Meredith Bloss was expected to be among the top runners in the area this past fall.
But the Guilford junior did even better than even she expected with her biggest accomplishment, finishing third in the State Open. Along with a Southern Connecticut Conference championship, those are among the reasons for Bloss being named the New Haven Register’s Area MVP.
It’s been a quick rush to the top for Bloss, who has made a quick climb to being one of the top runners in the state. She is the first Guilford girls’ cross country runner to win the SCC, finish in the top 10 in the State Open and make the All-New England team.
“During freshman year, I never thought I could get up this far,” Bloss said. “Freshman year, I was just average.”
However, Bloss dominated the SCC season in 2017, including the SCC championship meet. There she ran a 19:17 to win the race by 56 seconds over Elisabeth Brown of Sheehan.
“The goal was for me to win it and for the team to win it,” Bloss said.
The CIAC Class L meet was challenging for Bloss as the top two runners in the state in Morgan McCormick of Wilton and freshman Katherine Wiser of Pomperaug were in the same race. Bloss finished third at 19:13 at Wickham Park in Manchester. That helped Guilford finished second to Pomperaug in the meet.
“As the season progressed, I felt if she stayed healthy she could finish in the top five,” Guilford coach Jim Ford said. “She was close enough that I felt she could be in the mix of the better runners. She was willing to go out with the top people in the race. That’s because she’s a lot more confident this year than she had been in her freshman and sophomore years.
The same three finished 1-2-3 in the State Open. McCormick won the race at 18:23, while Bloss ran a 19:28, while helping the Indians to a fourth-place overall finish.
“It was unexpected,” Bloss said. “I didn’t think I could finish third in the state.”
In 2016, Bloss finished 41st in the New England Open. Last month, she finished 13th at Troy Howard Middle School in Belfast, Maine. Bloss completed the course in 18:33.65, slightly over a minute behind championship Julia Robitaille of Manchester West, N.H., who won it with a time of 17:40.55.
Guilford finished 20th as a team.
“We were just all about qualifying for it,” Bloss said. “That’s all we really cared about.”
Just two weeks ago, Bloss ran in the Foot Locker Northeast Regional, finishing 18th out of runners from 11 states.
How did it all happen this year?
“I focused a little more on nutrition,” Bloss said. “A lot of runners make the mistake of not eating enough or not eating good food.”
As far as cross country goes for next year, she has two goals.
“To maintain a top 1-2 spot with Wiser and have the team qualify for the Open again,” Bloss said.
In the meantime, she Bloss didn’t get much time off as she’s already joined the Guilford High indoor track team. She’ll run both the 1600 and 3200, while occasionally racing in the 1K.
As for the future in cross country, Ford said Bloss could run a sub-18 minute race next year.
“We’ll try to make some improvements this winter and follow up in the outdoor track season,” Ford said. “Staying healthy is a big part of that, but she’s made improvements each season.”
Improvement enough to go from average to MVP.