By BRIAN JENNINGS
Mark Murdy (17:08) and Conner Leone (17:22) represented the Blue Knights as the only Southington runners to compete against the best in the state at the state open at Wickham Park in Manchester on Friday, Nov. 4. Murdy finished 56th out of 177 runners, and Leone wasn’t far behind in 74th.
“They weren’t thrilled with their races, but you can’t be 100 percent every race,” said Southington coach Dan Dachelet. “They were consistent, in the middle of the race, and performed really well. It wasn’t a personal record, but you can’t have personal records every single day. I was proud that they stuck their necks out in the race. They were there and ended up representing the school and themselves well.”
Staples (61, 1:21:43) won the boys open, followed by Danbury (77, 1:22:26) as the runner-up and Xavier (165, 1:24:24) finishing third. Ridgefield (122, 1:41:10) won the girls open, followed by Tolland (130, 1:39:13) as the runner-up and Glastonbury (140, 1:41:45) finishing third.
Although Murdy and Leone didn’t advance further than the state open, Southington’s season isn’t over just yet. Southington will travel to Bowdoin Park in Wappingers Falls, N.Y. on Saturday, Nov. 26 for the Nike Cross Northeast Regional Championships.
“It’s a true cross country race,” said Dachelet. “I think we’re just looking to have a good time and race with teammates. We’re not going after some championship. We’re just going to be a part of the team. There are no expectations or pressure. Just let it roll.”
The girls team placed 25th out of 28 teams in last year’s Northeast girls championship race, and the boys team placed 12th out of 58 teams in the Northeast boys open race.
To comment on this story or to contact sports writer Brian Jennings, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.