NEW HAVEN—On paper, all it took was 6.614 seconds for Christ N’Dabian to defend his South West Conference championship in the 55-meter dash.
In the real world, however, it took a year of hard work for the Bunnell High School senior sprinter to remain the fastest kid in the league.
N’Dabian led a charge of three Bulldogs in the top four spots in the event, highlighting Saturday night’s meet at the Floyd Little Athletic Center at Hillhouse High School.
“It means a lot,” N’Dabian said once the meet was over. “I did (win) last year, so I felt like I had to do it again this year.”
Behind its surge of sprinters and jumpers, the Bunnell boys placed sixth in the 12-team field with 30 points. The Bulldogs girls were seventh with 28 points.
“I think the kids did a great job today,” Bunnell coach Barb Poisson said. “They stepped up to the plate. They ran, they jumped. Hopefully we’ll have an even better report next week (during the state meet).”
Stratford scored 14 points in the girl meet and just one in the boys meet.
“Our girls team did a great job,” Stratford coach Mike Forget said. “Our boys team came up a little short, unfortunately. For the first time since I’ve been here, we don’t have any boys going to states. But our girls team did a great job.”
Weston swept the league championships with 110 points in the boy’s meet and 117 in the girls.
The Bulldogs amassed two-thirds of their points in the 55 as Alex Mosley placed third (6.73) and Marquise Lawrence took fourth (6.77).
“It’s a good thing to have all of us in the finals like that,” N’Dabian said. “It’s good for the team.”
All three were part of Bunnell’s 4×200 relay team—which was disqualified for a zone violation after being seeded fifth in the event.
“He just shook it off and moved on,” Poisson said. “Once the event was done, he regroups and focuses on the next event. He’s a great leader for this team. The kids look up to him because they see him do that.”
“After that, you just have to move on,” N’Dabian said. “We’ll go back to practice and hope it doesn’t happen again.”
Later in the evening, N’Dabian also placed fifth in the 300—an event he hasn’t run since his freshman year.
N’Dabian ran a 37.55 (his seed time was 39.54) to take home another medal and add two more points to Bunnell’s total.
“It’s really tough,” N’Dabian said. “I haven’t really done it since my freshman year. I don’t really know how to run it. I just did it because it’s my senior year. I thought I did pretty OK.”
The race of the day might have come from Stratford’s Elle Moshier in the girls’ half of the event.
Running in the next-to-last heat, Moshier, who was seeded sixth, blistered the field in her race and placed second overall with a time of 43.55. Her seed time was 44.47.
“It was really good, really nice,” Moshier said. “I was really nervous before I went, but I was really excited with how I ran. I just felt really good. I was shocked (I got second). We were jumping up and down. It felt really good.”
Forget said his standout sprinter—who had a rough 55 race and finished ninth—ran her best race of the season.
“She did a great job pacing herself throughout the whole race,” Forget said. “A lot of girls go out fast and die at the end, but we teach the opposite. Come out and slow and burn at the end.”
Moshier, a sophomore, also anchored the Red Devils’ 4×200 team to a fourth-place finish in 1:52.67. She was joined by Chi Chi Anekwe, Kelly Goddard, and Ava Buckmir.
Finishing one spot better than Stratford in that event was Bunnell, which ran a 1:52.35. Kaylah Phommachanh, Kesiri Gonzalez, Dardielle Exantus and Abby Williams made up the team.
Williams had the best day for the Bunnell girls, finishing second in the long jump and fourth in the 55 hurdles—a showing that her split emotionally.
“Abby was disappointed (in the long jump), but second isn’t shabby at all,” Poisson said. “She was fourth in the hurdles, which was a surprise.”
Williams was the top seed by almost a foot after her school-record leap of 17-6 earlier this indoor season.
It was only after she popped a 16-3 ½ on her final jump, however, that was she earned second place.
“I don’t know what went wrong,” Williams. “I jumped 15 and 14, which I haven’t done in a long time. The last jump, at least I got 16 to come in second. I feel good about the hurdles. That’s like my third-time ever doing hurdles. I’m starting to like it a lot. But the long jump is my event. I don’t know what went wrong.”
Other Bulldogs who earned points for their team were Jesone Khantikone, who was second in the long jump (19-11) and Phommachanh, who placed fifth in the 55 (7.74).
For Stratford, Anekwe was fifth in the girls long jump and the boys 4×800 relay team (Julian Pilla, Dominic Gomes, Elijah Brown, Elijah Henry) took sixth in 9:21.80.