New Britain's Jarrett makes program history, wins state heptathlon

Published on Wednesday, 12 June 2019 21:04


MANCHESTER - Prior to the 800 meter run, the final event of Wednesday’s girls heptathlon, Darwin Shaw told Raven-Symone Jarrett she needed to beat St. Joseph’s Nia Christine by about 1.5 seconds to become the first New Britain female athlete to ever win the event.

That was the extent of the New Britain girls track coach’s pep talk. There was nothing left to tell Jarrett. No instructions, just a reminder of what she needed to accomplish her goal.

“The rest is all heart,” Shaw said before the race. “And trusting the training you’ve had all year.”

Jarrett ran shoulder-to-shoulder with Christine through the first 400 meters, then increased her stride before bursting out into a sprint for the final 200 meters, creating plenty of separation and beating Christine by 14 seconds to make Hurricanes history.

The New Britain junior entered the day leading the heptathlon with 2,582 total points.

“It felt like a blessing come true,” Jarrett said, proudly sporting a first-place medal around her neck. “I never heard of this event before this season, but since my coach believed in me, I believed in myself. He was my motivation to keep going. It’s such a blessing to be here and to be able to win.”

Not only had Jarrett not heard of the heptathlon before this season, she hadn’t spent much time practicing two of the events before Tuesday’s competition began. Still, she was able to post respectable scores in her weaker events while thriving in the 110-meter hurdles and securing a sixth-place finish in the javelin, another event that she had limited experience in before the heptathlon began.

“The shot put and the javelin, we started [practicing] those on Monday,” Shaw said. “She practiced for maybe 30 minutes. But she’s got such a big heart and is such a competitor.”

Jarrett’s friend and schoolmate Chaz Williams ended the boys decathlon on a high note, finishing in fifth place in the 1500-meter run to end the event in 16th-place overall as the lone New Britain representative.

There were 37 athletes remaining when Wednesday’s action began.

“It was a good way to end the season,” Williams said. “Cross country prepared me a lot for this. I’m just grateful to end my season with a bang. I worked hard all season. All these guys here deserved to be here and deserve the results they’re getting.”

One of those other competitors was Plainville’s John Siani, who finished in 21st place despite lagging through a second day of events that weren’t the senior’s specialty. He ended his day strong, however, coming in eighth place in the 1500.

“It definitely wasn’t as good as yesterday,” Siani said after ending the first day of competition in the top-20. “Hurdles and discus went OK, but the pole vault was disappointing. I didn’t get an opening height, but you can’t do good in everything.”

Innovation’s Aaliyah Walker experienced a similar challenge in the girls heptathlon. Primarily a triple jumper, Walker recorded an eighth-place finish in the long jump before battling through the javelin and 800-meter run to end the day.

Walker ended the competition, and her career with the Ravens, in 16th place out of 32 athletes who made it to day two.

“It definitely went better [than Tuesday],” Walker said. “I didn’t run all season, so I was hoping to get less than three minutes [in the 800], which I got, so I was happy.”

Southington’s Sebastian Maslinski was happy with his finish in the boys 2000-meter steeplechase, coming in 37th place with a time of 7:48.57, his best finish of the season after competing in two other steeplechase events this year.

His finish topped all other Blue Knights finishers in the event with seven other Southington runners competed.

“It was good,” Maslinski said. “I sort of just spaced out and was in the zone. This was a nice way to finish out the year. It was for sure my best time of the year.”

In the 3000-meter steeplechase, Innovation’s A.J. Corso finished in 23rd place with a time of 11:00.32, but used a late burst through the final 100 meters to improve his place by two spots, finishing between Berlin’s Michael Parzcych (11th place) and Joshua Ladd (32nd place).

“I was like, ‘this is my last high school race and I got nothing left,’” Corso said of his late surge. “So I might as well just give it everything I had.”

Ryan Chichester can be reached at (860) 801-5094 or

Posted in New Britain Herald, Berlin, Innovation, New Britain, Plainville, Southington on Wednesday, 12 June 2019 21:04. Updated: Wednesday, 12 June 2019 21:07.