One of the most highly anticipated races at Saturday's State Open track and field championships will be the boys 3,200 meters. Weston's Stephen Vento figures to be right in the middle of the fight for first.
Vento comes into the race with the eighth fastest time, 9:52.81. He has however, run faster, including a time of 9:44.8 when he was unchallenged in winning the race at the South-West Conference championships. Vento also has the fastest 2-mile time in the state (and 15th in the country), a 9:36.33 at the Bishop Loughlin Games in December. Two miles is only 19 meters longer than 3,200 meters.
Fairfield Prep's Connor Rog (9:36.66) and Fairfield Warde's Harry Warnick (9:44.22) are the top two seeds in the race. Other runners could also be race factors, but one advantage Vento has is incentive.
During the cross-country season, Vento hurt his Achilles during the conference championships. He ran at the Class SS and State Open meets but was affected by the injury. He finished 11th in Class SS and 26th in the State Open.
"Definitely, cross country was a big upset,'' Vento said. "Going through the season, my goal was to finish in the Top 10 at the State Open. I've been able to use my cross-country training to help me through this winter. I've been using this winter season for redemption."
Vento finished third in the 1,000 at the Class S indoor championships last week and came back to win the 3,200 in 9:52.81. He was unchallenged until the final 50meters, when Shepaug Valley's Andy Pullaro surged late.
Weston coach Matt Medve said he was unsure whether Vento would race in any events before the 3,200. "My goal is the low 9:20s,'' Vento said. "Hopefully, I can win it."
Who do think will win the 3,200 at Saturday's State Open track and field championships?
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