Track And Field Wins Seven Events At Outdoor Opener

Patrick Gustavson, Sports Editor

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Both the Central Connecticut men’s and women’s track and field teams opened their outdoor season on Saturday at the Monmouth Season Opener. The teams had a great deal of success, totaling seven gold medals between the two.

Head coach Eric Blake said the goal of the meet was “to continue progressing from how they ended indoors” for those on the team who participated.

“For some of our team, it was their first competition of 2019, so it was good to get the first meet in,” Blake continued.

On the women’s side, senior Sierra Nesmith, one of the stars of the indoor season for the Blue Devils, started strong by winning two events on the day.

Nesmith edged out the second-place finisher to win the 200-meter dash, then took the gold in the 400-meter dash by nearly a second.

Junior Megan Brawner also carried over her success from the indoor season by winning the 1500-meter run, besting the second-place finisher by over a second. That second-place finisher was teammate Angie Rafter with a time of 4:45.15.

Brawner and Rafter were a part of the team, along with freshman Ashley Dana and junior Kailyn Accetura, that won the 4×800-meter relay.

Blake said following the indoor season, he felt the women’s team lacked depth but was looking forward to more athletes contributing during the outdoor season.

Rafter and Dana, who were primary contributors to the Northeast Conference Championship winning cross country team, redshirted the indoor season and were cited by Blake as possible reinforcements, saying they “had solid races” and “only expect them to get faster.”

Blake said another new contributor will be on the throwing side in the form of junior Gianna D’Amato. Her throw of 38.18 meters in the javelin was good enough for a fourth-place finish and the praise of her coach.

The men’s side won three gold medals of their own, also from three top performers from the indoor season.

Junior Roberto Piotto, who was named to the first-team all-Northeast Conference in the indoor season, won the 5,000-meter run with a time eclipsing 15 minutes.

Classmate Richard Grudzwick dominated the 800-meter run, winning by nearly a second over the runner-up finisher.

Rounding out the trio of Blue Devil first place winners was junior Quincy Sanchez, who won the 110-meter hurdles.

Blake feels junior Edwin Alston, who qualified for the NCAA meet in 2017, will wind up as one of the leaders on the men’s side. Alston was forced to redshirt the indoor season and last outdoor season due to injury.

Both teams will head to the Colonial Reyes meet next weekend at William & Mary in Virginia. Blake is hoping his teams will come away with some personal best finishes.