WILTON, Conn. -- Connecticut Elite Track and Field Club from Wilton created a buzz at the Region 1 Junior Olympic Championships at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., last Sunday.
The young women's 4x100 team shot for a sub-50 relay after running 50.52 to win the state competition in June in New Britain, Conn. Wilton runners Kafesha Thomas , Taylor Gillespie and Margo Foley , along with Westport's Kelley Hussey, ran to a winning time of 50.27 and just missed their goal.
The team also created buzz for beating the Nitehawks boys team -- from Wayland, Mass. -- by almost a full second. The crowd stood up and cheered as the girls led from the first hand-off through the finish line.
"It was electric in that stadium and the girls were nearly flawless," Coach Kevin Foley said. This is the second time the CT Elite girls have won a championship and bettered the boys division. The team won last year at the Long Island championship.
"They were instant celebrities in the RPI stadium, and coaches, fans and officials were high-fiving them. We were all thrilled for them,'' Foley said. The only ones who were not thrilled were the Nitehawks, as the girls beat them through the exchanges. "Their speed is one factor but their precision makes a big, big difference," said Foley.
Individually, the girls did equally as well with Hussey earning a berth in the national meet with gold in the 100M (13.1) and Thomas earning silver in the 200M with a new personal record of 26.09.
"Kelley has only practiced for a few weeks and her time at this point is good although nowhere near her best," Foley said
Thomas earned her way into the national meet with her personal record time. Thomas was out to break 26 in the 200M and narrowly missed her goal. "She will break 26, I have no doubt about it and it will be soon," said Foley.
Margo Foley took fourth in the 100M with a time of 13.39 and earned another spot in the national meet. Gillespie just missed a berth, finishing sixth with a time of 13.77. Gillespie followed up her 100M performance with another sixth in the 400M. She has often run the lead leg in the 4x400 relay for the Wilton High School team.
Foley placed seventh behind Gillespie in the 400, with a time of 64.03 --.4 better than her time at the state meet. She is relatively new to the 400, having only run the event three times in the last year. "Margo gets better every time she runs the 400 and will most likely run the 200/400 next year in college," said Foley.
The Region 1 Junior Olympic Championship included clubs from seven Northeast states, from New Jersey to Maine. The national meet, which the Wilton team is unlikely to attend, begins on July 26 Wichita, Kan.
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