Staples won two relays at the State Open indoor track and field meet two weeks ago in New Haven. But the stakes are even higher for the Wreckers on Friday night.
Staples is seeded third in the 4x400 and sixth in the 4x800 for the meet, which will be held at the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center in Boston. Coach Laddie Lawrence expects both relays will contend for medals.
"They ran well at the State Open, but we were thinking beyond that meet,'' Lawrence said. "We're going to concentrate on both of them."
The 4x400 with Jonathan Heil, Jack Roche, Sean Gallagher and Raphael Ray won the outdoor championship last summer. The relay team ran 3:24.9 in the Yale Invitational in February and is seeded behind Mansfield, Mass., and Somerville, Mass. The Wreckers have the 26th fastest time in the nation, according to national rankings on DyeStat.com
"There are no guarantees,'' Lawrence said. "We've had a few little problems with injuries this year. The Massachusetts teams are very good. The competition will be very good in that event."
The 4x800 team includes Walker Marsh, Roche, Jeff Caffery and Henry Wynne. Staples enters the race with a seeded time of 8:06.56 and is ranked 44th in the nation. One of the Wreckers' chief challengers will be Hamden, which finished second in the State Open just 0.15 seconds behind.
"We've run faster than what I thought we would run,'' Lawrence said. "The past two times they've run splendidly." One of the keys for Staples has been Wynne, a sophomore, who ran 2:00.5 for his split at the State Open. He also ran a 1:59.5 for 800 in a sprint medley relay leg. "He's got good strength and speed, and the others sure are performing well, too,'' Lawrence said. Ray will also race in the 600 meters for Staples.
The Wreckers will take those teams and the 4x200 relay team to the New Balance Indoor Nationals in New York City later this month. Staples is coming off a terrific State Open when it finished to second, just nine points behind Danbury. "We lost Chris Coyne with an injury, and he was 45-foot shot-putter who could have got us some points,'' Lawrence said. "Ben Aldrich missed the season with mono, and he's a strong distance runner. If either of those things don't happen, who knows?"
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