NEW HAVEN — Lyman Hall senior shot putter Chris Ruggiero literally saved his best for last Monday at the CIAC State Open indoor track meet at the Floyd Little Athletic Center.
Mired in sixth place heading into his final attempt, the 6-foot-5, 300-pounder uncorked a throw of 51 feet, 8 inches.
It was the best throw of his career and it landed him a State Open crown.
“I knew it was going to be a good throw,” Ruggiero said. “I felt I had a good grip on it. Then I just put everything I had into it. I put all of my might behind it.”
Ruggiero, the Class M champ, edged out Southington senior Matthew Bennett’s top throw of 50 feet, 5 inches. Bennett, the Class LL champ, was the top seed heading into the Open and was in first place until Ruggiero’s final throw.
Ruggiero became the first Lyman Hall shot put State Open champion since Mike Tyrrell, who did it in 1993.
Ruggiero and Bennett will represent Connecticut at the New England Open on March 1 in Boston and then at Nationals later in the month.