DARIEN, Conn. – The entire Darien High School girls track team performed magnificently at the Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference championship meet Jan. 31, but Dillon Schoen’s night was particularly noteworthy.
Schoen won the 600 in school record time and anchored the winning 4 x 200 relay team. For her achievements, Schoen was selected The Darien Daily Voice Athlete of the Month.
She edged teammate Anna Sulger in the 600, winning in 1:36.08. Her time is the 15th best in the nation, according to the website Milesplit.com , and the fastest in Connecticut. It was also more than two seconds faster than her previous best.
In the relay, she joined Sulger, Maddie Schneider and Elizabeth Fucigna to run 1:47:03, the second best time in the state this winter. Earlier in the month, she was part of the distance medley relay that erased a 26-year-old school record.
“I’m not really sure why I’ve improved so much this season,’’ said Schoen, a junior who has run indoors for three season. “I think this year I’m a lot stronger. I play soccer as well, and I tried to do a lot of running in addition to practices. But running these times, I can’t believe it. I never thought I’d be running 1:36 for 600 meters.”
Schoen’s win in the 600 was impressive because of the quality of the field. Sulger, Staples’ Tyler Scanlin and Trumbull’s Katie Foley all ran in less than 1:42, which last year was fast enough to qualify for the State Open.
“I think my workouts have been organized really well,’’ Schoen said. “We have a strict plan, and I’ve been following that closely. ... I think a lot of my success is because of the coaches. All the work we’ve done pays off in meets.”
She also plays lacrosse and said transitions from season to season can be hard. “The hardest transition is to track,’’ she said. “In soccer I’m running the whole game, but it’s harder in track because I have to build up mileage. It takes two weeks before I feel like I’m in the condition I want to be in. Track probably has the most influential benefits. When I get to lacrosse I’m running up and down the field the whole game. If I didn’t run track, I’d probably be dying.”
Her individual achievements are part of a bigger team picture for the Blue Wave. They blew away league competition, finishing with 116 points, followed by Ridgefield with 50. Grace Loh, Leah Hotchkiss, Maddie Schneider, Catherine Lacy and Taylor McDonald also won individual events for Darien.
Darien will be one of the favorites for this weekend’s Class L meet. The Blue Wave won the state title in 2009 and 2010 and was runner-up each of the last two years.
“It’s been an awesome year,’’ Schoen said. “Everybody has been working so hard in practice, it’s great to see it paying off. When we’re outside running in 30-degree weather in snow — you wonder sometimes why you do it. But it’s such an amazing feeling. We want to keep the momentum going.”