Northwest Catholic girls' indoor track coach Patrick Williamson has wanted to paraphrase one of UConn coach Geno Auriemma's most famous quotes for a long time.
But out of fear of embarrassment or how it might be perceived, he's kept his mouth shut.
That didn't happen Thursday.
After a brief sigh and a moment of hesitation, Williamson uttered the phrase he's been saving up.
"We've got Sarah [Gillespie] and they don't," Williamson said.
Williamson's got that right. Nobody else has Gillespie, one of Connecticut's best female middle distance runners ever. And with just two seasons left for her, she returns more motivated then ever, according to her coach.
"She is hungry," Williams said. "She is walking into the season like she has to prove it all again."
For Gillespie's current set of competitors, none of whom have never beaten her, that's not a good sign.
Last season, Gillespie proved plenty. As a junior, she broke state records in the 800 meters (2:11.16) and the 1,000 meters (2:51.31) at New Balance Indoor Nationals the New England Championship respectively. She also beat the State Open record of Killingly's Meghan Owens in the 1,000 meters with a time of 2:53.01, a record many thought would never be broken.
But this season, Gillespie, who still hasn't decided on where she will run next year, isn't doing anything just for herself. She will go after records but she returns more focused and prepared than ever because she wants to help her team go further than it's been before. Gillespie ran 50-mile weeks and honed her pre-race routine over the summer.
"She's so focused on helping this team," Williamson said. "She wants to make history in the course of helping this team win."
Bloomfield Goes For Four Straight
Bloomfield surprised nearly everyone at the State Open last June when it came from nowhere to win the outdoor track and field title over Hillhouse, with just seven athletes.
But this winter it's back to business as usual — winning indoor titles.
The State Open outdoor track title may be a rarity for Bloomfield — it was the program's first since 1995 and fourth overall — but indoor track titles are a different story. Bloomfield has won three straight Class S championships and 10 overall.
And this year, the War Hawks are once again the favorite in Class S.
Anchored by Adrian Jones, Vanessa Whittingham, Alleah Red and Natori Jones, Bloomfield should be a favorite. in the class.
Jones is coming off titles in the long and high jump in outdoor track and field and Adrian Jones and Red are as talented a pair in the sprints (55 meters and 300) as anyone.
Glastonbury Reloads Again
In the past two years, Glastonbury has said goodbye to three of the program's best athletes.
Lindsay Crevoiserat graduated in 2011 and Reid Watson and McKenzie Hollenbaugh graduated this past spring.
Combined, the trio brought not just individual state titles to the school but had a big hand in delivering team championships to the Tomahakws.
But that hasn't changed the outlook for the two-time defending Class LL champions. The Tomahawks can still get the job done.
It's just that this time it will be a new group doing the work.
Without Watson and Hollenbaugh, Glastonbury will look to seniors Eleanor Freeland, Briona Wallace and Rachel Peterson to make sure it stays among the contenders in the Class LL championship.
Freeland was third in the high jump at the Class LL championship at five feet-two inches and Peterson was fifth in the shot put with a throw of 34-71/4. Wallace ran 7.60 to finish sixth in the 55 meters.
Windsor is also set to represent the CCC North proudly. Anchored by shot putter Samantha Blake, who has improved by five feet during the season, Windsor should once again figure into the Class L championship picture.
Expectations High for Trojans
Maddie Nicholson won a State Open title in the discus during the outdoor track season.
This winter, she'll try to add shot put champion to her resume.
After finishing seventh at the State Open and fourth at the Class L championship last year, Nicholson returns this season as one of the top threats in the event. But she shouldn't be the only Trojan making noise. Juniors Sarah Mattison and Carolyn Smith will also help Simsbury keep pace in the distance events and junior Jada Jenkins is set for a strong season in sprints.