Tag Archives: Henry Wynne

Roundup: Henry Wynne, Pops Concert, Teacher Of The Year …

=====================================================

Ever since he was a Staples High School track star, Henry Wynne has been called an “Olympic hopeful.”

Now that the Olympics are near — they’re supposed to begin next month in Tokyo — how hopeful is the Class of 2013 grad?

Very. And that’s despite a litany of issues that dogged him as a University of Virginia star, and beyond. Since 2016 Wynne has suffered a knee injury, pneumonia, and surgery on his small intestine.

But Brooks Running signed him to a pro contract. And now — with the Olympic trials underway now through June 27 in Eugene, Oregon — Wynne is giving it his best shot.

Yesterday, Runner’s World magazine profiles one of Westport’s top athletes ever. Click here for the full story.

Henry Wynne (Photo/Will Hoffman for Runner’s World)

=======================================================

Did you miss the Staples High School Pops Concert earlier this month? (No, you didn’t overlook it. Tickets were limited, due to COVID.)

Here’s a highlight reel, courtesy of Jim Honeycutt. Strike up the band!

=======================================================

Speaking of education: Sure, the Westport Public Schools select a Teacher of the Year. But there’s something special about earning that honor from a different source: the Staples High School football team.

This spring, the Wreckers — used to be cheered for — turned the tables. They gave shout-outs to their favorite educators in a homemade video. At the end, they announced the winner.

Who is this year’s football team Staples Teacher of the Year? Click below to see:

=======================================================

Another Staples tidbit: The Westport Garden Club has earned raves for their #FridayFlowers arrangements. Each week, there’s a different one somewhere in town.

This week’s was unveiled a day earlier. On Thursday evening, Class of 2021 graduates and their families saw this as they drove into Staples from North Avenue:

=======================================================

Two more sings that Westport is getting “back to business.”

The Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce held its first in-person gathering in 20 months yesterday, at Gilbertie’s Herbs & Garden Center. Over 60 people gathered in the garden, in beautiful weather. They shook hands, ate food catered by Calise’s Deli, and — as they did for years before the pandemic — exchanged business cards.

Sal Gilbertie spoke about the 100 years since his grandfather began as a flower grower, then turned to herbs. Today Gilbertie’s is a major micro green seller, in addition to their nursery’s plants and trees.

Sal Gilbertie addresses the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce.

But the Chamber wasn’t the only major Westport organization holding its first live-and-in-person meeting yesterday.

Sunrise Rotary also gathered together, for the first time in over a year. Attendance was solid. Handshakes and hugs were heartfelt.

And for those unable or not yet ready to attend, the event was livestreamed.

======================================================

Enrollment is open for MoCA Westport’s summer courses, for toddlers through adults. Among the choices:

  • Summer Sunset Painting Series (High school and adult)
  • The World of Digital Art Animation (High school and adult)
  • The Art of Cinematography (High xchool and adult)
  • Intro To Digital Photography (High school and adult)
  • Skateboard Design (Middle school through adult)
  • Summer Saturday Art Workshops for Kids (PreK to grade 3)
  • Learn How To Code (Middle school through Adult)
  • Robotics (Middle school through adult)
  • Expressive Art for Toddler

For more details and to register, click here.

=======================================================

Westport Country Playhouse has 4 new trustees. Three are from Westport: Jessica Caldwell, Will Haskell and Margie Jacobson.

Haskell — a state senator whose district includes Westport — has a long theatrical history. As a member of Staples High School’s Class of 2014, he was elected of Players, the drama troupe.  One of his first memories of live theater was seeing “Curious George” as a child, at the Playhouse’s old barn.

Caldwell graduated from Columbia University’s MFA film program. She produced independent feature films, while her feature film productions have premiered at Berlinale, SXSW and Tribeca. Her short film work has premiered at Sundance, Telluride, and Tribeca. Caldwell was also the writers’ room assistant and showrunners’ assistant on “Billions.” She is also a Moth storytelling contest GrandSlampion.

Jacobson is a nonprofit leader and attorney with legal experience spanning a variety of diverse settings. She is currently of counsel to a boutique law firm advocating for students’ rights from birth through post-secondary education, and co-founder of Woman’s Compass Forum. Jacobson previously served on the Playhouse board, from 2010 to 2016. She also serves on the boards of the ADL and the Remarkable Theater.

The WCP board of trustees is chaired by Westporter Ania Czekaj-Farber.

The Westport Library has 2 new trustees too.

Anna Alemani is CFO of Pierrepont School. Previously she had a 15-year career in finance. She holds an MBA from Columbia Business School and a BA in Business Administration from Bocconi University in Milan, where she focused her studies on management of museums and cultural institutions.

Dave Briggs spent his career in television, as a sports and news reporter/anchor. He has moved from South Dakota and Oklahoma to Boston, where he covered Red Sox World Series championships, Patriots Super Bowl titles and a Celtics NBA crown. He also hosted “Fox & Friends Weekend,” and (for NBC) NHL, NASCAR, NFL and Olympic tennis, before anchoring “Early Start” on CNN. He currently interviews important Connecticut residents for Moffly Media content.

=======================================================

We see a lot of old things at the transfer station.

Yesterday morning, it was a Model A Ford. Fortunately, it was running fine. The driver was there just to drop off some newer trash.

(Photo/Frank Rosen)

======================================================

The VFW is not just for men!

The other day, Y’s Women’s Trivia group met for their monthly luncheon. The VFW’s great chef, Joe Gallo, fed them well.

Other Y’s Women groups include Tuesday morning Compo Beach walkers, and one that meets in the evening to watch spectacular sunsets.

To learn more about the Y’s Women, email dynamicr@icloud.com.

Joe Gallo hosts the Y’s Women.

=====================================================

July 4 is the publication date for not one but two Carl Addison Swanson books. The Westporter’s latest works are written “Venezuela Vengeance” and “Brotherly Hate.”

He’s CEO of Bermuda’s CAS Publications, which publishes 14 other writers, and  is a contributing editor at HBO. Click here for details.

======================================================

Seen this morning at Compo Beach: either the remnant of a Friday celebration for Staples High School’s graduation, or “saving a spot” for today:

(Photo/Michael Calise)

======================================================

Lauri Weiser calls this “Westport … Naturally” photo “Lurking in the Grasses”:

(Photo/Lauri Weiser)

=======================================================

And finally … Juneteenth has been celebrated — in one form or another — for 155 years.

Today, for the first time, we honor it as a national holiday.

Amen.

This week, immediately after the bill was signed in the House of Representatives and sent to President Biden, the Congressional Black Caucus sang “Lift Every Voice and Sing.”

It’s been called the “Black National Anthem.” But it’s a fitting anthem today for every American, of every color and background.

 

 

 

 

Henry Runs Like The Wynned

I can’t post a story every time Henry Wynne does something remarkable.

Well, I could, but there wouldn’t be room for any other stories on “06880.”

However, the 2013 Staples High graduate — the greatest male runner in school history, who set a state scholastic record in the mile (4:05.04), starred at the University of Virginia, and now runs professionally for Brooks Beasts — has done something beyond remarkable.

A few days ago at a Boston University invitational, Wynne flew to a 3:51.26 mile.

His personal best was good only for 4th. But he shouldn’t feel bad. The race produced a new world indoor record: Yomif Kejelcha’s 3:47.01.

The first 4 finishers all achieved world championship and Olympic qualifying standards.

Wynne is now the 7th fastest US indoor miler ever — and the 15th fastest indoor miler in world history.

Henry Wynne (Photo/Paul Merca)

Henry Wynne Won!

On Friday, “06880” previewed Henry Wynne’s attempt to break the world 4×1 mile relay. The former Staples High School and University of Virginia track star now runs for the  professional Brooks Beast track club.

The race was yesterday, in New York. Many Westporters were on hand to watch Wynne and his teammates not only beat, but absolutely demolish, the world mark. Peter Gambaccini — also a former Wrecker runner, now a noted track journalist — reports:

Westporter Henry Wynne and 3 Brooks Beast track club teammates traveled 3,000 miles and fulfilled their mission by shattering the world record for the 4×1 mile relay by almost 9 seconds on Saturday, clocking a 16:03.68 at the Dr. Norbert Sander Invitational at the Armory Track & Field Center in New York. The quartet broke the old record of 16:12.81 set 2 years ago by the Hoka One One NJ/NY Track Club.

“Winning this race and not getting the record wouldn’t have meant nearly as much,” said Wynne, who established a Connecticut high school mark of 4:05.04 for the mile while at Staples, and has since gotten down to 3:55.23 as a pro with the Seattle-based Brooks team. Wynne ran a 4:02 for the second leg of the relay and gave the Beasts a slight lead in what remained a tight race with the Hoka foursome, before anchorman Izaic Yorks pulled away to give his team a victory by more than 12 seconds.

An extremely animated Wynne bounced up and down on the track, shouting and gesticulating with his arms as he exhorted his last two teammates through  the efforts that gave Brooks the triumph and a world best time. At the end, there were plenty of hugs. Brooks Beast coach Danny Mackey’s observation that “Henry’s a team guy” seemed like an understatement.

Henry Wynne and his father, after the race. (Photo/Jeff Mitchel)

“This is just a starting point for what we want to accomplish,” said Wynne. Indeed, he and his 3 relay partners have all broken 4:00 for the mile, and Mackey had declared before the race that the foursome might go under 16:00. With the confidence Saturday’s race brings, that could well be achieved if the team returns to the Armory in 2020.

Wynne, who had a sizable and demonstrative personal cheering section on Saturday, attended the University of Virginia after his Staples years and was the NCAA Indoor mile champion in 2016. In his senior year, his athletic life was undone by a bout of pneumonia and knee surgery.

Mackey couldn’t really know what Wynne’s post-surgery prognosis would be, but was drawn to his personality and believed he’d be “a good fit” for the Brooks Beasts. “He gets the details. Right away, he bought into everyone on the team.”

In 2018, Wynne set career bests for 800 and 5000 meters and the mile. “I owe him a debt of gratitude,” he said of Mackey. “He believed in me when a lot of others didn’t.”

Healthy and again making progress, Henry Wynne can continue paying that debt with his next race: an individual mile at the University of Washington in Seattle in 2 weeks.

Will Henry Wynne?

Henry Wynne is at it again.

The 2013 Staples High graduate — the greatest male runner in school history, who set a state scholastic record in the mile (4:05.04), then starred at the University of Virginia, and has since roared to a personal best 3:55.23 — aims for a world record tomorrow.

Wynne is now based in Seattle. He runs professionally for Brooks Beasts. He and 3 teammates will compete in the Dr. Norbert Sander Invitational at the New York Armory. Their goal: beating the 16:12.81 time for the 4 x 1 mile relay.

Henry Wynne (Photo/Paul Merca)

That record was set 2 years ago by the Hoka One One NJ/NY Track Club. They’ll run at the Armory too.

All 4 of the Beasts have sub-4 minute mile times.

Tomorrow’s race begins at 1:46 p.m. It will be televised on NBC Gold.

(Hat tip: Peter Gambaccini)

Another Amazing Weekend For Henry And Hannah

Henry Wynne and Hannah DeBalsi — quite possibly the 2 best runners in Staples history — have done it again.

Yesterday, Wynne — a 2013 Staples grad — won the NCAA Division I national indoor mile championship. The University of Virginia junior held off a challenger at the end of the very tactical race, finishing in 4:06.63 at Birmingham, Alabama.

Cavalier distance coach Pete Watson said. “Nine months ago, he left Oregon after his first trip to the NCAA Championships and committed himself to being great. He matured (and) became focused….We mapped out the race plan this morning and Henry followed it perfectly.”

His championship race was several seconds off his best time — a sub-4:00 mile — but the winner’s medal hanging around his neck says it all.

Henry Wynne - national champion

Meanwhile, Hannah DeBalsi shattered Connecticut’s 5,000-meter record, with a 16:32.26 race at the New Balance Indoor National Championship at the New York Armory.

Staples’ Stanford-bound senior finished 4th overall. The winner set a new US record.

Hannah DeBalsi, waaaayy out in front in a race earlier this season. (Photo/Ed Martin)

Hannah DeBalsi, waaaayy out in front in a race earlier this season. (Photo/Ed Martin)

And what did you do this weekend?

To read more on Wynne’s race from Cavalier Insider, click here. For details on LetsRun.com, click here. Click here for DeBalsi’s post-race interview. For a YouTube interview with Wynne, click below:

(Hat tips: Jeff Mitchell and Peter Gambaccini)

Tracking Hannah DeBalsi And Henry Wynne

This weekend, the national track spotlight shined on Westport.

Yesterday, Hannah DeBalsi became the 1st athlete — male or female — ever to win 4 New England indoor track championships. The Stanford-bound Staples High School senior blazed to a 10:29.46 time in the 2-mile run.

(Photo credit/StaplesSports)

(Photo credit/StaplesSports)

In 2013, as a freshman at the same venue — the Reggie Lewis Center in Boston — DeBalsi watched Henry Wynne win the New England 1000-meter run for Staples.

This year — the day before — Wynne ran a 4:01.15 mile for the University of Virginia, at the Atlantic Coast Conference championship. He added more points by helping the Cavaliers win the distance medley (his 1600 split was a blazing 3:56.37), and placing 2nd at 3000 meters.

The Reggie Lewis Center is a favorite place for both DeBalsi and Wynne. In January, that’s where he ran a sub-4-minute mile.

(Click here, then scroll down for alert “06880” reader Jeff Mitchell’s video interview with Wynne, after Saturday’s race. The 2013 Staples grad gives shout-outs to Staples track coaches Laddie Lawrence and Malcolm Watson.)

3:58.74!

When Henry Wynne ran for Staples, everyone knew he was destined for stardom. The question was not if he would break a 4-minute mile — but when.

The answer is: yesterday.

Henry Wynne, after yesterday's race.

Henry Wynne, after yesterday’s race.

Running for the University of Virginia at Boston University’s John Thomas Terrier Invitational, the 2013 Staples grad — and Connecticut high school state mile record holder — roared to a 3:58.74 finish.

Even more remarkable: He was tripped, and had to hurdle another racer en route to his mark.

On hand for the performance — the 2nd-fastest in UVa history — were Wynne’s father Craig, sister Grace (a Staples junior), former Staples runners Luis Cruz and Erica Hefnawy, and former Staples track coach Malcolm Watson.

One of the first people Henry called after the race? Longtime Staples track legend Laddie Lawrence.

Bonus fun fact: The very 1st Connecticut runner to run a sub-4-minute mile was another Staples grad: Steve Wheeler. He ran a 3:59.4 in 1974 for Duke University — an ACC rival of Virginia. 

This Weekend: The Greatest In Westport Sports History?

How great was it?

Consider these performances at the New Balance Outdoor Track Championships — the national meet — at North Carolina A&T University in Greensboro.

  • Today, Staples’ phenomenal senior Henry Wynne won the mile, in 4:07.84.
  • Yesterday, Wynne anchored the 4 x 800 relay team to 3rd in the nation. He and Peter Elkind, Patrick Nolan and Walker Marsh roared to a school record 7:42.11. Wynne’s split was a crazy-fast 1:48.93.
Henry Wynne, earlier this year in an indoor race.  (Photo courtesy of MSG Varsity)

Henry Wynne, earlier this year in an indoor race. (Photo courtesy of MSG Varsity)

  • Staples’ equally phenomenal freshman Hannah DeBalsi finished 3rd in yesterday’s 2-mile. Her 10:16.20 sets a national 9th grade record.
  • Today DeBalsi anchored the distance medley relay team — including Erica Hefnawy, Emily Troelstra and Tyler Scanlin — to a bronze medal (and state record): 11:53.61. DeBalsi’s mile  split was an amazing 4:48.
Hannah DeBalsi, in a meet earlier this spring. (Photo/Bob Luckey)

Hannah DeBalsi, in a meet earlier this spring. (Photo/Bob Luckey)

  • Wynne, DeBalsi and both relay teams earned All-American status. Congratulations to Staples’ fantastic runners, and their coaches Laddie Lawrence and Jesse McCray.

As if that wasn’t enough, Noah Arthurs just set the North American record for solving 16 Rubik’s cubes successfully — while blindfolded!


(Click here if your browser does not link directly to YouTube.)

Henry Wynne Sets State Mile Record

Henry Wynne’s legendary late-race kick propelled him all the way to 2nd place — and a Connecticut high school mile record — in Saturday’s Adidas Dream Mile, at Randall’s Island in New York City.

Cheered on by more than 2 dozen Staples track teammates, the University of Virginia-bound senior roared to a 4:05.04 finish. The race winner, Ben Saarel — who trains at altitude in his native Utah — also ran a personal best (4:02.72).

Henry edged Kenya’s noted Edward Cheserek by .32 seconds.

Click here to watch Henry’s latest great race.

Henry Wynne (yellow jacket, back row) surrounded by Staples track teammates at Randall's Island.

Henry Wynne (yellow jacket, back row) surrounded by Staples track teammates at Randall’s Island.

 

Henry Wynne: Miles Beyond The Pack

Hot on the heels of Friday’s come-from-behind, best-in-the-nation distance medley relay by Staples’ boys indoor track team, Henry Wynne has done it again.

Yesterday, the University of Virginia-bound senior won the mile at the New Balance National Championships, held in the New York Armory. His time was 4:08.15.

Henry is now the Connecticut high school record-holder in 4 events: 1000 meters, mile, sprint medley relay and distance medley relay. As a mile is 1609 meters, and Henry’s mile time is 5 seconds under the state record for the 1600, he technically holds the 1600 record too.

Henry is the first Staples athlete — and likely first in the history of Connecticut — to be undefeated as an individual in both cross country and indoor track. He ends his Staples indoor track career with 9 school records.

(Click here if your  broswer does not link to YouTube.)

But wait! There’s more!

Hannah DeBalsi — who set a school record (10:39.43) in the 2-mile at the recent New England championships — finished 10th in that event at the New Balance Nationals.

She should do better next year. And the year after. And the year after that.

Hannah is only a freshman.

(Click here if your browser does not link to YouTube.)