February 18, 2012
Despite being a dominant force in the state over the last 20 years, and despite winning nine Connecticut class championships during that time, the Staples Boys Track team finally reclaimed the title of State Open Champion last Saturday afternoon at the New Haven Athletic Center at Hillhouse High School. To do so, Staples out-ran and out-jumped competitors from 52 other state high schools. The victory completed a sweep of the FICAC Western Division, the (entire) FCIAC, Class LL, and State Open meets.
Winning a state championship in track is as much a chess match as it is an athletic competition. Only the top six finishers score points, based on a sliding scale of 10-8-6-4-2-1. Therefore, whereas a trio of scorers for one team might sweep the top spots at the league level for 24 combined points, shoehorn in four random faster competitors at the state level and that total gets cut to a mere three points at best.
The bottom line is that to win a state championship, you need two things: 1) that rare team that combines a dominant runner who can hold his own against anyone in the state, and incredible depth in a myriad of other events to combine into dominant relays, and 2) a coach who crunches the numbers, analyzes rest time between events, and tries to outguess his colleagues on what player combinations and event placements will maximize his team’s point total. With 14 State Class championships in the last 25 years, and five State Opens, there is no better track tactician than Staples Coach Laddie Lawrence.
The 2012 Staples Wreckers by all accounts are a Dream Team. The core relay sprinters: Jon Heil (captain), Max Hoberman (captain), David Hoffman (first-year Junior), and Zach Mitchell (captain), have put up among the fastest times in Staples history. The core distance relay group: Kyle Hoberman (captain), Mikolaj Kulis, Walker Marsh, Patrick Nolan, and Henry Wynne were also record setters. The core jumpers: Ethan Bradeen, Doug Caffery, Dean Hefnawy, Alexander Lochoff, Aiden McConnell, and Matt Mula dominated their events.
In the Open, Heil, Hoffman, M. Hoberman and Mitchell put the first four points up on the board by finishing fourth in the 4×200 relay. The 4×800 team of Kulis, Hoberman, Nolan, and Marsh cut seven seconds off their best time to snag another fourth place and four points. Henry Wynne then dominated the 1000 in a school record 2:29.56 for a huge ten spot. Hefnawy picked the right time to clear a personal best of 14 feet in the pole vault for another eight.
Ten points from the winning sprint medley team of Mitchell, Hoffman, Hefnawy (filling in for Marsh to keep him fresh for the 4×400), and Wynne vaulted Staples to a two point lead over Hillhouse with just three events remaining. Kulis then set a personal best in the 3200 to take sixth and add an insurance point, followed by Hoberman, Marsh, Wynne, and Heil bringing home the gold in the 4×400 to seal the deal and build the winning margin to 13.
Rounding out the Staples FCIAC and State meet qualifiers were: Giles Bonner, Sam Cohen, Matt Cozzi, Colin Davis, Peter Elkind, Alexander Ellman, David Haswell, Oliver Hickson, Peter Hoetz, Bobby Jacowleff, Jake Lewis, Will McDonald, Eli Mitchell, Brad Payne, Ryan Petersen, Tucker Rizzi, and Yousef Shahin, and Jackson Yang.
Staples qualified nine competitors for the events contested at the upcoming New England Championships: Heil, K Hoberman, M Hoberman, Hoffman, Kulis, Marsh, Mitchell, Nolan, and Wynne.
Summary of Staples Indoor Track Championships:
Open: 1988-91, 2012
Class LL: 2012
Class L: 1965, 1989-91, 2004-08
Class M: 1992, 2000-03
FCIAC: 1979, 1982-1983, 1985, 1987-1992, 1993, 2001, 2005-2006
FCIAC East: 1972, 1978-1979, 1981-1990, 1992-1993
FCIAC West: 1991, 2010
FCIAC Central: 1995, 2000-2003, 2005-2009