The cross country season picked up steam this past week as a host of invitational races across the state pitted many of the top runners and teams against one another. The early-season tuneup led to some fast times and competitive action.
Stratton Brook: The Staples boys team captured the Stratton Brook Invite on Saturday with a score of 33 points, seven fewer than runner-up Glastonbury. Tomahawks junior Jacob Smith won the race in 16:50, ahead of a trio — Nick Taubenheim, Mayo Smith and Morgan Fierro — of Wreckers. Smith finished 10 seconds in front of his closest competitor.
On the girls side, Simsbury’s Dagny Edwards ran a 20:17 to take top spot. The Staples girls teams team easily won the team event by placing five runners in the top 10; Tori Greenberg finished third overall in 21:00.
Wilton: Shelton’s Robert Dillon was the first to cross the finish line at the Wilton Invitational on Saturday, winning the race in 16:10.14. The senior won by more than eight seconds ahead of Prep’s Azaan Dawson (16:18.53). The Gaels won the team race behind Dillon’s effort, along with two other runners in the top 10, scoring 79 points to beat Pomperaug (113).
Pomperaug’s Kate Wiser cruised to the girls win, winning by almost a minute (14:21.25) ahead of Angela Braga of Glastonbury (15:19.06). New York’s Kellenberg Memorial won the team portion.
River Valley: Nonnewaug’s Eddie Nicholas finished first in the CT River Valley Invite, a race that also took place Saturday, in Cromwell. Nicholas completed the course in 16:18.05; East Hampton placed three runners in the top six to win the team event.
Old Saybrook finished first on the girls side as Grace Hanratty finished fourth overall in 20:12. Avon’s Rhiannon Richmond won the race (19:23) to lead her squad to second overall.
READY, SET AND GO
Manchester Invitational, Saturday at Derryfield Park, Manchester, New Hampshire: The site of the New England championship will draw many of the top schools in the region. Hall, Manchester, Conard, Immaculate and Pomperaug are just several of the teams going.
Ocean State Invitational, Saturday at Goddard Park, East Greenwich, Rhode Island: Another out-of-state competitive race for schools to get a taste of the postseason.
Southington, Glastonbury and Farmington, Tuesday at Winding Trails, Farmington: The Tomahawks are ranked tops in the state on the girls side early in the season.
Westhill, Staples, Ludlowe, Wilton, Tuesday at Allens Field, Wilton: An FCIAC quad meet that features the defending conference champions.
New Milford, New Fairfield, Pomperaug, Tuesday at Pomperaug: Many of the top runners and teams from the SWC will be present.