By KEVIN ROBERTS
It was a rough start to the week for Southington girls cross country when it faced Hall and Simsbury in a double dual meet at Camp Sloper on Oct. 2. The Lady Knight girls never got a chance to finish their Senior Day race.
Twelve minutes into the race, runners were pulled off of the course because of lightning. The runners were done with the hill and had more flat ground to cover on the way to the finish line, but the race had to be suspended. The teams waited to make the call, but the weather wasn’t improving.
The race was eventually called off.
Coach Dan Dachelet said he’d never seen anything like it at a cross country meet. He said there were runners who were going to get a personal record or be close to it, and it was disappointing that they couldn’t finish.
The Southington girls responded pretty well to the adversity by finishing 10th in the championship race of the 35th Wickham Invitational on Oct. 6 at Wickham Park in Manchester. Jackie Izzo was the top Lady Knight, taking 24th in a time of 20:57. Senior Kate Kemnitz was 42nd in 21:40 and fellow senior Kailey Schmarr was 50th in 22:22. Senior Natalia Adamczyk claimed 53rd place in 22:32 and fellow senior Taylor Borla rounded out Southington’s Top 5 in 64th place (23:17). Dachelet was happy with the races from Schmarr and Adamcyzk.
“[Kailey] took it out from the beginning and she really pushed it,” Dachelet said.
Dachelet believes times could have been better for both the girls and the boys, but the girls championship race was the second to last and the course at Wickham Park was very muddy by that point.
The Blue Knight boys defeated the Warriors 26-29 and the Trojans 22-39 in their part of the Senior Day double dual.
“We ended up having a good day on the guys side,” Dachelet said.
Hall, possibly looking toward the Wickham Invitational, sat its Top 6 runners. Still, Dachelet was pleased with the effort from the boys. Matt Penna was the first Southington runner to finish and did so in second place with a time of 18:07.3.
Ryan Slesinski was the first Blue Knight senior to cross the finish line. He finished fourth in 18:25.4 while junior Lucca Riccio was right behind him in fifth place in 18:28.9. Ryan Asido took 10th in 19:03.2 and Jared Rivera rounded out Southington’s Top 5 with a 12th place finish in 19:10.7.
The Blue Knight boys were 14th out of 25 teams in the Wickham Invitational’s seeded race. Penna was the top Southington finisher, taking 40th place in 18:02. Despite running out of a shoe with around a mile left, Riccio finished 49th in 18:19.
“The shoe has a chip that records the times, so I told them if you lose a shoe, make sure you pick it up,” Dachelet said. “[Riccio] ran with his shoe in his hand.”
Up next: Southington was at Northwest Catholic on Tuesday. After that, it’s the CCC Championships on Oct. 16 back at Wickham Park.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Kevin Roberts, email him at KRoberts@SouthingtonObserver.com