Whether it’s cross country or track, Guilford junior Meredith Bloss just gets better with each passing season.
This fall the All-State and All-Area cross country star hopes to improve even more individually. She also would like to see her team reach a lofty goal.
“My goal is to do whatever it takes to get our team to the State Open,” Bloss said. “We were third in our class last year.”
Individually in 2016, Bloss finished second in the Class MM cross country meet a year ago with a time of 19 minutes, 55 seconds, just three seconds behind Elise Symon of North Haven. She also was fifth in the Southern Connecticut Conference meet. She took 18th place in the State Open meet.
In 2015, Bloss was the No. 4 runner for Guilford in her freshman year and finished 32nd out of 82 runners in the 2015 SCC meet. She also was 19th in the Class MM meet, over a minute and a half slower than in 2016, so she has made up a lot of time.
“Her real breakthrough came in her sophomore year,” Guilford cross country coach Jim Ford said. “She’s come along a lot faster than I thought she would.”
On the track, Bloss has also fared well. In the SCC indoor track meet, she finished second in the 1,600 and 3,200 indoors. Then she won the 3,200 outdoors, while finishing third in the 1,600. She also finished fifth in the State Open and seventh in the New England outdoor meet.
The success for Bloss has come in three years. It wasn’t until in eighth grade when she decided to run competitively after being dared by her friends.
“When I was younger, I was too afraid to join an actual team, but then I loved it,” Bloss said. “At first, it was very hard and it seemed impossible since I wasn’t sure what I could do. As the season went on, I learned to push my boundaries and it got easier with time.”
Once she got into high school, she learned even more.
“It’s more competitive and practices are more structured,” Bloss said. “It helped me become a better runner. I also learned to push myself and not let the older runners scare me.”
Some athletes come into high school heralded, but Bloss wasn’t that way.
“Her freshman year, she did OK, but she pushed out to a different level last year and was consistent,” Ford said. “During indoor track season, she did a little bit better and in outdoor a little better. She’s gotten better each season.”
This fall, Guilford has moved up to Class L, which means Bloss and the Indians will have stiffer competition. Defending State Open champ Morgan McCormick of Wilton was 57 seconds faster in the 2016 race, which means Bloss has a lot of time to make up.
“I know in indoor track, I wasn’t far behind her,” Bloss said. “A lot of runners ahead of me graduated, so I’d like to get into the top 10, maybe the top five.”
In the SCC, Lauren Daddi of Cheshire will be her biggest competition this fall. Daddi finished third in the SCC meet, 17 seconds ahead of Bloss.
“She’s not going to make the big jumps she did earlier in her career, but will develop more,” Ford said. “She works hard at it and if she stays healthy, she’ll be in contention to win a state title.”
Down the line, Ford thinks Bloss can run in college, most likely at the Division II or II level.
“She could run at some Division I schools in the state,” Ford said. “She’s highly motivated and trains well, but she’s a good student too.”