NEW HAVEN, February 22, 2020 – Avon High sophomore runner Jack Martin doesn’t necessary like the spotlight. He prefers the underdog approach, coming from behind.
Martin may find that underdog label harder to find in the future. Martin became the first Avon High athlete to win a State Open championship in indoor track and field on Saturday at the Floyd Little Athletic Center on the campus of Hillhouse High.
Martin won the 1,600 meter race at the State Open with a winning and season-best time of 4:19.16. He beat Tolland’s Alec Sauter, who finished second in 4:20.44 and Azaan Dawson of Fairfield Prep, who was third in 4:22.75.
“His approach was a good one,” Avon High coach Courtney Fusco said. “Before the race, I advised him to just do what he’s done all season — make sure you’re near the front for the whole race and kick hard for the last 250 meters or more without letting up.
“We’re fairly confident that when it comes to the final stages of a race, there aren’t many out there who can match his kick,” Fusco said.
Martin ran a quick pace for most of the race and Dawson and Sauter were right with him. “He did briefly give up the lead with about two laps to go, which has become a pretty common occurrence in Jack’s races,” Fusco said. “But he started his kick shortly before the bell lap. Once he took back the lead, he was able to hold it to the line.”
Martin, who won the Class M title in the 1,600 meters last week, earned a berth to Saturday’s New England championship meet in Boston at the Reggie Lewis Athletic Center with his victory. The top six athletes earn an invitation to the New Englands. Martin is the No. 3 seed in the 1,600 meters.
Martin helped Avon finish tied for 18th place with 10 points. Bloomfield easily won the event with 56 points. Bristol Central and Wilbur Cross each tied for second place with 20 points each.
Avon teammate Tyler Hinrichs finished ninth in the 600 meters with a season-best time 1:25.50 while Max Raha was ninth in the long jump with a leap of 20-4½ feet.
Avon’s 4×400 meter relay team (Hinrichs, Hari Patchigolla, Martin, Anish Rajamanickam) finished eleventh with a season-best time of 3:33.09.
NOTE: Before Martin’s championship win, the closest that the Falcons have come to a boy winning and Open title was in 1982 when Jeff Hyman was second in the 3,000 meters, an event that is no longer run at the indoor meet.