THOMASTON - What happened with the Thomaston Middle School track and field team at the 12th annual middle school state championship meet was just a by-product of what had gone on with this team all season.
Veteran eighth graders were no longer satisfied to “participate” in a hit-and-miss fashion; no way.
“The young men and women had goals they wanted to attain at this meet,” said coach Dave Lopardo, “and worked daily to get to that point, and it had quite a ripple effect as the maturity shown by them rubbed off on the seventh graders, a very athletic and goal-oriented group.”
At the meet, Julia Bond and Emily Mendelsohn finished 12th and 14th in a field of 64 hurdlers; Stevie Fox ended up 12th in a huge field of tremendously talented sprinters.
The 4x400 team of Justin Dorso, Zach Maxfield, Dan Guerrera and Nick Brickett ran their best time of the season by at over 10 seconds.
“Also,” said Lopardo, “Delaney Jose has not only turned in performances in the shot and discus befitting an elite thrower, but has been a valuable asset to our other throwers.”
Olivia Blasko, buried in 15th place with less than 400 meters to go in the 800, turned in an incredible finishing kick to place second in the flight, and ninth overall in the state.
“Olivia showed nothing but class and maturity when the 800 results were revised, putting her into ninth place when we all thought she had a medal in the event,” said Lopardo.
Hannah Parker did an excellent job in the 400 meters for Thomaston.
The TMS 4x100 meter relay team was comprised of two speedsters from last year in Emily Mendelsohn and Stevi Fox, an incredible talent in Claire Saunders, and eighth grader Payton Mozelak, whose forte is the long distance events.
“How Payton ended up on the sprint relay was a testament to her determination to prove she could also excel on the relay team,” Lopardo pointed out.
The foursome were seeded third going into the meet, .38 seconds behind the top-rated team.
“That is a lot of time to make up in a sprint where you know everyone is bringing their ‘A’ game to the event,” said Lopardo, “but they ran a .54:00, their best time of the year by far, which made them the fastest of the 28 relay teams I have coached in Torrington and here in Thomaston.
“I knew they had a chance to win it,” Lopardo added, “but there were a lot of equally fast or faster sprinters between them and first place. They believed in themselves, and then went out and performed at a level befitting champions.
“My assistant coach Don Whitley and I could not be prouder, as this team has provided Thomaston Middle School’s track program with it’s finest moment,” Lopardo said.