Blue Devils outdoor track hitting its stride

With the spring season now halfway complete, the boys and girls outdoor track teams at Plainville High are now fully warmed up and ready for the year.

While many read that last sentence and think that the Blue Devils are behind schedule, those around the team know that they are right on schedule.

Plainville is the lone CCC South team that doesn’t field a winter season indoor track team, which has left the teams behind the eight ball heading into the spring outdoor season for years now.

“Their kids (from other schools) come into the season in shape already, where we’re starting off fresh,” said girls coach Robin Mills.

Yet the coaches are aware of the obstacles they face at the beginning of each season, and never worry. Instead, they’re willing to take a few early season lumps to straighten out off the rough edges.

“Now the girls are in shape, so the numbers are dropping, times are getting better, distances are getting better because we’re practicing every day,” said Mills. “They’re really stepping up and getting comfortable in their events.”

The teams’ newfound comfort in finally starting to show in the record column, too, as both the boys and girls teams won their Senior Meet’s Tuesday, April 29, when the Blue Devils played host to Bulkeley. The win proved to be the first of the year for the girls team, and the second in a row for the boys, who defeated Platt the week before.

“I think we’re seeing the improvement in a lot of the field events. We have some new hurdlers that are improving,” said boys coach Shaun Berard. “we have guys who are filling spots, where at the beginning of the year, we weren’t able to have two or three guys in a race. We were giving up points, second place points.

“Some of those earlier meets I’d like to do them over again at the end of the year; I think we’d fare a lot better.”

While timing wasn’t in their favor early in the season, both squads still have the time to improve individual performances in anticipation for the conference and state meet. Some Plainville standouts, including senior Shea Echols of the girls team and juniors Omar Abdelsame and Quentin Lux of the boys team, are aware of the events they will look to dominate in the postseason.

Some fresh faces to the sport are continuing to find the events that work best for them, and are rapidly developing into long term threats for the Blue Devils.

Junior Julius Brown and sophomore Natalie Zajaczkowski both recently began hurdling for the boys and girls teams, respectively, and have already achieved moderate success. Brown, who started his track career as a long distance runner, is finding success with the 300 meter hurdle distance, and is now finding his niche on the 4x100 and 4x400 team. Zajaczkowski has already qualified for states in the 300 hurdles.

“We’re starting from scratch, so for them to be where they are is very impressive,” said Mills. “They’re good athletes for them to be able to do that, when you come in and step up to the plate, and to have the mental toughness to do that.”

Both teams have three dual meets remaining prior to the CCC conference meet, set to be held Wednesday, May 28 at Platt High School in Meriden.

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