The regular season may still be a few days away, but Ridgefield High boys outdoor track and field coach Bryan Kovalsky already knows his team has something working in its favor.
“We have 108 athletes,” said Kovalsky, whose team opens the season today at home against Stamford. “I think that in the state only Danbury has more.
“The numbers challenge us to compete with the best teams,” added Kovalsky. “With hard work and a lot of motivation, we are getting to the point where we can.”
Ridgefield’s impressive corps of middle-distance and distance runners should lead the team.
“Trevor Hopper, Kristian Sogaard and Clint Corso have All-State potential in the 1,600 and 3,200,” said Kovalsky. “We have a freshman, Gabe Altopp, who could assert himself as one of the better distance runners in the state. Captain Richard Duffy has the confidence to improve markedly. Our New England [indoor] runner-up 4×800 team of Tom Guillaume, McCall Keller, Will Bordash and Graeme Hewett now know that they can have individual success. It will be exciting to see them branch out this season.”
Another key returnee is James Barile, who was fifth in the 300-meter hurdles at last year’s FCIAC championship meet.
“James Barile will hopefully show that he is one of the most versatile athletes in the state,” said Kovalsky. “He could contend for points at the State Open in the 300 hurdles, the long jump, and the triple jump.”
Jack Keating looks to be Ridgefield’s top performer in the 400-meter dash, with Andrew Franco and Oliver Jones also expected to contribute.
The healthy roster numbers should also have a trickle-over effect into the field events, which are often not a strength for the Tigers.
“We have over 30 throwers on the team, which is incredible,” said Kovalsky. “Captains Joe Alvarez and Matt Lusardi set a great tone. They keep everyone focused and should be a force in the championship meets. We also expect big things from Lucas Goff in the shot put and Chris Rossini in the javelin.”
Notes: Ridgefield finished seventh at the conference championships and 20th at the Class LL state meet last spring.
The Tigers’ biggest graduation loss is Ben O’Regan, who was third in both the 1,600 and the 3,200 at last year’s FCIAC meet.
Hopper was fifth and Sogaard seventh in the 3,200 at FCIACs last season. Hopper finished eighth in the event at the Class LL championship.
Barile placed seventh in the 300 hurdles at the Class LL meet.