NEW HAVEN, February 1 – Jack Martin and Tyler Hinrichs became the first Avon runners to win individual Central Connecticut Conference titles in indoor track and field Saturday at the CCC championship meet at the Floyd Lloyd Athletic Center on the campus of Hillhouse High.
Those wins and Avon’s victory in the sprint medley relay helped the Falcon boys track and field team finish fourth at the CCC championships – their best finish since joining the league in 2016.
Bloomfield won the CCC championship with 93 points followed by Hall with 54½ points, Glastonbury (53), Avon (39½) and Conard (38).
A year ago, Martin finished second in the 1,000 meters by 0.05 of a second. This year, Martin took no chances and put himself in the front of the pack from the start. Martin finished first with a time of 2:34.25 seconds with Hall’s Jackson Grady a close second with a time of 2:36.80.
“I felt confident that if Jack put himself near the front of the pack, there aren’t many runners who can match his kick,” Avon High boys coach Courtney Fusco said. “Credit to Jackson Grady who gave Jack a great race and challenged him right through the last 100 meters.”
Hinrichs prevailed in a tight field in the 600 meters with a school record time of 1:24.75, outlasting Farmington’s Andrew Van de Mark, who was 0.21 seconds off the pace with a time of 1:24.96, and Hall’s Tobias Rufo in 1:25.02.
“There was a lot of parity in terms of talent in that event,” Fusco said. “It looked like Tyler was starting to get heavy legs (and slow down) with about 150 meters to go but so was everyone else. He had the kind of resiliency to power through. Although his lead faded, he had just enough to seal the victory.”
Avon brought home their first CCC indoor championship in a relay event when they took the 1,600 meter sprint medley title with a time of 3:47.95 beating Glastonbury (3:48.19), Tolland (3:48.36) and Hall (3:48.61).
Max Raha, John Donlin, Anish Rajamanickam and Tyler Hinrichs ran the relay, which includes two legs of 100 meters, a 200 meter leg and a 400 meter leg. “They really gave it their all and ended up with another conference championship,” Fusco said. “I was amazed that after Tyler’s 600-meter victory, he was able to (run) a 2:04.00 in the 800 meter anchor leg to seal the win.”
Avon took third in the 4×400 relay – despite the team (Hinrichs, Hari Patchgolla, Rajamanickam, Martin) running in the second heat. “I told them not to worry about the fact they were not in the fastest heat and just run their hardest,” Fusco said.
Avon won their heat and finished third overall with a time of 3:36.99 seconds, behind Glastonbury (3:34.23) and Hall (3:36.62). Simsbury was fourth with a time of 3:38.68.
There was a major collision in the fast heat that slowed down the teams, enabling Avon to finish third and nip Conard for fourth place overall. “It was an important lesson for us,” Fusco said. “Always give your best no matter what heat you’re in, because you never know what will happen.”
Avon’s Jack Grady picked up some points for the Falcons by taking fifth in the high jump with a leap of 5-foot-6. Avon’s 4×200 relay (Thomas Ko, Donlin, Patchigolla, Raha) finished seventh with a time of 1:37.01.
On the girls side, Avon had a pair of top 10 finishes. Katrina Frez finished fifth in the pole vault with a leap of 8-feet. Teammate Mareen Ek was eighth in the 1,600 meters with a time of 5:32.08. The Falcons were 17th in the CCC with three points.