EAST LYME — Stonington High's Rhys Hammond is always highly motivated to perform when he steps to the line for the boys track team.
But on Monday during the ECC championship meet at East Lyme, he had an extra dose of drive when he took to the track for the 800 race.
Earlier in the meet, Hammond appeared to finish second to East Lyme's Sam Whittaker in the 1,600. Hammond had stayed on Whittaker's shoulder for most of the race.
But the East Lyme runner pulled away in the final 300 to win, and, a few minutes later, Hammond was disqualified when a judge said he had crossed the inside line of the track on four consecutive steps in the final stages of the race.
When Hammond was asked if the DQ gave him extra motivation, his response was quick.
"Absolutely," he responded.
Hammond went out and took first in the 800 in 1:56.80, winning by just under three seconds. He was well ahead most of the race.
"I really don't know what happened. It was really unfortunate," Hammond said of the DQ. "I just had to deal with it, be resilient. My coach told me to be resilient and that is what I was working on in the 800, trying to prove myself."
Hammond was the only ECC individual champion for the Bears. Stonington finished seventh in the team standings with 55 points. NFA was first with 116.5.
Ben Abely finished fourth in both the 100 (11.68) and the 200 (23.06). Joey Hinckley placed second in the pole vault (12-0), and George Limberakis was sixth (11-0). Hinckley also finished eighth in the 400 (53.16)
Freshman Sam Montalto was third in the 400 (51.84).
Montalto, one of the top players on the soccer team, qualified for the freshman nationals with his time.
"I didn't start out in the 400, I started as a 100 guy, but my coach said I needed to try longer distances because I played soccer," Montalto said. "So I tried the 400 and it turned into my event."
Robert Lewis placed seventh in the 300 hurdles (42.71).
The 4x100 relay team of Sam Inthasit, Abely, Martin Vernet and Justin McKenna was third (44.37).
The 4x400 relay team of Hinckley, Montalto, McKenna and Hammond placed third 3:30.72.
David Wing was seventh in the javelin (137-4), and Jacob Davis eighth (136-6).
Bears place fifth
Junior sprinter Gwen Andersen finished second in the 200 and fourth in the 100, helping the Bears to a fifth-place finish in the girls ECC championships.
Andersen turned in a time of 27.30 in the 200 and 13.28 in the 100.
Stonington compiled 53.5 points. Norwich Free Academy was first with 119.
The 4x800 relay team of Lindsey Orr, Keegan Donohue, Jessica Detwiler and Emma Small finished first in 10:09.76.
Kaleigh Bolduc was fifth in the 300 hurdles (50.69) and sixth in the 100 hurdles (17.15). Elena Korinek was eighth in the 300 hurdles (51.93).
Lila Rich placed third in the pole vault, clearing 9-6. Keegan Donohue finished tied for sixth (8-0).
Orr contributed a sixth in the 1,600 (5:46.50).
Vanessa Benjamin finished eighth in the 400 (1:05.11), as did Detwiler in the 800 (2:35.96).
Stonington's 4x400 relay team of Donohue, Small, Benjamin and Detwiler was sixth (4:23.58).
The 4x100 team of Nancy Inthasit, Andersen, Lucy Sternberg and Benjamin placed third (51.36).