NEW CANAAN — The first time the Brunswick School cross country team competed against Hopkins School this season it edged the rival Hilltoppers by three points. The second time the Bruins and Hilltoppers raced against each other, Brunswick pulled out a two-point victory.
So what happened when Brunswick and Hopkins competed in the FAA Championships on Tuesday?
It was the Bruins by a single point.
Brunswick continued its reign of supremacy in the FAA by the narrowest of margins, winning the championship meet for the fifth straight year with a team score of 33 points at Waveny Park. Hopkins placed second with 34 points, followed by Rye Country Day School (89) and Masters School (113).
The Bruins and Hilltoppers each had four runners finish among the top 10, but Brunswick’s third and fourth runners, placed sixth and ninth, while Hopkins’ were eighth and 10th.
“It’s really exciting, every single race against Hopkins has been within a margin of three points,” Brunswick senior co-captain Wesley Peisch said. “We’ve gone undefeated the past few years, but we were worried we weren’t going to be undefeated this year. So winning this meet is a huge relief.”
Hopkins sophomore Nicolas Burston won the 3.1-mile race in 16:03.
“Ultimately, I’m pretty happy with my performance, even though I thought I went out too fast,” Burston said. “Everyone on our team raced super well, people put themselves in position to succeed. We made it as close as we possibly could against Brunswick.”
Peisch finished second, crossing the finish line in 17:08.7. Hopkins senior Jonah Norwitt took third with a time of 17:16.1
“The first runner from Hopkins is an incredible runner, so I knew my race was against their second runner,” Peisch said. “He is also a great runner. I got my personal-record on this course today by competing against him.”
Sabian Grier of Masters was fourth (17:20.3), while Brunswick sophomores Andres Jasson (17:41.4) and Kyle Raker (17:44.8) placed fifth and sixth, respectively.
“Kyle and Andres are former soccer players, who have become some of the best runners in the league,” Bruins coach Steve Polikoff said. “This sport requires depth and each meet, we’ve had guys step up. Every race we’ve had with Hopkins has been decided in the last quarter of a mile. This rivalry is what makes this sport so majical.”
Thomas Arnold, a St. Luke’s eighth-grader finished seventh in 17:58.5, with senior Connor Hartigan of Hopkins placing eighth with a time of 17:59.5. Brunswick senior captain Jack Driscoll (18:09.8) and Hopkins junior Joseph Stauff (18:17.2) rounded out the top 10.
“It was tough this year, because we have such a small team (18 runners), and we had a lot of injuries,” Driscoll said. “We had to pull through with good times to be successful and that’s how we came out on top. We knew we had to beat certain guys.”
Sophomore Chris Ramos was key for the Bruins, placing 11th with a time of 18:19.
“As I was coming down the hill trying to beat a guy, I kind of sprinted and I threw up,” Ramos said. “Everyone was like, ‘wow’ Chris is going really fast. It feels amazing to win this meet again.”
Said Polikoff: “We needed a breakout day and Chris Ramos had a breakout day for us. He is the one who tilted the balance for our team.”
The top 10 finishers were named to the All-FAA Team. Those placing 11-20 made Honorable Mention. Freshman Charlie Garland of Brunswick was 17th (18:57.6) and junior Charlie Ciporin finished 20th (19:06.1). John Kennedy, a junior had King’s top finish (18th, 18:59.2) and senior Connor Calzone was 21st for Greens Farms Academy (19:12.6).
“All year we needed every single kid to step up and the leadership of Driscoll and Peisch helped our kids believe they could raise their performance level,” Polikoff said.