MANCHESTER >> The Amity boys cross country team knew it had a shot to take the Class LL title. The pre-race hype was in their favor, according to Kyle Beaudette.
“We came into this pretty high in the polls,” he said. “We were looking to do some pretty big things.”
The Spartans did big things indeed.
Amity captured the crown with a total of 90 points Saturday at Wickham Park. Second place went to Danbury with 95 and Ridgefield was third with 106.
Head coach Bob Orgovan said despite being ranked third in the state prior to the race, and being the Southern Connecticut Conference champ, his team remained humble.
“We hoped for it,” Orgovan said. “We didn’t expect it.”
Beaudette was Amity’s top finisher in seventh place with a time of 16:25. He said he may have come out a bit too hard in the start, but he was able to push through and finish it off.
“I haven’t felt this good all season,” he said.
Amity usually runs in a pack, bunching up all of its runners to get a high team score. However, due to the length and narrow parts of the course, the team had to rely on strong individual performances.
“You can’t keep the pack together,” Orgovan said. “It’s a good idea, but when we finished we weren’t in a pack. We were all strung out, just like every other team.”
Meanwhile, Cheshire finished in sixth with 166 and was led by freshman Brendan Murray, who finished eighth with a time of 16:29.
“I just tried to stay relaxed,” he said. “The first mile running around 5:15 (pace), and just take each person off one at a time.”
Class L: Darien’s Ostberg sets course record
For Darien’s Alex Ostberg, he felt good about the race from the start.
“It was a quick first mile,” he said. “I’m kind of used to that. I wasn’t really trying to demolish that and absolutely kill the pace. I’m still training throughout the season. This meet is more of a stepping stone for me.”
Ostberg stepped over the competition and finished first in a course-record 15:21. Second place went to Wilton’s Spencer Brown with a time of 16:23 and in third place was Ostberg’s teammate Mike Noonan with a time of 16:24.
Darien finished second in the team results with a score of 87. New Milford finished first with 70. Pomperaug finished with 150 to place third, fourth place went to Naugatuck with 173 and fifth place was New Canaan with 188. John Davis, who finished fourth and was New Milford’s top finisher with a time of 16:26, said his team is feeling good.
“We’ve been focusing on this since we won (the South-West Conference) last week,” he said. “It felt great. We’re confident this week. We really wanted to win.”
Class MM: Branford’s Arsenault nabs second
According to Mick Fitzgerald, E.O. Smith was built for Wickham Park. Following a tough training regimen that started after July 4, Fitzgerald was confident his team would take Class MM.
E.O. Smith took the team title with a score of 77. Avon came in second with 95 and Branford finished third with 123 points, Guilford came in fourth with 133 and Foran finished fifth with 160.
E.O. Smith’s Pat Briody came in first place with a time of 16:44. Branford’s Luke Arsenault was second with a time of 16:52.
Despite a strong showing from Branford, it was E.O. Smith that won the day. From running the hills on the University of Connecticut campus to invitationals in Windham, Kutztown, Pennsylvania, and its home course, he knew his team was prepared.
For Arsenault, who is a senior, capturing second place was something he was just hoping for from the beginning.
“Now that’s it’s happened it seems like I’ve been training this whole time, so it made sense,” he said.
Class M: St. Joseph’s Mas wins
St. Joseph’s James Mas didn’t expect to be here at the beginning of the season. He admitted that despite his hard work, winning Class M didn’t seem like a reality until he crossed the finish line.
“On the final straightaway I knew it,” he said. “If I just sprinted I could get it.”
He was right, taking first place with a time of 16:14. He said the hill-laden course was tough, but he wasn’t the only runner that had to deal with it.
“I just kept thinking to myself, it’s a hill for everyone else,” he said. “So it’s going to be just as hard for them as it is for me.”
Overall, St. Joseph finished in fifth with a score of 149. The winner was Ellington with 64. Ledyard followed with 89 and in third was Brookfield with 120.
Ellington came in second last year and third the year before. Ellington coach Aaron Flamino said this year his group was focused.
“They almost made it business-like and just put in the work,” he said. “We like to say, ‘We run fast when it counts.’”
Class SS: Coginchaug’s Alberico, H-K win titles
The first mile wasn’t easy, but Coginchaug’s Christian Alberico pushed through and captured first place with a time of 16:35.
“Hard first mile,” he said. “Hard as hell. I just wanted to go out strong, get a lead and keep it.”
Second place was Haddam-Killingworth’s Cameron Garrelts with a time of 16:52 and third was Northwestern’s Peter Bakker with a time of 16:56.
HK also won the team title, finishing with 56 points. Second place was Canton with 79 and third was Northwestern with 96.
Class S: Shepaug Valley victorious, Thomaston second
Thomaston didn’t win Class S, but it did do enough to qualify for the State Open. For Golden Bears coach Mark Olsen, this is when the work really starts.
“The job’s not done,” he said. “We want to show our best at State Open and show them what Class S can do.”
Shepaug Valley won convincingly with a final score of 49 in the team results. Thomaston finished second with a score of 108 and third was Litchfield with 118.
Bolton finished fourth with 132 and the top individual finisher was Bolton’s Trevor Chambers with a time of 17:05.