Windsor boys, Bloomfield girls win State Open track titles; Copeland, Berry win individual races

NEW BRITAIN – Windsor’s Maxim Copeland and Taeshawn Berry go head-to-head all the time in track practice.

So it’s no surprise that the two Windsor seniors did the same thing during the state’s biggest track meets. Last week, both broke meet records in both the 200 and 400 in the Class L championships, with Copeland beating Berry both times by a slim margin.

Monday, it was more of the same at the State Open track and field championships at Willow Brook Park, except this time Berry edged Copeland for the 400 meter title and Copeland won the 200 meters.

“Honestly it’s pretty great,” Copeland said of the friendly rivalry. “Practice is way harder than the meets, I’ll tell you that. Way harder. Me and him, we bump heads every rep, every single rep. It doesn’t matter what we’re doing.”

Berry and Copeland finished in a dead heat in the 400-meter final, with Berry (47.432) barely edging out his teammate (47.440) for the win.

In the 200, it was reversed; Copeland won (21.18) and Berry was second (21.28).

“It’s a pleasure to have someone like Maxim to run with every day, at practice or races,” Berry said. “We’re always pushing each other to be the best. Off the track, he’s a good friend, our families are friends.

“It’s a very much friendly rivalry. We try to help the team.”

They did. After losing to Xavier by a a half point last week at the Class L championship, Windsor beat Xavier Monday, 84-58 to win the State Open team title.

“The kids performed better,” Windsor coach Kelvan Kearse said. “(Xavier) just outperformed us last week. We talked about it and said we can’t make any excuses.”

Windsor won the indoor State Open title as well.

“We all have one goal, to win this whole thing,” Copeland said. “Our coach tells us, ‘I don’t care who wins (the race), just go 1-2.’ We do that, our job’s done.”

Copeland thought he had the 400; that’s how close it was.

“He sniped me in the 400,” Copeland said. “That’s my dog, though. It’s all love. I thought I won. I saw him in the corner of my eye – ‘Here he goes. Here he goes.’ I had to bump it up a little more. It just came down to who got (over the line) first.”

“I didn’t know who won,” Berry said. “The last 100, I saw him and I’m like, ‘I can go get you,’ and I went and I got him. He got me (in the 200). It’s all for the team, though.”

Last year, Berry said, the two teammates went back and forth in races, but Copeland has stepped it up to another level this outdoor season.

“I would say he’s better, but I just like to fight,” Berry said. “I’m just very competitive and I try to stay with him. I know he’s going to help me as much as I’m going to help him.”

Windsor’s 4×100 relay team set a State Open record (41.16) and the 4×400 relay also won in 3:19.06. Jovonni Reynolds, a runner-up in the 300 hurdles, went under the State Open record, finishing in 37.58.

Bloomfield girls win title

The Bloomfield girls defended their State Open title, scoring 90 points to runner-up Windsor’s 48.

“It was definitely ups and downs through the whole season with injuries and other issues with the team but we always find a way to persevere,” said Bloomfield junior Kiylah Williams, who was second in the 400 to her teammate Jahniya Barclay and helped the 4×400 relay win to cap off the championship. “We just to carry that momentum from last year to this year. We have a young team, only two seniors.

“We’ll be back next year, too, definitely be back to win again.”

Barclay was a double winner, taking the 200 title (24.52) as Bloomfield swept the top three places (Sianna Lloyd was second and Nacquelia Fletcher third).

Southington’s Williams DQed after win

Southington’s Rashard Williams, who won the long jump Monday at the State Open, was disqualified after it was discovered that he was ineligible to compete, according to Southington athletic director Steve Risser. “He didn’t travel with the team, and he basically competed without our knowledge,” Risser said. “He was told not to and he went anyways. All I can tell you is he was ineligible to compete.”

Coach Nick Migani didn’t want to comment on what happened.

“I’m just trying to do my best for the team,” he said.

Katie Bohlke doubles again

Katie Bohlke of Newington broke the State Open record to win the 1,600 meter title (4:47.83) and then kicked her way to a 3,200 meter championship in 10:26.44. Bohlke was a double winner at the Class LL meet and broke the meet record for the 1,600 there as well.

East Hartford’s Stewart wins long jump title

East Hartford senior Keira Stewart won the long jump in a State Open record 19 feet, 9 inches. It was her first outdoor title after winning the indoor title over the winter. “It was hard today,” she said. “Coming into finals, I wasn’t first so I had to lock in and do what I needed to do and trust in my coaching.” Stewart got the winning jump in her second to last jump. She was one inch shy of her personal best. Stewart broke a meet record set in 2004 by Branford’s Tahari James (19-8). … Windsor’s Kareema McKenzie broke her own state 300 meter hurdle record again, winning in 42.02, which was also a State Open record. … Xavier’s Samuel Forte was a double winner in the 110 hurdles (13.80) and he set a State Open record in the 300 hurdles (37.58).