NEW CANAAN >> For all the success he’s had, Darien’s Alex Ostberg has yet to claim a conference cross country title.
The standout senior can now officially cross that off the list.
Monday afternoon at Waveny Park, Ostberg won his first FCIAC Championship title in a blazing time of 14 minutes and 47 seconds, shattering the previous course record of 15:15 set in 2013 by Ridgefield’s Trevor Hopper.
“I mean, some people may be surprised that it’s my first FCIAC win, but at the same time, the FCIAC race is so incredibly deep year after year and even today,” Ostberg said.
Ostberg, who just recently committed to Stanford, said he felt strong throughout the course and knew he had a chance to go under the 15 minute mark.
“I really just tried to focus on what I could control myself,” he said. “So for me, it was more just a personal goal just going out, I wanted to go out in a 4:40 or so first mile and then I knew I could keep up that pace.”
Ostberg said he had his eye on breaking the record.
“Oh course, I had to have been,” Ostberg said with a smile. “I ran 15:18 last year, so I had to go for it this year. I knew I was in much better shape so I’m really ecstatic with the time today.”
While Ostberg shined individually, it was a battle for first place in the team standings as Danbury edged out Staples 58-59.
“It was a close race,” Staples head coach Laddie Lawrence said. “We knew coming in here that it was going to between us, Danbury and Ridgefield if they were healthy. And I think I told them it’s going to be one, two or three points.”
For Danbury, the strategy was to run the fast-paced course together for as long as possible; a plan the Hatters executed to perfection as they placed four runners in the top 15 and five in the top 20.
“We just wanted to keep our pack together, and as tight as possible, for as long as possible and really that’s ultimately what won it for us,” Danbury head coach Rob Murray said. “And it’s a true testament to what cross country is about; it’s just as much about your fifth guy as your first guy.”
The victory for the Hatters was even sweeter as they regained the title from Ridgefield, who won it last fall and snapped Danbury’s seven year streak.
“It’s (the title) the most gratifying because it’s the most competitive I’ve ever seen the conference,” Murray said.
Second place individually went to Spencer Brown of Wilton (15:34), Armstrong Noonan of Darien was third (15:35), Ridgefield’s Gabriel Altopp (15:42) placed fourth and Eric Van der Els rounded out the top five running 15:43.
Staples’ Oliver Hickson led the way for the Wreckers with a time of 15:45 placing sixth. Staples placed three individual in the top 15.
“I was pretty happy with how I ran, it was a PR (personal record), so you can’t complain with that,” Hickson said. “Obviously it’s a little annoying that we didn’t get the team win, but hopefully it will just fuel the fire for states and come out strong there.”
1. Danbury 58, 2. Staples 59, 3. Ridgefield 87, 4. Darien 104, 5. Warde 134, 6. Trumbull 194, 7. New Canaan 209, 8. Ludlowe 216, 9. St. Joseph 232, 10. Wilton 267, 11. Greenwich 276, 12. Norwalk 375, 13. Westhill 382, 14. Stamford 431, 15. Harding 466, 16. Central 511, 17. Bassick 533, 18. Trinity 573