NEW LONDON — Stonington High came agonizingly close to bringing home a pair of ECC Division II indoor track championships for the second straight season Saturday at the Coast Guard Academy.
The boys team earned its third straight title, compiling 136 points, which were 56 ahead of Ledyard (80). But the girls team came up short when its 4x400 relay team was disqualified in the final event.
Stonington trailed Montville, 108-106, before the final race. And it seemed the two teams might end in a tie and share the title when Stonington's Jessica Detwiler appeared to hold off Montville's Alexandra Peck at the line for second place in the race.
It was too close to call, and everyone at the Coast Guard Academy waited for the official results to come up on a large video screen near the finish line.
But the Bears were disqualified when the results were posted, and Montville earned the title, 116-106. A Stonington team member ran beside Detwiler along a portion of the final straightaway as the race ended. She was not in a lane, but too close to one.
"We had a girl that ran inside, up the track and actually ran in front of the camera [at the finish line]. She was urging on her teammate, encouraging her," Stonington coach Ben Bowne said.
The action, which was deemed to be pacing, is not allowed and led to the disqualification.
"Both teams, I'm really proud of them," Bowne said. "Everyone came in and competed really, really well. A lot ran their season's best or a PR."
Stonington's Rhys Hammond won two events (1,000, 2:36.21; 1,600, 4:49.24) for the boys.
"I was trying to do what I could for the team, get as many points as possible," he said.
The times were not Hammond's best of the season as the day was more about results and not performances.
"I want to run as fast as I have all season next week [at the Class M meet]," Hammond said.
Joey Hinckley finished first in the the pole vault (12-6) and the 300 (36.85). Hinckley's opening height was 12-6. All of the other competitors were done and all he had to do was clear the height once to win.
Hinckley, who has jumped 13-6 this season, only cleared 12-6 on his final attempt.
"I think I was just freaking out because of the meet, just nervous," Hinckley said.
Hinckley hopes to clear a school-record 14 feet at the Class M or the Open meet later this season.
Stonington won all four relays.
Martin Vernet, Graham Johnstone, Chase Flynn and Sam Inthasit finished first in the 1,600 sprint medley (3:26.57).
Hammer Castagliuolo, Max Wojtas, Nathan Gonzalez and Lucas Huesman won the 4x720 (7:58.01).
Ben Abely, Vernet, Johnstone and Hinckley took first in the 4x180 (1:24.46).
Castagliuolo, Ethan Allen-Fernandez, Chase Flynn and Hammond won the 4x400 (3:40.77).
Flynn also contributed a first in the 600 (1:24.47). Abely was also second in the 55 dash (6.80) and third in the 300 (38.31).
Greyson DelGrosso finished third in the shot put (49-0), as did Phoenix Glaza in the high jump (5-4).
For the girls, Lindsey Orr finished first in the 1,600 (5:21.46) and second in the 3,200 (12:29.02).
"I feel like I gave it my all," Orr said. "Everyone is so dedicated to track [on the team]. And everyone is so supportive."
Orr said the sport has been a great help to her.
"I was so, so shy as a freshman. Track was where I was really confident. For the first time, I really found my place. It really helped my transition to high school," Orr said.
Keegan Donohue finished first in the pole vault (8-6).
Megan Detwiler finished second in the 600 (1:44.77). Third-place finishers were Rachel Sabbadini (3:20.34), Jessica Detwiler (600, 1:46.72), Alex Jefson (55 hurdles, 9.30) and Lindsey Labbe (pole vault, 7-0).
Gwen Andersen, Vanessa Benjamin, Donohue and Jefson finished third in the 4x180 relay (1:40.36). Holly Foster, Corinne Steeno, Julia Rich and Emma Small placed third in the 4x720 (9:37.03).
Kaleigh Bolduc, Jefson, Jessica Detwiler and Sabbadini finished third in the 1,440 sprint medley (4:07.87).
Both teams will compete in the Class M meet on Saturday at the Floyd Little Athletic Center in New Haven at 10 a.m.