WILTON, Conn. By its nature, track and field does not lend itself to close relationships among competitors. Wilton seniors Kafesha Thomas and Brynn Parsons are the exception. Saturday, they will share their sisterhood of sprinting spotlight in one of the worlds most recognized venues.
Thomas and Parsons will compete in the finals of the Colgate Womens Games 55-meter dash at Madison Square Garden. It is the first time two Connecticut girls have reached a sprint final at the meet, which began in 1973. The meet is a season-long series in which athletes receive points based on performance. It attracts girls from elementary school through college, with runners coming from New York, Philadelphia and New Jersey.
Thomas, who is making her third visit to the Colgate finals, finished fourth in the season-long series. Parsons finished sixth to earn her first finals appearance. In the semifinals on Jan. 21, Thomas finished fourth in 7.44, Parsons fifth in 7.45. The fact that they both get to represent the Connecticut Elite track team in the finals thrills them.
Thats why Im so excited about it, Thomas said. Im no longer alone. I have some company and Ill have more energy. It will actually help my focus.
Ive been trying and trying and trying to get there, Parsons said. I always watched Kafesha run and Ive been at those meets watching. It will be fun to be on the track this time with her.
Thomas ran the 200 in last years finals, where she finished fourth. She has reached a best of 7.3 seconds for the 55 this winter in the series and compiled 35 points. Parsons, who missed one of the four races, still accumulated enough points with her other finishes. She owns a best of 7.2 in the first week of the season.
Parsons blossomed this winter after battling hamstring injuries each of the past two years. In 2010, she hurt her hamstring during the winter season, costing her a chance to reach the Colgate finals. Last spring while competing for Wilton High, she pulled the hamstring in the other leg. She believes she reached her full potential this winter when she stopped worrying about pulling the muscle again.
This year Ive been telling myself Im warmed up, Im fine, Parsons said. If its in the back of your mind, you know youre not running as fast as you can. You have to put it out of your mind and leave it all on the track.
The Colgate finals werer the priority for each runner. Thomas enjoys competing at the Garden, the former site of the Millrose Games, where some legendary athletes have competed. Because its at Madison Square Garden, its the most important one of the year, she said. Some Olympians have run there. Its exciting to run on the same track they did.
Parsons is equally pumped. One gets the impression shell need to pinch herself beforehand to fully comprehend that she has reached the destination she has been seeking for three years. Ive told everyone, Parsons said. The tickets are free, so I want them to come watch. I think theres going to be a little bit of a crowd there. Its exciting to be a part of it.
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