NEW BRITAIN – Simsbury’s Maddi Nicholson made her intentions known early in the discus at the New England championship meet at Willow Brook Park.
Her first throw went for 133 feet. “I threw down the gauntlet,” she joked afterwards. “I just wanted to attack it. I tried to keep pushing and pushing.”
Nicholson never trailed and with her throw of 136 feet, four inches, she won her first New England championship at sun-drenched Veteran’s Memorial Stadium at Willow Brook Park.
“(Assistant) coach (Ernie) Goodwin had a good thought today,” Nicholson said. “He said don’t complicate things. Keep it simple.”
Alva Hicks of Classical from Providence, Rhode Island was second with a throw of 134 feet, 10 inches. Ledyard’s Kylie Fustini was third with a throw of 134-5. These were the only two athletes to exceed Nicholson’s initial throw of 133 feet.
“This is how I envisioned I ended my high school career,” Nicholson said. “I couldn’t be more pleased. It is perfect.”
It was an outstanding year for Nicholson, who was undefeated. She won the Greater Hartford Invitational with a meet record throw of 122-9 feet. She won the CCC West with a throw of 128-8 and captured her third straight state title in Class LL with a throw of 128-10.
She won her second straight State Open championship with a school record throw of 137-1, shattering the old record by nine feet.
It was an emotional scene when Nicholson came over to celebration with her coaches. Her mother, Lisa, had tears in her eyes, too. Lisa Nicholson threw the discus in high school and in college at Rutgers and Bentley. And when Maddi was younger, there were a few discuses lying around the house.
“Everything happens for a reason,” Maddi said.
When she was a freshman, she went out for track and asked to throw the discus, Simsbury coach Rick Collins said.
Thanks to plenty of hard work and determination, she became an elite athlete. She was an All-State defender in field hockey last fall. And she plans to play field hockey and throw the discus at Williams College next year.
Maddi did what she needed to do to get ready. For the State Open and New England meets, she had warmup sessions at Simsbury High before traveling to New Britain and Willow Brook Park.
Her last four meets, including the CCC West championships and Class LL meet, were in New Britain. “I love this track,” Nicholson said. “I have so much history here. It’s the greatest place on earth.”
Simsbury had several competitors at the New England championship meet. Chandler Ives leaped 14-9 to finish third in the pole vault. He passed until 14-3 and cleared on his first attempt despite bumping the bar. At 14-9, he cleared on his second attempt.
The top three finishers were from Connecticut. Windham High sophomore Joe Fogarasi won with a leap of 15-3. Westhill’s Bill Thibault cleared 14-9 on his first attempt to finish second.
In the javelin, Greg Bombara finished seventh with a throw of 174 feet, 3 inches.
On the girls side, Sarah Mattison was 12th in the 3,200 meters with a time of 11:21.76. Steph Mueller was 18th in the 100 hurdles in 16.15 seconds. Simsbury’s 4×800 relay (Caroline Smith, Abigail Erasmus, Mattison, Amber Wilkes) finished 11th in 9:32.70.