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Darien Girls Indoor Track Team Sets Big Postseason Goals

Darien's Catherine Lacy attempts the high jump. Photo Credit: Contributed by Darien Sports Foundation
Darien's Jessica Thornbury heads for an attempt in the pole vault. Photo Credit: Contributed by Darien Sports Foundation

DARIEN, Conn. – After winning its 10th straight Eastern Division championship last week, the Darien High School indoor girls track and field team looks to win its first league championship since 2009 on Thursday. The Blue Wave might not end there.

Darien has its usual depth, but its front-line performers make it a team to consider for Class L and State Open honors. Darien last won the Class L title in 2010 and has been runner-up each of the past two years. His team has never finished higher than fourth at the State Open, veteran coach Steve Norris said.

“The very best of the bunch should perform at a higher level in the state meet,’’ Norris said. “We’re probably as well-suited for the Class and State Open meets as we ever have been.”

The first item of business for Darien is wining the Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference title, which begins at 4:30 p.m. Thursday in New Haven at the Floyd Little Athletic Center.

Darien has finished second each of the last three years. But this year’s squad was dominant in winning the Eastern title last week, piling up 130 points. Fairfield Warde was a distant second with 66.

Darien has the top seed in six events and many other high seeds. The Blue Wave set the tone for the season in the Yale Invitational earlier this month when its distance medley relay team of Dillon Schoen, Anna Sulger, Anne Johnston and Grace Loh broke a 26-year-old school record.

Darien won eight of 15 events at the divisional meet and set a school record in the 4 x 225 relay with Sulger, Elizabeth Fucigna, Liz Heaney and Maddie Schneider.

“We’re running a couple of very strong relay teams,’’ Norris said. “Rather than try to balance all four, we’re trying to go really strong with the two shorter ones and let the distance runners go in their individual events.”

Loh is the No. 2 seed in the 1,000, and Johnston is seeded fourth in the 3,200 and fifth in the 1,600. Another big race for Darien is the 600, where Sulger and Schoen are seeded 1-2.

“Sulger is probably a surprise to some coaches, because she joined two weeks into the spring track season last year and then got hurt,’’ Norris said. “She has done well. She can hold an efficient stride for a long time.”

Darien’s field event lineup is strong, too. Maddie Schneider (pole vault), Taylor McDonald (shot put), Leah Hotchkiss (high jump) and Catherine Lacy (long jump) are seeded first in their events. The field events will be important in the state meets for Darien. Hillhouse of New Haven is another State Open contender but is weak in field events.

“We’d have to beat them in the field events,’’ Norris said. “I think our team knows that if we’re going to do it, we’ll have to score some big points in the field.”

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