Rich Biondi has done what no Boys' Outdoor Track coach before him could do. For the first time since the formation of the squad over half a century ago, he has overseen a regular season of nothing but victories.
But it didn't come easily. And it wasn't even on the agenda when the team kicked off the season April 5.
"We started with two goals this season," Biondi said at Thursday's Novice Meet at Jonathan Law High School in Milford. "One was to beat our rivals in North Haven." (The team had lost to North Haven for the past four years in a row.)
The other, he said, was to defend the SCC West Sectional Championship - in 2011, Branford won the inaugural event. But, Biondi said, the boys hadn't really considered an undefeated season realistic until about late April.
"As the season progressed, we started beating some really good teams," he said. "Cheshire. Shelton. Xavier."
At that point, Biondi said, the boys added a third goal: going undefeated for the first time ever.
They'd come close before. 2005's team won state, but tied at a meet with Seymour, falling just short of the milestone.
On May 8, Biondi's boys defeated their rivals in North Haven 76-74, winning the SCC Oronoque title. Goal one achieved. And in the process, the team earned its first undefeated regular season, 15-0.
"It was really, really close," Biondi said. Nonetheless, Branford boasted seven first-place finishes that night, including two from senior Alex Altermatt.
On May 15, they successfully defended their West Sectional title, one point ahead of Xavier, 131-130, with the help of first-place finishers Isaiah Barnes (high jump) and Denis Daly (pole vault.)
Goal two achieved. Two championships won on a combined spread of three points.
"It can't get any closer than that," Biondi said. "But when this group of seniors said they wanted to go undefeated, I really, truly believed - and this wasn't just coach talk - that with their leadership, and with the help of the younger class, they would be able to do it."
Now the squad looks ahead to the SCC Championships at Sheehan High School in Wallingford, Monday, May 21st.
"We're gonna have to really grind to do well in those meets," Biondi said. "We have quality kids. We have depth. But we still have to fight for every point that we score."
In early April, Branford Patch previewed the 2012 Boys Outdoor Track season. on that coverage, or find results from the full regular season here.
2012 Boys Track Scoring Leaders
1. Jared Keck 191
2. Alex Altermatt 170.50
3. Tony Tala 109
4. Eric Arsenault 100.25
5. Carl Williams 98.75
6. Sam Poryanda 98
7. Jaryd Hobbs 96
8. Isaiah Barnes 81.25
9. Denis Daly 80
10. Nate Morrison 58