MANCHESTER >> Entering the season, one goal for the Amity boys cross country team, which won the CIAC Class LL team title in 2014, was to win the title again and show the world the Spartans weren’t just one-hit wonders.
Eric van der Els of McMahon won the individual event in 15:52, but Harrison Block and Kyle Beaudette led the Spartans’ group effort as Amity set a school record by taking the team title with 93 points Saturday at the CIAC state championships at Wickham Park. Staples was second with 106 points and Danbury third with 128.
It’s the first time the Spartans have ever won back-to-back state titles.
“I’m very pleased,” Amity boys cross country coach Bob Orgovan said. “I’ve been coaching for 39 years and we’ve won the title six times but this is the first time we’ve done it back to back. Harrison Block and Kyle Beaudette were the two top guys who led us.
“Any time you get first in this meet it’s great for the program. But this one is special. We thought it would be close with some tough teams and it was.”
Block took seventh in 16:12, Beaudette was ninth in 16:14, Matthew Arovas was 20th in 16:43 and Connor Crane was 26th in 16:59.
“We all put in a lot of hard work for this the past four years,” Block said. “Defending our title was one of our big goals for the season. Amity teams have won titles here and there but we wanted to prove that last year’s team wasn’t a one-hit wonder.
“Now this sets us up for the rest of the season and gives us confidence going into the State Open (Friday at Wickham Park).”
Class MM: Ben Siciliano leads Guilford to first state title since 2012
East Lyme’s Vann Moffett and Guilford’s Ben Siciliano were running side by side at the 1,00o meter mark, surging back and forth for the lead.
With 600 meters to go Moffett decided to make his move. Siciliano didn’t have the late kick he needed to stay with Moffett who won in 16:17 and last year’s champion Patrick Briody of E.O. Smith ended up second in 16:19.
Siciliano ended up third in 16:22 but the benefit of the top three finish is it helped the Indians win their first Class MM team title since 2012.
“We knew we had a chance to win the team title ,” Siciliano said. “At the end of the race we knew we were close with all the guys in good position. It’s great and we worked hard all season.
Guilford scored 70 points to win the title under first year head coach Jon Rivera.
E.O. Smith finished runner-up.
“I knew we had to had to have our best race today,” Rivera said. “Everyone knew what they had to do today. Our top five ran great, I couldn’t be more proud of them. They have worked hard.”
Class SS: Cameron Garrelts wins, leads H-K to another title
Cameron Garrelts knew if he and his teammates ran the way they are capable of running, it would be a special day for the Cougars.
It couldn’t have turned out any better for Haddam-Killingworth.
Garrelts cruised to victory over the 5,000-meter course in 16:25 and Haddam-Killingworth won its second straight team title with 31 points.
— Mary Albl (@MaryAlbl) October 31, 2015
Teammates Andrew Meredith was third in 16:56, Daniel Schumann was fifth in 17:10, Jonah Spector was ninth in 17:31 and Conor McCabe was 15th in 18:06. Connor Levins of Terryville was second in16:50.
For the first time in school history the Haddam-Killingworth boys and girls both won state titles in the same season. The girls also won the Class SS title.
“The first half mile I didn’t want to take it out too hard,” Garrelts said. “I just wanted to settle in and at that (half-mile) point I took the lead and did my best to run fast the rest of the way. This is an amazing feeling, 16:25 is a good time for me.
“We all ran very, very well and we knew coming in if we did that we would be in good position to win the team title.”
Canton was second in the team competition with 147 points followed by Coginchaug (150 points) and Old Lyme (158).
Class L: Michael Stoker of South Windsor wins
As the runners entered the final 2,000 meters of the Class L races, a pack of 10 runners broke away challenging for the lead.
With about 300 meters to go, energized by the cheering crowd heading toward the finish line, Michael Stoker of South Windsor kicked it in to high gear and pulled away. From there he cruised to the win in 16:25.
“I went out slow the first mile or so and about halfway 10 of us started pulling away,” Stoker said. “A couple of us tried make a push. But it wasn’t until coming around the final corner and heading up the hill toward the finish line that I surged ahead.
The team title was won by New Milford once again with 50 points. New Milford had five of the top 15 finishers: Jonathan Davis (4), Lucas Simmonds (6), James Kanes (11), Charles Osborne (12) and Eli Nahom (15).
Justin Hoelzl of Wilton finished second in 16:29 and Army Noonan of Darien was third in 16:39.
The top New Haven area finisher was Michael Deluca of Notre Dame-West Haven in 16th place in 17:15.
Class S: Chris Cassello of Bolton wins
Chris Cassello of Bolton had a game plan entering the Class S boys cross country championship – find the Shepaug runners and stay with them. After all, several Shepaug runners were strong favorites to win.
Running in the lead pack, with about a 1,000 meters to go, he didn’t see any of the Shepaug runners. Coming out of the woods and heading toward the finish line he decided to kick it into high gear and take off.
He did and he won in 16:57. Ed Wolfe of Shepaug ended up second in 17:01 and Erik Quist of Shepaug was third in 17:02. Shane Henderson of Old Saybrook was fourth in 17:11.
“I was following the Shepaug kids but late in the race I couldn’t find them,” Cassello said. “I waited as long as I could, I didn’t see them when I was coming out of the woods so I decided to go. I just took off and ran hard the last 500 meters.
“I finished third here last year as a sophomore. Winning it ths year is pretty special.”
Shepaug won the title with 43 points.
Class M: James Mas wins second straight championship
Defending champion James Mas of St. Joseph wanted to take it a little easy the first half of the Class M race.
As a result the lead changed several times with Mas up front with Tommy Consalvo of Brookfield and Peter Bakker and Gavin Woodward both from Northwestern.
Mas made his move about two miles into the race and did his best to pull away from the front pack He was cruising the last 500 meters and won easily in 16:13. Consalvo was second in 16:22, Bakker was third in 16:28 and Woodward was fourth in 16:36.
“There was a little back and forth going on early in the race,” Mas said. “But after two miles I just went ahead and stayed there. I tried to extend my lead the rest of the way.
“This is unbelievable, to win this two years in a row. Running is not the main thing at our school. But I’m hoping by winning these championships I’m helping to make people aware of cross country.”
The team title was won by Ledyard with 99 points, Brookfield was second (106).