Southington’s cross country program competed in their final meet of the season when they traveled to Bowdoin Park in Wappingers Falls, New York on Saturday, Nov. 26 to run in the Northeast Nike Cross Regional Championships.
The boys team placed ninth out of 55 teams in the merged team scores of the Northeast boys green and black races. The Metuchen Harriers placed first, followed by the Brothers Track Club and Hawks Track Club.
Mark Murdy (17:22.2) marshalled the Blue Knights by finishing sixth out of 224 runners in the green race, placing 16th overall in the merged results. Conner Leone (17:48.4), Jordan McMeans (18:23.6), Adam Theriault (18:31.4), Tom Murdy (18:46.5), Jeffrey Hannigan (19:00), and Matthew Penna (19:09.9) contributed as well.
“They all went out at the gun and really pushed to get up there in the lead to race for the team championship,” said Southington coach Dan Dachelet. “You could tell from the very get-go that we were in the money in that race by the way we were packed up. It was nice to see everyone not too far of the leaders in a race of this caliber. If you were to score the team in that one race, we were probably third.”
The girls team placed 16th out of 21 teams. Excellerate North won the Northeast open race, followed by the Metuchen Harriers and the Danbury Cross Country Club.
“They really should have had a lot more races for the girls because the race was affected by the number of girls,” said Dachelet. “It was almost like a 5K when you start, but you just can’t get going at the beginning of the race because there are so many people. They were running hard and it very much slowed their times down quite a bit.”
Isabella Scalise (22:18.8) paced the Lady Knights by finishing 99th out of 346 runners. Catherine Myers (23:16.5), Laini Pizzitola (23:39.2), Amanda Perkowski (24:23.6), and Taylor Borla (25:34) contributed as well.
“Taylor Borla had struggled with some of the races up to this point, but it was great to see her finish the race,” said Dachelet. “She put it all together on this last race. I know that she’s going to be a great cross country runner down the road. This year was rough on her, but I was just happy to see her finish the race with a solid performance.”
The Brothers Track Club won the Northeast boys championship race, followed by the Westport Harriers and Rock Running Club. The Hunterdon Lions Track Club won the Northeast girls championship race, followed by the Sabers Running Club and Champlain Valley Cross Country.
Last year, Southington competed in the Nike Cross Regional Championships for the first time as a program, and Dachelet placed his top female runners in the girls Northeast championship race. But this year, Dachelet went into the meet with a different mindset.
“It was a new race and a championship-caliber race,” said Dachelet. “At least in the first year, I wanted to make sure that we were able to go head to head with these teams. Since then, I’ve pretty much realized that this is a nice way to cap off the season. If we’re a top tier team in the championship, that’s great. If we’re not, that’s fine too. It’s just an opportunity to race on a classic course at the end of the season and enjoy it.”