Naugatuck and Woodland indoor track athletes faced the best of the best from Connecticut Saturday at the State Open at the Floyd Little Athletic Center in New Haven.
Only one athlete, Naugatuck’s Aren Seeger, advanced to the New England Championships, which are March 3 at the Reggie Lewis Center in Boston.
Seeger, the Class L state champion in the 55 hurdles, placed third in the event in 7.72 at the State Open to advance.
Seeger faced a familiar competitor at the State Open — E.J. Williams of Sacred Heart. Seeger posted a 7.75 in the preliminaries with Williams just ahead at 7.66. The showdown was interrupted, though, by Deshaune Poole of Hillhouse, who came from the fifth spot in qualifying to win the event in 7.53. Williams took second in 7.55.
“The hurdles are over so quick, any little hiccup can change the outcome,” Naugatuck head coach Ralph Roper said. “If you tip one of the hurdles it can take enough off your game where you can drop significantly.
“I thought Aren ran well and even bettered his time. But the kid from Hillhouse came from the fifth spot to win the race. In such a short race like that you just never know.”
Roper said the decision was made to hold Seeger out of the 300 meters as the turns could aggravate a previous knee issue.
Naugatuck’s Ben Healy, who finished fifth in the long jump at the Class L meet, was seeded 17th at the State Open in the event. Healy moved up a few spots and placed 14th with a leap of 19 feet, 9 1/2 inches.
“Ben had a great season and making the State Open was a big accomplishment,” Roper said. “Granted he didn’t come up with his best distance but he did move up three spots. If he matched his personal best it would have put him in the top ten.”
“All in all, it was a very good season for us and we are looking forward to carrying that success to the outdoor season,” Roper added.
Woodland’s Jasmine Michie competed in the shot put after finishing fourth at the Class M meet.
Michie came in seeded 12th among the field of 18 throwers. She finished in 13th place with a throw of 34 feet, 5 3/4 inches.
Woodland coach Jeff Lownds has given his Hawks a couple of weeks to rest up before they prepare for the outdoor season.