By SPENCER DREHER
The Southington boys cross country team and several runners on the girls team had a chance to qualify for the New England meet in the state open meet last Friday at Wickham Park in Manchester. Each team sent their top seven runners to the open after their performances in the class LL meet on Oct. 26.
“It was a big deal for us to go to the state open as a team,” coach Dan Dachelet said. “It was exciting to see us all finish the year like that.”
The boys team just missed out on the chance to compete in the New England meet as they finished just outside the top-six. While the girls team did not qualify for the New England meet, Jackie Izzo and Grace Michaud will have a chance to compete after their performances in the LL meet and open meet.
Here is how each team performed in the open meet:
Boys Place Seventh
The boys team placed seventh with a score of 241. The Blue Knights needed to finish sixth or better to qualify for the New England meet. They finished behind Tolland, Conard, Ridgefield, Danbury, Staples, and Xavier, respectively.
Matthew Penna was the first Blue Knight to cross the finish line, as he finished 37th with a time of 16:58. Lucca Riccio (17:09) finished 52nd, while Jake Nafis (17:34) placed 85th. Drew Nafis (17:34) and Jackson Landino (17:40) rounded out Southington’s top-five.
Evan Kristopik and Ryan Asido did not count towards the team score but Kristopik finished with a time of 18:24 and Asido finished in 18:27.
“Obviously the boys were disappointed after just missing out,” Dachelet said. “They missed a trip to the New England meet by 20 points. We knew there was one spot left and we had to fight with about ten other teams for it. Nobody had a bad day. Danbury just had a slightly better day than us. That was the difference.
Gavin Sherry of Conard came in first with a time of 15:38. Sherry also finished first in the CCC meet and the LL meet. Tolland finished with a first place score of 71 as all of their first five runners finished in the top-25.
Girls Place 15th
The girls team featured two all-state runners, Izzo and Michaud, in the top-25, but they were the only runners inside the top-100 as they finished in 15th with a score of 355.
Izzo finished in 22nd with a time of 19:49, while Michaud came in 25th in 19:59. Emily Moskal finished with a time of 22:21 while Megan Wadman came in at 22:32.
Meghan Sheline rounded out the Knights’ top-five with a time of 22:43. Hannah Cooley did not count towards the team score but came in with a time of 23:48.
“It was great for the girls to get to this point,” Dachelet said. “Our number three runner had to drop out of the race, which I think made a difference. We probably could have finished a few spots higher with her. It is great to see Jackie and Grace to make it to the New England meet.
Mari Noble of Greenwich came in first with a time of 18:13, which is better than her first place time of 18:30 at the LL meet on Oct. 26. Hall finished in first with a score of 110 as they has three runners in the top-15.
Up next: Izzo and Michaud will compete individually at the New England meet tomorrow back at Wickham Park. The girls race is set to start at 11 a.m.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Spencer Dreher, email him at SDreher@SouthingtonObserver.com.