NEW BRITAIN, June 2, 2021 – Avon junior Jack Martin had expressed some reservations about the task he was attempting to achieve at Wednesday’s Class MM championship meet at Willow Brook Park.
But once he got going, Martin didn’t stop.
Martin won three individual state championships in the 800 meters, the 1,600 meters and 3,200 meters to help the Falcons finish third – their best finish in a CIAC championship meet since finishing first in Class S in 1994.
With the victories, Martin becomes just the second Avon track and field athlete to win three individual titles in one day. The only other person to achieve this was Jeff Hyman in 1982 when he swept the 1,500, 3,000 and 5,000 meters in one day.
“Obviously, it was a historic performance by Jack, one of the very best in school history,” said David Zlatin, head coach of the Avon boys team. “We had asked this difficult triple of him because we had a chance to contend for second place as a team.”
Weston easily won the Class MM title with 84 points with Hand-Madison taking second with 68 points. Avon finished third with 56 points while Woodstock Academy was fourth with 46.
By the time, runners in the 3,200 meters came to the line, Avon’s prospects to bring home a trophy had dimmed. Zlatin and the coaching staff gave Martin a choice to pass on the 3,200 meters. He battled on.
Martin had already won the 800 meters by two full seconds in 1:56.20. He beat East Lyme’s Luke Anthony in the 1,600 meters by more than two seconds with a time of 4:20.19, the second-best time in school history.
Again, Martin faced Anthony. “The pace was moderate for most of the race but Luke Anthony kicked with one lap to go, earlier than Jack wanted,” Zlatin said. “Only Jack went with Anthony and finally passed him in the last 100 meters to secure his third win.”
Martin won with a time of 9:41.17, more than a second ahead of Anthony with his time of 9:42.51.
“All of Jack’s races were a bit different,” Zlatin said. “In the 1,600, he waited patiently and unleashed a huge kick with 200 meters to go to zip past Luke Anthony. He made (his time of 4:20.19) look very easy. In the 800, he led wire-to-wire in a comfortable victory.”
Martin told the Hartford Courant that he would focus on the 800 meters at next week’s State Open championships on Wednesday, June 9 at Willow Brook Park in New Britain.
Martin wasn’t the only state champion for the Falcons on Wednesday. Avon’s 4×800 meter relay team finished first to become the first Falcon relay team to win a state championship since 1998.
Nick Alphonso, Jevonte Eaves, Lucas Hester and Carver Morgan won the race with a time of 8:11.61, beating Hand, which finished second in 8:12.39. Morgan ran a strong time of 1:58.8 on the anchor leg, passing two teams in the final straightaway to lift Avon to the championship.
Carver also earned a medal by finishing fourth in the 3,200 meters with a personal-best time of 9:46.83. He beat his previous best time by more than 20 seconds. Morgan also finished sixth in the 800 meters with a time of 2:03.33.
Paul Netland had a pair of top 10 finishes. He finished third in the 110 hurdles with a time of 16.52 seconds and was seventh in the 300 hurdles in 44.88 seconds. With his third place finish in the 110 hurdles, Netland earned an spot at the State Open.
The top five finishers in each event earn a spot at the State Open.
On the girls side, Mareen Ek had a pair of top five finishes. Ek was third in the 1,600 meters with a personal-best time of 5:25.62 and took fifth in the 3,200 meters with a time of 12:16.74.
Katrina Frez was seventh in the pole vault with a leap of 8-0 feet while Tessa Hofheimer was ninth in the discus with a throw of 85-9 feet.
The Falcons finished 17th in the field of 26 teams that scored at least one point with 12 points.