MIDDLETOWN >> Middletown’s boys and girls cross-country teams finished their dual meet seasons in style by overwhelming Bulkeley (Hartford) on the Veterans’ Park course Tuesday afternoon.
The boys team won 15-49, while the girls team won 16-47.
Both teams now enter the postseason and first up is the Wickham Park Invitational in Manchester this Saturday. There are three categories in that event. The championship event consists of the top teams from Connecticut, New York and Rhode Island. There are also seeded and unseeded divisions.
The Wickham Invite will be followed by the Central Connecticut Conference championship meet next Wednesday at 3 p.m. That race will also be held at Wickham Park.
“I was pleased with the girls today,” said Blue Dragons coach Jenn Price. “My top four girls all dropped times.”
The girls winner was junior Courtney Pusz in a time of 23 minutes and 21 seconds over the 3.1 mile course. Second was sophomore Ashley Comeau (23:32), third was sophomore Jamie Grossman (23:51) and fourth was freshman Jackie Pawlak (26:24).
“I have a young team, obviously,” said Price. “But the girls have come along well all season. Their average pace per mile has been improving for most of them.”
Price has 12 on her team, which she said is about average.
“I’m happy with 12,” she said. “Of course, I’d love to have 30, but I’m happy.”
The girls finished the dual meet season at 5-2, behind Berlin and Bristol Central in the CCC’s South Division.
“Berlin is the class of the division this season,” said Price. “Our goal is to hold onto third place at the championship meet. We beat Bristol Eastern by just a point, so we don’t want them to jump ahead of us.”
At the CCC meet all 32 schools run at once, but the standings are then broken down by division.
The Blue Dragons top boys finishers on Tuesday were winner Ben Schaff with a time of 18:41. Second was Matt Alvarez (18:43), third was Nate Roy (18:43), fourth was Evan Dunn (18:44) and fifth was Tyler Mann (19:01).
“Our times weren’t great today,” said coach Robert Weston. “But that was OK because I wanted the kids to run as a group. In our meets this season, Alvarez and Schaff finished in the top 10 every time.”
Weston went on to say that Dunn and Roy were generally about 30 seconds behind the top two. Dunn is a sophomore and Weston said he has a “bright future.”
Middletown finished the dual met season a strong 6-1.
“I was a bit surprised we did so well,” said Weston, whose team finished a strong second at the Blue Dragon Invitational in mid-September. “The kids really ran well this season. They were much better than I expected.
“Had I known how good we were going to be, I would have entered us in the seeded division at Wickham, which is for teams with winning records. But you have to declare before the season.”
Weston, a Middletown High alumnus and a first-year coach, said his team will be in the Wickkam’s unseeded division.
After the Wickham Invitational comes the CCC meet.
“We lost to Bristol Central, but the team has improved a lot over the past three weeks,” said Weston. “We hope to be able to beat Central and win the division championship at the league meet.”
Then comes the state Class L championship meet and Weston has high hopes.
“I think Alvarez and Schaff have a shot to qualify for the open at the Class L meet,” he said.
Both the Class L (Oct. 26) and Open (Nov. 1) will be held at Wickham Park.