By Ken Morse, Citizen’s News
Naugatuck’s Allison Murphy and Woodland’s Jaden Young followed up impressive performances at the state meets and State Open with top-ten finishes at the New England track and field indoor championship.
Murphy, who finished second at the Class L meet and fourth at the State Open in the 600, continued to shave her time at the New England championships Feb. 29 at the Reggie Lewis Center in Boston. The sophomore speedster placed seventh (1:36.64) in the 600.
“I was a little nervous going up against that kind of competition,” Murphy said. “From one through ten they were all seeded within two seconds of each other. I was surprised at how well I did, it was a tough race.”
Murphy’s time at New Englands would have tied for first and set a record at the Class L meet.
“I was talking with the girl from Simsbury who set the Class L record after the race and it seems that I have been matching her times, but one race too late,” Murphy said. “Over the summer I worked on a lot of mileage to build that pace.”
Naugatuck head coach Ralph Roper said Murphy did a nice job for her first time at the New England championship, and just got edged out for a top-five finish.
“I’m proud of her. She gave it all she had and kept it on the track,” Roper said. “She is only a sophomore and just coming into her own. So to make All-NVL and All-State and compete at the New England championship, that is a successful season.”
Young, who was the first Hawk to compete at the New England championship since Mike Lang in 2014 and the first female athlete since Gina DellaRose in 2004, placed 10th (3:04.90) in the 1000 at the meet.
Young placed second in the event at the Class S meet and fifth at the State Open.
“It was a great experience going to the New England championship,” Young said. “The competition was really tough. I was pleased with my time. Finishing as runner-up in Class S and top five at the State Open and top ten at New England, I feel I achieved the goals I set for myself at indoors, and I’m looking forward to continuing that success at outdoors.”
Murphy is excited for the outdoor season, too.
“We have been putting together a strong team,” Murphy said. “Last year we had a shot at the championship but we just didn’t quite pull through. But I think we are going to be even more prepared this outdoor season.”