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Avon sprint medley relay team qualifies for New Balance Nationals

From left, Avon High’s Anish Rajamanickam, Thomas Ko, Thomas Howard and Jack Donlin qualified for the New Balance Nationals in the sprint medley relay Friday night in Danbury. (Photo courtesy Avon High track)

DANBURY, May 17 – A foursome from Avon High qualified for the upcoming New Balance Nationals in the 800 meter sprint medley relay Friday night at the Danbury Dream Invitational.

The sprint medley consists of legs of 100 meters (twice), 200 meters and 400 meters. Thomas Ko led off the race but struggled with Jack Donlin on the first handoff. Donlin slowed to stay in his zone and avoid disqualification. Avon was still competing but last among the six teams on the track.

Thomas Howard ran a great 200 meters on the third leg and handed the baton to anchor leg runner Anish Rajamanickam with the Falcons in fifth place. Rajamanickam ran a 49.39 split in the 400 meters, according to FAT timing, and carried Avon back into second place. The Falcons finished with a time of 1:36.61, good enough for qualify for the national meet and a new school record.

The New Balance Nationals are scheduled for June 13-16 at Aggie Stadium in Greensboro, North Carolina. The Falcons qualified in the Emerging Elite division.

Junior Tyler Hinrichs won his heat of the 800 meters with a personal-best time of 2:01.18 and finished seventh overall. Hinrichs cut three seconds off his previous best outing in the 800.

Avon also competed in the 4×110 hurdles relay with Thomas Howard, Thomas Ko, Rajamanickam and Paul Netland running a time of 1:11.60 – a new school record.

This was the first time that Avon put a team together for the sprint medley and the 4×110 hurdle relay.

The Falcons return to action when they compete in the CCC championships on Tuesday at Hall.

Gerry deSimas, Jr., is the editor and founder of The Collinsville Press. He is an award-winning writer and has been covering sports in Connecticut and New England for more than 40 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

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