RIDGEFIELD, Conn. – The Ridgefield High School’s boys track and field team improved every step of the way with its 4 x 800 relay team during the indoor season. But the Tigers saved their best for last.
Tom Guillaume, Will Bordash, Graeme Hewett and McCall Keller won the State Open and finished second in New England. They were named The Ridgefield Daily Voice Athletes of the Month for their accomplishments.
The quartet ran a school record 7:57.79 on Saturday at the New England Indoor Championships to break a school record that had stood since 2006. At the State Open, the relay was clocked in 8:09.3.
In the Class LL meet, Ridgefield won with Richard Duffy, Keller, Trevor Hopper and Hewett in 8:12.87. The relay team’s finish at New Englands ranks 22nd in the country and is the first time a Ridgefield team has run under 8 minutes indoors.
“They always rose to the occasion,’’ Ridgefield coach Bryan Kovalsky said. “I thought, realistically, we’d be fourth to sixth in New England. I always have a wide range of expectations. I thought they could run any where from 7:57 to 8:10. This was on the unlikely range, but I’m glad they did it.”
Ridgefield’s relay improvement is impressive considering the conditions in February. While many teams had trouble improving due to inconsistent training brought on by weather, the Tigers adjusted.
“One of the things we had in our mind was during the hurricane in October, we didn’t run as well in the State Open as we would’ve liked,’’ Kovalsky said. “This time we thought we’ve been through this before. We worked out hard the day before the storm, and then the meet was canceled. We actually guessed right. We took some chances, and it worked out. We’ve been on the track the whole time, except for one day where we had to run on a dirt road.”
Ridgefield’s school record in the event is 7:54, which was run outdoors. That time is also the state record. The Tigers will get a chance to take down the mark at the New Balance Indoor Nationals on Friday in New York.
“This has been sort of like a whirlwind for me,’’ Kovalsky said. “This time last year I didn’t understand that eight minutes was a barrier. You need to almost change your whole perception about what fast. The good thing about them is they’re not timid.”