BL Championships: A smooth run
BL Championships: A smooth run
LITCHFIELD – It was a day to live and breathe deep breaths. It was a day to pat Mother Nature on the back and say nice job. It was a day to run and jump, throw and work up a healthy sweat, too.
The Berkshire League held its track and field championships Saturday at the plush Plumb Hill complex in glorious sun-drenched conditions. This is the biggest event the BL stages every year with all 10 schools and 400 or so competitors, give or take a few hurdlers and pole vaulters on hand.
On a day like this one the event is a kaleidoscope of color with Wamogo’s red, Thomaston’s yellow, the overpowering dominance of the blues (about half the league), Terryville’s black and orange. It was one of those days that puts a smile on your face.
This is no Memorial Day picnic to orchestrate, not with this many athletes and 30 events to wind through. But it goes as smooth as a one-year-old’s bottom, at least this year. Litchfield A.D. Kyle Weaver was in the director’s chair for the second year in a row.
This time around it was cake. Last year, well, Mother Nature kind of unloaded on the rookie and the event.
“We had rain, thunder and lightning,” said Weaver. “It was 6:00 before we got out of there.”
If Mother Nature was in an earn-your-spurs mood last year, she was a delightful companion this time around. The biggest hitch was a shortage of ribbons in one event when there was a four-way tie. Other than that, the biggest concern was would the coaches make it home for date night and would the Litchfield, Thomaston and Lewis Mills athletes have enough time to get ready for their respective proms.
The job was made easier by some familiar faces of continuity. The first voice you heard in the Litchfield Middle School parking lot long before even seeing the Plumb Hill Complex was that of Brent Hawkins doing the announcing. Hawk also coaches the Litchfield team and in three weeks will take his customary position as the voice of the Litchfield Hills Road Race. Hawk brings experience, knowledge and a comfort level.
Just for the record, Hawk was rather conservative in dress Saturday as he stood high upon on his podium on the inside of the track. The duke of dress, the earl of attire sported a shirt hosting a bunch of cockatoos or parrots or something exotic like that. But, it was a far cry from his LHRR attire which includes festive plumage and a decidedly bright slap at any kind or color coordination.
Venerable Dave Driscoll was on the track coordinating races. Running hasn’t had a greater friend in this area for the last 40 years than Driscoll. He has been around a while. He was on the wait list for the Last Supper and was doing a quick cool down run as Lincoln headed to the theatre. He knows his stuff.
Tony Crow does a number of behind the scenes. The Plumb Hill facilities manager has been around the longest and helps Hawkins coach his Cowboys. His presence is invaluable for Weaver and the event.
With the foundation in place, Weaver had everything else under control. Heck, he was even able to go to a doctor’s appointment for a while and leave things under the guidance of Wamogo A.D. Roberto Medic. Medic wasn’t exactly looking for oxygen because of the work load.
According to Weaver the toughest part of the day is shopping around to get a good timing company. Former Shepaug star runner, Mike Hall had the timing well under control.
Each school responsible is for getting the officials for one event. Weaver has made sure the schools have had the same event for the last two years, making it easier to manage.
Getting the coaches together isn’t always easy, but they met early in the season to iron out the wrinkles.
“Something always comes up, but this year; knock on wood,” said Weaver who was gearing up for his Tri-State League baseball opener against Wolcott on Sunday.
Weaver was at the Plumb Hill facility at 7:30 getting the signs, ribbons and all together. By just a little after 2 p.m. tents were being broken down and the crowd was filing out.
There were great performances, champions crowned and a delightfully smooth flow to the day. There were big smiles to be found in abundance. Former Wamogo A.D. Mary Stolle looked resplendent in red as did Thomaston coach Mark Olsen in his Panamanian hat. Shepaug’s Tom Scarola was his usual effervescent self.
Putting on a 400-athlete, 30 event spectacle is no easy task. But, this was a great day all the way around. Nice job to all involved from athletes to coaches, event organizers and Weaver. Even Mother Nature gets applauded for this one.