On paper, the CIAC Indoor Track & Field Open Championship results might be easy to predict. The start lists have been posted and most of the athletes just showed off what they can do on the track within the last week at the divisional championships. Along with that, as mentioned on the CIACcast preview of the divisional meet the track & field championships at times are dominated by the same familiar faces, including the Bloomfield girls squad recently extended run of seven-straight Class S titles. So what could possibly be unexpected or surprising for this weekend’s Open Championship? Well it turns out that in this seemingly most predictable of competitions has in recent years seen more parity than in its history.
Seven consecutive years on the girls side, a different school has been crowned as champion as the Open champions. Four consecutive boys Open meets have concluded with a different team hoisting the championship plaque. The current run of seven different champions in the girls meet is the longest stretch of different schools earning that hardware since the competition began in 1989, and in fact is two years longer than the next longest stretch. Seven schools in seven years is unprecedented in girls indoor track and field and is in fact already two years longer than the previous longest stretch.
From 1993-1997 five different schools captured the girls Open title before New Canaan repeated in 1998. Then again from 2001 to 2005 five different schools ran to the championship before Weaver won three-straight crowns in 2005, 2006, and 2007. That marked the last time any team has earned consecutive girls Open championships which is a streak that Tolland, fresh off a third-consecutive Class M championship, will be looking to halt after winning the Open a year ago.
The parity has not been quite as extensive on the boys side but it is a mostly unusual bit of diversity among the champions. The run of four-straight years with a different Open champion matches the second-longest in the history of the event, bested only by the first nine years of the championship in which 10 different schools (one year featured a tie) came away with the title. There was also a four-year run recently from 2010-2013 before Danbury captured the title in 2014. The Hatters dominance in the boys Open has been the biggest factor in preventing long runs of different champions as the team has run to the Open title 10 times, all of them since 1998. Weaver, Xavier and, and Staples have also claimed multiple titles in the event’s history which served to thwart any long stretches of of different teams claiming the title.
None of this, of course, serves as predictive heading into the Open championship this weekend, rather it’s just an interesting footnote showing how widely spread the talent has been in track and field in recent years. On the girls side, Class L winners Windsor, and S champions Bloomfield could extend the streak by finishing atop the Open standings (and both would also be earning the first Open title in program history). Recent history also shows the winner might not even come from the Divisional champions as just two years ago Wilbur Cross improved on its runner-up finish in Class L to win the Open. On the boys side, if Class L champion Wethersfield can find its way to the title, or if any of the four class runners-up (Brien McMahon, Windsor, East Lyme, or Haddam-Killingworth) can enjoy a magical day then the parity run will continue. Danbury, Hillhouse, and Bloomfield — the other three teams that earned Class titles last weekend — will be trying to get their hands on the Open trophy and end the run of parity.
However it plays out two deserving teams will conclude competition on Saturday with an exclamation point on a championship season. Whether it’s another team extending the recent run of parity or a perennial champion returning to the top it will undoubtedly be an exciting day of competition.