Boys’ Track Team Leans On Distance Prowess

Led by a group of strong runners from the fall conference champion cross country team, Newtown High School’s boys’ outdoor track and field team is striving for some success this spring.

“That’s going to be a big plus,” Coach Dan McIlrath said of the wealth of talent overlap from cross country season. “They’re going to really help out and put some points on the board.”

Captains are distance runners Jake Feinstein, Mitch Russo, and Paul Mangiafico, along with sprinter Rob Russo, sprinter/thrower Anthony Paggett, and thrower Ralph Strocchia.

Other team members whom McIlrath expects contributions from are distance runner Nate Steinebray, Christopher Gamble, Joey Whelan, hurdlers Sam Boland and Kevin Gorman, and sprinters Jimmy Leidlein and Jason Ferrari.

“We have a small team compared to what we’ve had in the past, but the kids that are here are very dedicated, very talented,” McIlrath said.

Last spring, the Nighthawks placed third in the South-West Conference championships and were 11th in the Class LL state championships. The goals this year are to again finish among the top five in the SWC and to have as many team members as possible qualify for state competition, McIlrath said.

The coach expects strong competition from SWC foes Bunnell of Stratford and New Fairfield, last year’s one-two finishers, respectively.

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