NEW HAVEN -- Since the season began in December, Greenwich girls track head coach Evan Dubin has been telling anyone who would listen that the Cardinals were the team to beat in the FCIAC.
That seemed in doubt after Greenwich finished third in the West Division meet last week, but Dubin maintained his confidence in his team and, as it turns out, he was spot on with his assessment.
Behind strong relays and a stellar showing from Abby Markowitz, the Cardinals backed up Dubin's prediction, winning the FCIAC championships at the Floyd Little Athletic Center in New Haven Thursday night with 92 team points.
Darien was second with 62 unofficial points and Danbury finished third with 40. Brien McMahon placed fourth with 36 points.
Greenwich last won the FCIAC in the 1979-80 season.
The win was validation for several years of hard work for the Cardinals.
"Words can't describe how proud I am," Dubin said. "All the hard work they have put in for all the years and to see all the pieces click today like we wanted them to, I can't describe how happy I am for the whole team."
Greenwich 4x200 relay team of Amanda Michaud, Claire D'Etiveaud, Emily Johnson and Naomi Leeds won with a time of 1:48.11, well ahead of second-place finisher Trumbull, which came in at 1:50.81 and the third-place team from Danbury (1:51.69).
The Cardinals also won the 1600 sprint medley with the team of Lindsey Noskin, Cate Wright, Johnson and Elizabeth Markowitz posting a time of 4:24.39. Trumbull was second at 4:25.62 and Darien was third at 4:29.19.
The Cardinals ended the night winning the 4x400 relay with a time of 4:06.22.
Abby Markowitz of Greenwich held off a strong charge from Darien's Grace Loh to win the 1000 meters with a time of 3:00.36. Loh finished with a time of 3:01.78 and Cate Allen of Warde came in third at 3:04.10.
Knowing she had two more events to compete in, Markowitz was more focused on winning, not necessarily posting a record time.
"I was excited for this race because the 1000 is my favorite event I am running today," Markowitz said. "Because I am running to other events, my goal was not to get the fastest time but to go for place so having someone like her (Loh) there made my time faster."
Markowitz also won the 1600 with a time of 5:19.71 and the 3200 at 11:35.65.
Warde's Allen was second in the 1600 at 5:20.06 and Sarah Guillaume of Ridgefield was third at 5:24.50.
Greenwich essentially locked things up in the 300 with Michaud placing first at 42.77 and Leeds placing third with a time of 43.04. Shannon Quinlan of Wilton was second at 42.85.
The Cardinals expected to win certain events, but it was the second-, third- and fourth-place finishes that pushed them over the top.
"That is what sets us apart," Dubin said. "We have our superstars that we know will give us our first place and 10 points, but it is the seconds and thirds and fourths where we start to distance ourselves from second- and third-place teams."
In the 4x800 relay, the Staples team of Courtney Mullen, Siobahn O'Loughlin, Caroline Smith and Alexandra Pupkin finished first with a time of 9:52.30. Ridgefield was second at 9:55.24 and Darien came in third at 9:59.28.
In the shot put, Bassick's Bunsic Shanique won, throwing a distance of 33-05.25. Danbury's Christina Sperry (32-11.25) was second and McMahon's Kamri Yarborough cam in third with a throw of 31-09.25.
Claire Turner of Norwalk won the 600 with a time of 1:38.21, Elizabeth Markowitz of Greenwich was second at 1:38.30 and Tyler Scanlin of Staples was third at 1:38.85.
Turner, a sophomore, was not expected to win and was, in fact, a little in awe of racing against Markowitz.
"I felt really good. I wasn't going to sprint the last lap but I was running well and thought `why don't I just sprint,'" Turner said. "Elizabeth Markowitz is one of the best sprinters I have seen and I want to be like her when I am a senior. I am so excited to win."
The win even surprised Hicks, who easily ran her personal best time in winning the event.
"I did not think I would win at all. I thought the two McMahon girls would take it away," Hicks said. "There was tough competition but this was my best time since, forever."
Lindo redeemed herself in the 55 dash, winning with a time of 7.22 ahead of Sydney Kay of Ludlowe (7.43) and Catherine Lacy of Darien (7.54).
Erica Andrasi of Trumbull won the high jump with a jump of 5-00.
NOTES: Norwalk finished in 10th place with 18 points, narrowly defeating New Canaan (16 points).