MERIDEN — Anne Bekasi graduated Friday among the top students in Maloney’s Class of 2019.
On Tuesday, she left her mark in the Spartans’ track and field history book.
In her second-to-last high jump as a Maloney athlete, Bekasi broke a 31-year-old record in the event at 5 feet and ¼ inch.
The mark eclipsed the previous record of 5 feet initially set by Jennifer Picarillo in 1988 and matched by Alison Kogut in 1996.
“I’m glad she went out with a bang,” Spartans track and field head coach Don Askew said. “It was one of the longest-standing records at Maloney. The 300-meter hurdles is the only one that’s left from the 80s.”
Bekasi broke the record while competing in the two-day CIAC heptathlon, which opened Monday at Manchester High School.
“The bar was on the edge of falling,” Askew said. “The official didn’t call it until he waited the full 10 seconds. She really wanted to break the record, so it was a great moment. For it to happen on the last meet of her career is pretty amazing.”
“The officials were really particular,” Bekasi added. “That was really stressful waiting for the ruling.”
Bekasi’s previous best in high jump during the outdoor season was 4-10.
“The record wasn’t the big thing on my mind,” said Bekasi, who placed 15th. “I wanted to do well in my final event as a Maloney Spartan. But I think it’s pretty cool to know that you are leaving your mark at Maloney. I will always have that record that everyone will try to break.”
Bekasi owns the Maloney girls indoor high jump record at 5-0 and is also part of the school-record 4:20 in the 4x400 relay run in 2018 with Shauntazia Davenport, Charlise Levesque and Jennifer Fermaint.
Bekasi’s high school career may be over, but a future on the track lies ahead at Division I Marist. She committed to the Poughkeepsie, N.Y. school in February on a partial academic scholarship and plans on studying biology on a pre-med track
“At the start of the season, I didn’t think I was going to go D-I,” Bekasi said. “I tihnk it’s pretty cool that I was able to go there. It’s going to be something new, training-wise, from high school. Hopefully, I will improve my PR. The training will push me to be better.”
Bekasi said her background in gymnastics has helped her in track. She spent seven years at Wallingford’s Connecticut Gymnastics Academy.
“Being a former gymnast, she has the ability to manipulate her hips in the air," Askew said. “She’s one of those kids that sets her mind to something. When she does, she will get it done.”
Bekasi joins 2018 Maloney grad Hannah Cloutier as the two female athletes who have moved on to Division I college programs on Askew’s watch. Cloutier owns the Maloney pole vault record and is currently studying microbiology at Wagner on Staten Island.
Bekasi was named to the inaugural All-Record-Journal Indoor Track Team and was also an R-J Scholar Athlete this winter.
Bekasi is still awaiting final results, but at last look she was ranked No. 14 in the Class of 2019 with a 4.4 GPA.
“Maloney was a great experience,” Bekasi said. “Askew knew the best way to train me. He left it up to me if I could do another rep. I wouldn’t be where I am without him. This was a big group of kids that helped push you to do your best.”