw with a toss of 115-02, good for six points. Amy Anyoha was fifth in the discus event with a throw of 108-05 for three points, and Annika Alexander followed, in sixth, with a toss of 99-05 for two points. Anyoha was second in the shot put event with a throw of 34-11 for eight points. Nowacki was seventh in the shot put with a throw of 30-04 for one point.
Cameron Vazquez was runner-up in the high jump competition as she cleared the bar at 4-10 for eight points. Teammate Mandy Mele was third, clearing 4-08 to score five points.
In the long jump competition, Fahey came in fifth with a leap of 15-06.50 to score three points.
In addition to Calandro’s effort in the pole vault event, Newtown’s Lauren Russo was sixth as she cleared 8-06 for two points, and Emma Lloyd was seventh with an effort of 8-00 to earn one point.
“We now have to put this meet aside and prepare ourselves for the State meet coming up next Tuesday,” Russell said of the June 3 meet at Danbury High. “Class LL is a strong class and I feel we can do well at that level as well this year.”
For the boys, in the 4x100 relay race, Jack Lavelle, Jason Ferrari, Sam Boland, and Matt Mossbarger came in seventh in 46.30 for one point.
Mossbarger was fifth in the 400, coming across the finish line in 52.13 for three points.
In the 300 hurdles, Boland was seventh in 43.34 for one point.
Newtown’s boys had two scorers in the javelin throw as mark Dowling placed sixth with a throw of 137-11 for two points and Ryan Errico was seventh with a throw of 134-01 for one point. In the shot put event, Peter Manfredonia came in fifth with a toss of 43-00 for three points.
Cole Terry was seventh in the high jump competition with a jump of 5-10 for one point.
In the long jump competition, Kevin Gorman had a leap of 20-03.25 to finish third and earn six points. Gorman placed seventh in the triple jump event with an effort of 39-02 for one point.
The conference meet was postponed twice — because of the threat of severe thunderstorms on May 27 and as a result of three SWC schools losing power and being shut down the next day. Once it was finally held, the participants were treated to sunny skies and comfortable temperatures.
“It’s a beautiful day. The kids are great about it being rescheduled two days,” said Tom Brant, coach of the NHS boys.