Torrington Indoor Track. Racing around the hallways at THS, impressing around the state.
TORRINGTON: They fly under the radar a bit. Or should I say they fly around the halls of Torrington High School like a blur?
Over the winter months when the weather outside is not fit for man nor runner (maybe this year was the exception) the Raiders indoor track team did their training work in the hallways or on the stairs but their damage at the meets they tended to impress at.
I call Indoor Track an orphan sport. Not because it has done anything to deserve such a title but because the sport itself never gets the proper credit or exposure it so truly deserves.
If anybody was wondering where the bulk of the talented athletes went in the winter, they just had to look to the hall where the team numbered more than 120 strong at the start of the season.
Head coach Mike Tyler, now in his twentieth season, still has the passion to put in the time it takes to keep his program one of the best in the state, year after year and it’s because of what he gets from his athletes that he is still having fun.
“The commitment level rivals all the old teams I have had,” Tyler said. “This is a great group, they work very, very hard. The have a common goal and its fun to watch them do what it takes to get there.”
The Raiders had one individual along with a team leave their mark at the highest level this past season.
Kobe Covington, an All-LCS team member a year ago for his work in indoor, is having another stellar season in 2016, having been crowned the Class M State Champion in the shot put and earned All-State status in the same event.
Covington threw the shot 47 feet, 11 inches this year and adds that to an impressive list of victories over his four year career in various sports at THS.
“You can’t say too much about Kobe,” Tyler said, “Look at the trail of accolades he’s been given this year. All-State in football all the way through to where he is now, the kid is just something else.”
Covington has become a vocal leader as he has gone through his years at THS, he was one of the undisputed leaders on the gridiron for a team that made a run into the Class L state playoffs and will be a prominent member of the baseball team this spring.
Four members of the 4 x 200 team also left a mark on the track (or hallways) this past year, three of them were standouts on the football team as well and brought that camaraderie to indoor as well.
Newton Frias, who has a tremendous campaign for head coach Gaitan Rodriguez on the gridiron, is joined by fellow football standouts Dylan Myrie, Ignacio (Iggy) Reynoso and Naseem Thompson on the relay team that ran deep into the post season this year.
What’s the key to a really good relay team?
“Chemistry.” Tyler said. “Obviously you have to have the talent but if you’re kids all get along well and have the same work ethic, you can do very well. All four of these kids have the same outstanding work ethic. You can tell them to do something and not one of them will try and get out of the work ethic. To get four kids with the level of talent that these kids do is very uncommon.”
A fifth member who spent time alternating between the 4 x 200 and the 4 x 400, Will Wilson, was also a key member of the squad and one Tyler could easily switch back and forth.
Thompson qualified for states in the 4 x200, 4 x 400, long jump and the 300 meter.
Frias made his mark in anything that featured lightning speed, including the 300 meter and the two relays as did Reynoso.
Myrie qualified in the 55 meter, the 4 x 200 and the long jump.
The four man team competed on February 28 at the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center in Boston and while they failed to move on from there, had an overall tremendous campaign, as did Covington who also threw in Boston.
On the girl’s side, Kara Baker, Ariano Santos (went to the states in the mile and two mile) and Aubry Toribio have been the staples on strong team, along with Gabrielle Vega.
“I try and treat the kids the way I want to be treated,” Tyler said. “You have to come down on them sometimes but if you treat them like the young adults that they are, they will do what you want.”
Whatever Tyler is doing, its working and he has the numbers and champions to prove it.