Senior leadership inspires Green Wave title run New Milford High boys' track & field captures South-West Conference championship
New Milford High boys' track & field captures South-West Conference championship
The future is indeed bright for the New Milford High School boys' track & field program.
Yet for one memorable afternoon May 25 in Weston, it was all about the present.
Coach Ryan Fitzsimmons' Green Wave relied heavily on its deep and balanced senior class on a steamy afternoon in Fairfield County to earn the South-West Conference title.
"These guys have worked so hard for four years," reflected coach Fitzsimmons, "and each year of their high school career we had been second in SWCs."
"They have been hungry all year to get this done," he explained, "and they dug down deep and took care of business."
The SWC title was the first for NMHS in boys' track since 2005 and served as a reminder of the program's halcyon days in the 1960s, '70s and '80s when the Green Wave dominated the then-Western Connecticut Conference.
Balance was the watchword for coach Fitzsimmons' crew as it scored 105 points to outlast strong challenges from the host Trojans (94) and Brookfield (93.5), as well as efforts from 10 other schools.
In the meet's first event, the Green Wave's 4 x 800-meter relay of Nick Grudev, Derek Vill, Kerry Chayka and Zane Swanson kicked home in a meet and school-record 8:04.48 to edge West by less than a tenth of a second for the victory.
Zack Kraus, echoing success he enjoyed for years as a Green Wave cross country runner, clocked 9:30.8 to win the 3,200-meter run for NMHS' only other first place.
As it turned out, more firsts would have been a luxury.
"We were able to win the meet on guys scoring in multiple events," analyzed coach Fitzsimmons, "and scoring in 15 of the 18 events."
In their coach's words, the Gren Wave "really leaned on some of the seniors."
Among the key contributions from the Class of 2010 were Kraus in the 1,600 and 3,200; Zane Swanson and Kerry Chayka in the 4 x 800, 800-meter hurdles and 4 x 400; Derek Vill in the 4 x 800, 1,600 and 4 x 400, David Gasser in the 110 and 300-meter hurdles, as well as the triple jump; Kevin Eherts in the javelin, shot put, 4 x 100-meter relay and 200 meters; John Rettenmeier in the long Jump and 100, 200 and 400-meter runs; and Don Clady in the 4 x 100-meter relay, 100 meters, 300-meter hurdles and 4 x 400.
"These guys have epitomized the meaning of a team from the start of the year," noted their coach. "We have really focused on relays and the entire squad has really taken that mentality to another level."
The Green Wave was hoping Wednesday to ride its SWC wave of success to a strong performance in the state class "LL' meet in Manchester.