Green Wave girls race to state track laurels
A quartet of New Milford High girls' track athletes can rightfully claim they are without peer in Connecticut.
The NMHS girls clocked 9:17.66 to win gold in competition with the state's best runners at Willowbrook Park in New Britain.
The victory came on the heels of their comfortable wins at May 20's South-West Conference championship meet in Bethel and May 30's CIAC Class LL meet.
The Tower/Grazia/Grazia/Bayers tandem lowered their school-record time for the 4x800 to 9:17.57 Saturday to earn third place in the New England Championship meet at the Bromfield School in Harvard, Mass.
The NMHS girls' 4x400 foursome of Hannah Tower, Helen Bayers, Sierra Grazia and Meghan Dietter also distinguished itself in recent weeks.
That combination earned third place at the SWC meet, finished second at the Class LL meet, and peaked with a season-best 3:59.3 time for third place at the State Open.
The latter effort qualified the girls' 4x400 for the New England meet, where it clocked 4:01.68 for 11th place among 27 teams.
The performances of those two relay teams highlighted the spring for coach Joe Tarantello's Green Wave squad.
The girls scored 71 points at the SWC meet to claim fourth place among 14 schools, sparked by Sierra Grazia's victorious 2:20.4 time in the 800-meter run and the two winning relays.
The 4x100 relay added third place, as did Allie Noteware with a 110 foot, 3 inch javelin throw and Meghan Dietter, whose time of 57.99 in the 400 might have been the first sub-58 seconds ever for an NMHS girl.
Saige Grazia cruised to fourth place in the 1,600 at 5:26.8, and Jess Noteware matched that with her gutsy 12:05.7 amidst searing heat in the 3,200.
The Green Wave offered a creditable 10th place as a team at the Class LL meet.
Complementing the work of the 4x400 and 4x800 teams was Meghan Dietter's fifth place in the 400 and Sierra Grazia's eighth in the 800.
Several days later, the girls scored 18 points for 14th place at the State Open, as Meghan Dietter lowered her school record in the 400 to 57.72 to earn seventh place.
Boys end season
That duo closed the books on their memorable Green Wave careers with solid efforts at the SWC, Class L and State Open meets.
In SWC competition, Clarke was third at 4:26.7 and Hansell was fourth in 4:27.5 in the 1,600, and the latter added a sixth-place finish in the 3,200 with a time of 10:08.4.
Hansel, Hugh Sichel and Clarke posted a 3-6-8 finish in the 3,200 in the Class L meet, with respective times of 9:37.4, 9:54.2 and 9:55.
Clarke also kicked home in 4:29.8 for fifth place in the 1,600.
NMHS junior Zachary Guptill actually was the best finisher for the Green Wave in the Class L meet with his runner-up finish in the 800 in 2:00.8.
He previously had placed fourth at the SWCs and capped his efforts, as did Hansell and Clarke, by competing at the State Open.
Another top performer was Richard Grudzwick, who claimed third in 51.6 in the SWC 400 meters and helped the 4x400 relay to a State Open-qualifying fifth-place effort at the Class L meet.
Coach Ryan Fitzsimmons' squad placed sixth at the SWC among 14 teams with 47 points, and added an 11th place with 29 points at the Class L meet.
The Green Wave didn't score at the State Open.
For more photos, visit www.newmilfordspectrum.com.