By KEVIN ROBERTS
Southington cross country head coach Dan Dachelet is optimistic about his girls team, and he has reason to be. In recent years, the Lady Knights have become a team to reckon with.
“This is a very solid ladies team that has the potential to be a top 20 team in the state,” Dachelet said. “They are not very deep right now, so if someone has an off day or an injury, there’s not a lot of room to cover that. It should be exciting to see what they can put together.
Dachelet’s senior captains are Kate Kemnitz and Taylor Bora. Kemnitz was an all-conference runner last season, as was fellow senior Natalia Adamczyk. Kemnitz and Adamczyk were 40th and 41st in the CCC meet to help Southington finish sixth overall. Kemnitz was the second-fastest Lady Knight that day, Adamczyk was third and Kailey Schmarr was fifth. Schmarr is another returning senior.
What adds to Dachelet’s optimism is newcomers Grace Michaud, a sophomore, and freshman Jackie Izzo. Michaud did track as a freshman and was a solid runner for the Lady Knights. Izzo finished in the Top 3 at the Sloper Relays last year and could be one of the top freshmen in Connecticut, according to Dachelet. They’re not the only young girls who are coming in with previous success.
“We have some sophomores that had great outdoor seasons,” Dachelet said.
Dachelet points out that most of the team is not used to running at the front of the pack. A big key to this season will be gaining confidence.
“Southington has always been on the fringe, and we’ve had some success over the last few years,” Dachelet said. “They just need to have that confidence.”
The Lady Knights are senior-laden, so confidence could be just what they need to become one of the best teams in the state. A strength of this team may end up being its ability to run solid times as a pack.
“They should be a very solid pack with 30-45 seconds between the top five or maybe even top seven,” Dachelet said.
Pack running allows a cross country team to build up points. That said, Dachelet is building this team toward the postseason.
“The end goal, everything is about conference championships and the State Open,” Dachelet said.
Dachelet acknowledges that the CCC is one of the toughest conferences, and his Lady Knights run in one of its most challenging regions, the CCC West. Glastonbury and Hall are the favorites. Hall was the top team in Southington’s Colonial Division. Glastonbury was the top squad in the West’s Patriot Division. Glastonbury and Hall went 1-2 in the CCC championship meet, then the Lady Tomahawks went on to win Class LL and State Open titles.
This could be a very exciting season for Southington girls cross country. The Lady Knights started their journey on Sept. 11 against Manchester at Camp Sloper.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Kevin Roberts, email him at KRoberts@SouthingtonObserver.com.