WILTON, Conn. -- Five Wilton Running Club athletes qualified for the U.S.A. National Track and Field Championships this past weekend in the Region 1 Championships at Fitchburg, Mass.
Angela Saidman led the way for Wilton with wins in the 800 and 1,500 in the 13-14-year-old age group. Ashley Nicoletti, Amanda Deenihan, Sean McHale and Jack Griffith also qualified for the national meet, which will be held in Humble, Texas, beginning July 21.
Saidman won her races with personal best times of 2:23.16 in the 800 and 4:56.92 in the 1,500. "Angela is no stranger to a championship environment and she stepped it up a notch this weekend by running two beautiful races,'' coach Mary Zengo said.
Saidman has been to the last three national championships in both track and cross country.
Nicoletti also qualified in two events, 9-10-year-old 100 meters and 200 meters. Nicoletti finished third in the 100 in 14.31 and fifth in the 200 in 30.59.
"Ashley had a goal to qualify in both events and worked hard all season with this goal in mind. I am very proud of her and happy she is going to the nationals,'' coach Kevin Foley said.
Deenihan, of Stamford, qualified in the 13-14-year-old 200-meter hurdles with a fourth place time of 32.47. Deenihan competed on Friday in the 13-14 pentathlon, placing third in a one-day multi-event, which includes the 100 meter hurdles, long jump, shot put, high jump and 800.
"Amanda is an exceptional athlete,'' Foley said. "She just missed out on qualifying for the Pentathlon by seven seconds in the 800 on Friday and came back on Saturday to place fourth in the 200 hurdles and qualify for nationals and also made the final in the 100. She was pretty amazing."
McHale of Redding, qualified in the 11-12 year old 1500 in a time of 5:12:03. "Sean just keeps getting better and better each week '' Zengo said.
Griffith qualified for the national meet in the 13-14 discus with a personal record throw of 75 feet 5 inches. "We do not start throw practices until early June so Jack has only be throwing the discus, javelin and shot put for about five weeks. In the last two weeks he added 15 feet to both his discus and javelin. That is quite remarkable,'' Foley said.
The USATF Region 1 meet is comprised of teams from New York City, upstate New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine. Athletes must qualify in their state meet to compete in the region meet.
Wilton Running Club qualified 18 athletes for the meet and 15 competed. Additional sprinters and jumpers who participated in the region meet were: Sam Wright, Kyle Dobson, Jason Welch, Alex Brichkowskit, Tatum Kelly, Lily Kealy and John Wise. Distance runners who competed included Flynn Crowther, Joey Bevilacqua and Tyler Zengo.