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Wilton Sprinters Eye Elite New York Race

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 world’s most recognized venues.

Thomas and Parsons will compete in the finals of the Colgate Women’s 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.

“That’s why I’m so excited about it,’’ Thomas said. “I’m no longer alone. I have some company and I’ll have more energy. It will actually help my focus.”

“I’ve been trying and trying and trying to get there,’’ Parsons said. “I always watched Kafesha run and I’ve been at those meets watching. It will be fun to be on the track this time with her.”

Thomas ran the 200 in last year’s 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 I’ve been telling myself I’m warmed up, I’m fine,’’ Parsons said. “If it’s in the back of your mind, you know you’re 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 it’s at Madison Square Garden, it’s the most important one of the year,’’ she said. “Some Olympians have run there. It’s exciting to run on the same track they did.”

Parsons is equally pumped. One gets the impression she’ll need to pinch herself beforehand to fully comprehend that she has reached the destination she has been seeking for three years. “I’ve told everyone,’’ Parsons said. “The tickets are free, so I want them to come watch. I think there’s going to be a little bit of a crowd there. It’s exciting to be a part of it.”

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