Artem Skobrev was scheduled to rev it up for the indoor season in New Haven this weekend. (Darien Times/Scott Mullin photo)
Anything goes for DHS boys indoor track this winter.“We have the ability to be back on top this year,” said Tyson Kaczmarek , Wave coach of six winning seasons. “The team has a lot of undeveloped talent. This means anything is possible this year."
Pretty well developed already, and leading the Wave will be its top returning talent. And there’s still a lot of that, starting with captain, senior John Bolton who sprints like a gale. He’ll be a major contributor in the 300 and 4×400, exudes excellent leadership and was All-FCIAC last year.
Senior Alexi Bello is an exceptional long jumper, leaping 19 feet in the long jump as a freshman and sophomore. He will be an outstanding 300 and 4×400 runner this season says his coach.
Captain and senior Artem Skobrev is as solid distance runner as there is in the league and is expected to excel in the 1000 and 1600 during. He set school records in the 1600 last year by running 4:20 in FCIAC Cross Country Champion.
Senior captain Kevin Sousa is another coming off of a solid cross country season and his momentum should carry over to the indoor season. Sousa looks set to contribute in the distance events and 4×800.
"He is another extremely versatile runner," said Kaczmarek of his All-Stater.
Captain, senior Kevin Knapp is an outstanding sprinter and looks to be relied on heavily in the 55 dash and sprint relays according to the coach, while senior Peter Watson comes off a good XC season and should put in a solid performance in the1600 and 3200.
There are rather a number of captains here, with the leadership continuing with senior captain James Carroll who Kaczmarek calls versatile and who can run anything from the 400 to the 1600. Mainly, though, he will be in the 4×800 and 1000. Last season he was All-State.
Plus DHS has senior Garrett Loeffelman is a middle distance specialist, leader of the 4×800 and All-State last year, senior Cam Webster with strong leg speed for a distance runner as an All-Stater, and junior Jake McCauley , the No. 2 distance runner on the team.
"He should have a breakout season," said Kaczmarek.
Both sprints and distance will be Darien’s ace cards in ’09. But DHS will need more than that to rope a state class gold again.
"We will rely heavily on our depth in the distance and sprint areas," said Kaczmarek. "Hopefully we can develop some of the jumpers in enough time to make an impact at States. We need to get hungry again for a state title. We can’t settle because we’ve won three of the last four years."
Motivation is all this season.
"We have to want it, that is my biggest concern," added Kaczmarek. "We cannot be a complacent team. Every team has the same goal when the season starts. We have to outwork everyone like we’ve done in the past.”
Last season worked out quite well with Darien finishing on top of the FCIAC Eastern Division, coming in sixth at the FCIAC Championship, and third in Class M.
Key additions: seniors, Stuart Austin at distance, Cam Bogie distance, Ethan Evans sprints, Nick Joosten sprints/throws, Rob Hendrickson distance, Kyle Wilson pole vault, Dean Coots pole vault, Pat Luongo distance.
Juniors: Jack Bushell sprints/jumps, Brent Eppley sprints, Sean Gill mid-distance/hurdles, Alex Reynoso distance, Willem Sandberg distance, Brandon Tripodi distance.
Sophomores: John Conley distance, Calder Billhardt jumps, Ben Burke sprints, Matt Gentile distance, Charlie Lacy sprints, David Watson distance, Austin Cockerill jumps.
Darien has a freshman flyer in Michael Johnston at distance.
"With the loss of only a few seniors from last year and a large senior class this year, the Blue Wave look to make some more noise on the Class M level," said Kaczmarek. "One of the top teams last year in the class, Darien placed third behind
Hillhouse and Ledyard. Hillhouse has since moved up to Class L. The main competition for the team title will come from Ledyard and Seymour. Darien will also be looking for its seventh straight FCIAC East title."
Willem Sandberg’s always winter ready, prepared to begin the indoor season for DHS boys track. (Darien Times/Scott Mullin photo)
What will get them their?"Leading the way in the sprint department are three seniors John Bolton, Alexi Bello and Kevin Knapp," said Kaczmarek. "Bolton has a raw ability. He has progressed perfectly over three years so far. Bello might be the most talented of the three having run 51 seconds for the 400 last year. Knapp looks to return to the form of his sophomore year when he ran 52 seconds in the 400.
"Adding depth to the sprint department is senior Nick Joosten who is looking to break his brothers 400 meter school record. Senior Ethan Evans will also contribute.
And the junior class provides additional depth behind Brent Eppley and Jack Bushell as well as the sophomore class with Ben Burke and Charlie Lacy.
"The distance corps is as solid as ever," said Kaczmarek. "The group is led by record setting senior Artem Skobrev. Skobrev broke the school records in both the indoor and outdoor 1600 while qualifying for New Englands both seasons. He was the
FCIAC Cross Country Champion this past fall when he also set two course records during the cross country season."
Skobrev, pretty much DHS’s premier runner over the past several years has lots of back-up, starting with Sousa, an All-State selection last year in the 4×800 as well as junior McCauley. McCauley should shatter personal bests in all distance events this season Kaczmarek thinks.
"The senior class continues to add depth with Peter Watson, Cam Bogie, Robert Hendrickson, all of whom have run at the State meet level in the past two years," Kaczmarek added. "Cam Webster, James Carroll and Garrett Loeffelman, all seniors, were also All-State selections in the 4×800 last year. The quartet looks to defend their relay title again this year."
The junior class provides depth from Brandon Tripodi and Alex Reynoso as well as Willem Sandberg and the sophomore class will have John Conley, Matt Gentile and David Watson.
"The jumping department has a major overhaul compared to last year — all new jumpers are on the team," said Kaczmarek. "Webster is the lone senior. The rest are led by sophomores Austin Cockerill and Calder Billhardt, both of whom have impressed the coaching staff the first two weeks of the season.
Bushell and a host of underclassmen will also add depth to the high jump and long jump. Pole vaulting will be led by experienced seniors Kyle Wilson and Dean Coots . Promising underclassmen include Colin Vanderhorn, Will DeRocco and Sam Bryant in that event.
Throwing events will be led by Bolton who tossed over 40 feet last year in the shot put. Fellow senior Loeffelman should help with depth as well as juniors Walker McKeough and Mike Miller . Multiple freshmen look to contribute here as well."