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HKHS Boys Indoor Track Team Finished in a 3-way Tie for 4th Place in State Open Championship; Kedarjah Lewis Places 2nd in 55 Dash

Submitted by Richard Dupuis, Coach.

L to R: Matt Jennings, Seth Regan, Aidan Coleman and Dmytri Mallon

The State Open brings together the best athletes in each of the eleven individual and four relay events in track and field based on their performances in the four Divisional Championships. Haddam Killingworth High School had advanced two individuals, Seth Regan in the 55 dash and Matt Jennings in the 1000, and three relays, the 4×200, the Sprint Medley Relay and the 4×400 relay from the S State Championship to the Open. While Seth ran a personal best, his time missed qualifying for the finals by four tenths of a second. Matt Jennings entered the 1000 seeded second behind Ryhs Hammond from Stonington. They had not met during the season and both were undefeated. Hammond managed to hold Matt off, winning by less than a second. Both qualified for the New England Championship next week and their times qualified them for the Championship category of the New Balance National Championship the weekend after New Englands. The National Championship has two categories, the Emerging Elite (EE) category and the Championship category, the standards of the former are hard to achieve and the latter even harder. According to Athletic.net, Matt’s time of 2:29.56 has him ranked eighth in the nation. His time also set a school record.

The Sprint Medley Relay consists of four runners. The first two legs lead off with runs of two hundred meters each, followed by the third leg running four hundred meters and the anchor running 800 meters. HK was in a somewhat unique situation due to a trip and fall in the S Championship. Despite the fall, HK was able to win the event, and was advanced to the Open. On paper, Stonington looked like a lock to win the Sprint Medley relay with a seed time four seconds faster than second place seed time. HK’s Spring Medley Relay entered the race with a seed time about seven seconds behind Stonington. Nonetheless, the opening two hundred legs of Aidan Coleman and Seth Regan, managed to put HK in the middle of a crowded pack as Regan handed off to Dmytri Mallon for the 400 leg. Dymtri advanced the team’s position further as he handed the baton off to Matt Jennings for the 800 anchor. Despite having run the tough 1000 meter race earlier, Matt took over the lead about halfway through his leg. As he made the turn for the last 50 meters, the anchor of the Stonington team, Rhys Hammond, who had held Matt off in the 1000 made a furious rush to the finish. In one of the most exciting finishes of the day with both falling across the finish line, the Cougars were able to pull out the victory in what appeared to be a photo finish with HK the apparent winner by thousands of a second. Nonetheless, both teams were concerned as a race that close needs to be reviewed carefully. However, it was soon determined that the Stonington team had been disqualified due to a lane violation earlier in the race. HK’s winning time of 3:37.444 qualified the team for the Emerging Elite Category, narrowly missing the Championship category of 3:27.00. Their winning time also set a new school record. According to Athletic.net, HK is ranked twenty-fourth in the nation.

On the Girls side, HK’s Kedarjah Lewis, HK’s sole entry into the Open had a fantastic day. Kedarjah is an HK Junior and a successful soccer player, but she had never done Track and Field. Despite her lack of experience and having to learn on the job, she has stepped up to be one of the top sprinters and jumpers in the State. In the Open meet, she was entered in three events (three is the limit for all contestants) and advanced her pre-meet seeding in all three, placing second in the 55 dash, fourth in the Long Jump and Sixth in the 300 meter Dash. Her time in the 55 Dash and the 300 Dash both set new school records. Kedarjah’s performances scored 13 points for the HK Girls team, garnering 15th place. Kedarjah will join Matt Jennings in the New England Championship. She is qualified in all three events.

While the SMR is not contested in the New England Championship, HK’s relay team will be competing in the New Balance Championship the weekend after the New England Championship.

Photos by Carol Dupuis.

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