INDOOR TRACK: Maloney history made as Benigni captures 1000 meters at State Open; silvers for Spartans’ Murphy & Sheehan’s 4×200 – Meriden Record-Journal

NEW HAVEN — Maloney indoor track and field coach Don Askew has been saying all season, “Watch out for my girls at states.”

The veteran coach was proven right as the Spartans captured their first-ever State Open championship in Maloney track history on Saturday at the Floyd Little Athletic Center.

Sophomore Bria Benigni did it in the 1,000 meters in come-from-behind fashion.

Benigni entered the race as the No. 5 seed with the goal of making the Top 6 to qualify for the New England Championships. She hung in the middle of the pack until the final lap. Then, in the final 100 meters, she made her move and crossed the finish line first in 2:59.56.

“My heart is still racing,” Askew said moments after the race. “Maloney coudn’t have had a better day. I’m on top of the world right now. She’s the first ever State Open champion indoor or outdoor in program history.”

Askew credited his Maloney assistant coach, Derek Destefano, for getting Benigni prepared.

“Derek was planning every aspect of that race down to the second on each lap and Bria executed,” Askew said. “She ran a perfect race. She didn’t go out too fast and she stuck to her plan and she just has an amazing kick.

“When that bell sounded for the last lap, Bria does what Bria does. She was looking to show that she’s the best out here and she was going to show it.”

On the last lap, Benigni started her kick at the 175-meter mark and ran down second-place finisher Olivia Birney of Simsbury in the final 15 meters. Birney crossed in 3.00.66.

“It feels amazing. A lot of hard work has paid off,” said Benigni, who chalks up her strong finishing kick to being a soccer player and a lot of sprinting practice. “There was a few girls in front of me and I just gave it my all at the end. I would have been happy just to make it to New England’s, but this is really special for me. I want to do everything I can to help get Maloney track out there more.”

Another big highlight for the Spartans was junior Shaelyn Murphy taking second in the high jump at 5 feet, 2 inches. It matched her personal best and came on her first attempt.

“It’s the greatest feeling in the whole world,” said Murphy, who was second last week in Class L at 5 feet. “I didn’t expect to accomplish this at State Opens, but I was confident today and I was very proud.

“I wasn’t happy with my performance at the state meet,” Murphy added. “Today I got my PR and I was close to getting 5-4. The whole season has been very good. I didn’t think I was going to make New England’s, but I came in with a good mindset and did what I had to do.

“This was very big, just a great moment and it feels amazing.”

Bloomfield’s D’Jior Delisser was the state champion at 5-4. She got it on her last attempt. Had she failed that attempt, Murphy would have won the state crown because she earned 5-2 on her first attempt.

“She’s amazing,” Askew said. “When she jumps, I call it the ‘Shaelyn Pop.’ She has a natural bounce to her and I could see that she was on today. She didn’t have a miss until 5-4. …….

Source: https://www.myrecordjournal.com/Sports/Meriden-Sports/State-Open-track-in-New-Haven

NEW HAVEN — Maloney indoor track and field coach Don Askew has been saying all season, “Watch out for my girls at states.”

The veteran coach was proven right as the Spartans captured their first-ever State Open championship in Maloney track history on Saturday at the Floyd Little Athletic Center.

Sophomore Bria Benigni did it in the 1,000 meters in come-from-behind fashion.

Benigni entered the race as the No. 5 seed with the goal of making the Top 6 to qualify for the New England Championships. She hung in the middle of the pack until the final lap. Then, in the final 100 meters, she made her move and crossed the finish line first in 2:59.56.

“My…….

NEW HAVEN — Maloney indoor track and field coach Don Askew has been saying all season, “Watch out for my girls at states.”

The veteran coach was proven right as the Spartans captured their first-ever State Open championship in Maloney track history on Saturday at the Floyd Little Athletic Center.

Sophomore Bria Benigni did it in the 1,000 meters in come-from-behind fashion.

Benigni entered the race as the No. 5 seed with the goal of making the Top 6 to qualify for the New England Championships. She hung in the middle of the pack until the final lap. Then, in the final 100 meters, she made her move and crossed the finish line first in 2:59.56.

“My…….

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