The following are 25 high school cross country runners to watch in the CIAC this season. The list includes athletes representing CIAC schools and is in alphabetical order.
Bolton, Sr.: The fastest returner from the Class S race, Barrett will have his eyes on an individual title. Finished eighth in the Class S race in the 800 last outdoor season.
Kennedy, Jr.: The top returner from the NVL, Brites finished fifth in the race last year in 16:46.
Hall, Sr.: The top two runners return for Hall; Cormier helped his team take fifth at the State Open in addition to winning the CCC title. Cormier made big gains in the spring, taking third at the State Open in the 1,600 and sixth in the 3,200.
Xavier, Jr.: The Falcons have a revolving door of No. 1 runners at their disposal including Cozean, who rank a 16:03.87 in the 5,000 at nationals during the outdoor season.
Fairfield Prep, So.: The Jesuits’ new No. 1 runner with the departure of Thompson, Dawson is the fastest returning sophomore in the state. Finished seventh at the SCC meet and 18th at the State Open.
Manchester, Sr.: One of the top returners from the State Open, Diaz finished 16th in the race. Eleven of the top 15 finishers have graduated.
Shelton, Sr.: With Fairfield Prep’s Drew Thompson finally graduated, the attention shifts to another potentially dominant SCC runner. Dillon took third in the SCC championships and State Open (16:09), and is the top returner in both events.
Suffield, Sr.: Finished second in the NCCC championships last year; also finished second in the 1,600 race before taking fifth in the 3,200 in Class M during the outdoor season.
New Fairfield, Sr.: Clocked a 16:57 to win the Class MM race last fall after taking fourth at SWCs.
Danbury, Jr.: Coming off a strong spring outdoor season that included a 10th at the Class LL meet. The Hatters finished seventh at the cross country State Open last year.
Old Saybrook, Sr.: A quality runner out of the Shoreline Conference, Henderson is the top returner in the league. He also finished sixth in the Class SS race last season.
Middletown, Sr.: Placed fifth in 17:10 at the boys Class L CIAC state cross country championships to become first Blue Dragon to qualify for State Open in 19 years.
Staples, Jr.: Will be one of the top runners for Wreckers this fall after making a leap during the outdoor track season. Was named one of the captains for Staples as a junior.
Tolland, Jr.: Placed third at the CCC championships and 21st at the State Open. The Eagles placed second as a team in the CCC and won the Class M title as McNamee won the race.
New Milford, Sr.: Will chase a third straight SWC title and third straight Class L win this fall. The second fastest returner from last year’s State Open (16:11)
Manchester, Fr.: Potentially the next great runner to cover the tracks at Wickham Park, Puffer set several age-group world records during his time in middle school, including a 15:47 5K in Boston in April.
Conard, So.: The second fastest returning freshman from last year’s State Open, Remigino is the grandson of legendary Olympic Gold medalist Lindy Remigino, who passed away in July.
Tolland, Jr.: Finished 38th in the State Open last season (17:01); set a PR (16:53) in placing third in the Class M race that the Eagles won as a team.
Xavier, Sr.: The Falcons return many of their top contributors from a year ago, when they made it all the way to NXN Nationals. Schulten, who transferred from Coginchaug last season, finished fifth in the SCC and eighth at the State Open.
Xavier, Sr.: The Falcons are ranked No. 16 nationally to start the season by MileSplit and for good reason. The Defending SCC, State Open and New England champions have another crop of outstanding runners. Selfors is one of three returning seniors who were in the top seven a year ago.
Glastonbury, Jr.: Finished 16th in the State Open in the 3,200 in June; finished 30th in the State Open last cross country season in 16:55.
Staples, Jr.: The Wreckers graduated four seniors; a remarkable class that qualified for nationals in 2016. Up steps a new crop led by Taubenheim, who finished 25th at last year’s State Open.
Amity, Sr.: Another top returner from the tough SCC, Visnic finished ninth in the conference meet and 27th at the State Open.
East Lyme, Sr.: The defending ECC champion will look to defend his title against several underclassmen that also returned in the conference. Whittaker won in 17:12 a year ago and finished third in the Class MM race to lift East Lyme to the title.
Coventry, Jr.: The third fastest returning runner from the NCCC race a year ago, Ney finished 29th at the State Open. Took third in the Class S race in 16:47.