WATERTOWN — Nonnewaug’s girls and Northwestern’s boys defended their Berkshire League cross country team titles Friday afternoon at Watertown’s Black Rock State Park.
The Chiefs took home their fourth straight crown, the Highlanders, their second, but the winning margins came as happy surprises.
Nonnewaug’s undefeat girls (9-0) beat second-place Shepaug by 17 points (38-55) behind Helene Berger (2nd); Carly Andrew (5th); Jennie Schwartz (7th); Jackie Berger (10th); and Madeleine Woodward (14th) four days after squeaking past the Spartans by just three points in a dual meet at Nonnewaug even though Shepaug’s Emma Krebs reversed Monday’s individual outcome at the top over Berger.
“We ran really well today,” said Nonnewaug Coach Arleigh Duff, citing Monday’s narrow win and a chance for their four-peat as big incentives Friday. “The girls have worked hard.”
The individual win for Krebs was bittersweet.
“I like to go out fast and stay there,” said the Shepaug senior shooting for a spot at Division I Lafayette or Northeastern next year. After Monday’s loss, Krebs beat Berger by 30 seconds over the 3.1-mile course Friday.
“The gap grew throughout the race,” she said.
“(Black Rock Park) is a harder course,” said Berger, a sophomore turning in her second straight league runner-up performance.
Northwestern’s surprise in its boys win was the result of more volume than pure speed at the top.
Terryville’s Corey Picard passed Nonnewaug senior Elias Field 800 meters from the finish line, but the Highlanders followed in waves as all seven team members (only the top five count) flooded in – Connor Spencer, 5th; Brandon Beland, 8th; Jack Kaszas, 9th; Joshua Magini, 10th; Sam Schwartz, 11th; Chris Grenfell, 12th; and Alex Beauchene, 13th.
The result was a 43-78 romp over second-place Terryville.
“I didn’t expect us to win by that much,” said Coach Alison Beauchene.
The undefeated Highlanders (9-0) have won handily all year, but Beauchene saw that as a possible trap at the league meet.
“I wanted the group to keep the goal in focus,” she said.
Picard, a Terryville senior who finished fifth a year ago, did that throughout his undefeated individual season.
“I’m used to being the underdog, so there was a lot more pressure this year,” he said, describing Friday’s race as multiple jockeying for position before that final 800 meters and his first finish under 17 minutes (16:39.2)
Field, a senior at Northwestern heading for a running spot at CCSU, beat Picard in the league’s pre-season scrimmage, then found Picard getting stronger and stronger through the regular season, finally out-kicking him in a course Field finds too slow.
Both winning team prospects look bright for addition to their strings next year. Nonnewaug’s top three girls finishers are two sophomores and a freshman. Northwestern’s boys graduate their top three finishers, but look at all those Highlander runners behind them.
Berkshire League Cross Country Championships
At Black Rock State Park,
Watertown (3.1 miles)
Girls: 1. Nonnewaug 38; 2. Shepaug Valley 55; 3. Lewis Mills 91; 4. Thomaston 95; 5. Northwestern 110; 6. Housatonic Valley Regional 163; 7. Wamogo 183; 8. Gilbert 214; 9. Terryville 219.
Boys: 1. Northwesxtern 43; 2. Terryville 78; 3. Nonnewaug 96; 4. Shepaug Valley 97; 5. Lewis Mills 117; 6. Thomaston 141; 7. Litchfield 178; 8. Gilbert 205; 9. Wamogo 227; 10. Housatonic Valley Regional 306.
Top 10 Individuals
Girls: 1. Emma Krebs, Shepaug, 20:09.4; 2. Helene Berger, Nonnewaug20:39.6; 3. Elisa Afouni, Shepaug, 20:54.6; 4. Christina Gubetta, Northwestern, 20:59.1; 5. Carly Andrew, Nonnewaug 21:04; 6. Maegan Desmariais, Thomaston, 21:06.9; 7. Jennie Schwartz, Nonnewaug, 21:15.4; 8. Aileen Rosa, Shepaug, 21:24.5; 9. Alexis Kacmarcik, Gilbert, 21:34.5; 10. Jacquelin Berger, Nonnewaug, 21:51.
Boys: 1. Corey Picard, Terryville, 16:39.2; 2. Elias Field, Nonnewaug, 16:46.2; 3. Chris DeForest, Terryville, 16:58.6; 4. Eddy Nicholas, Nonnewaug, 17:08.3; 5. Connor Spencer, Northwestern, 17:09.3; 6. Jack McCarron, Shepaug, 17:15.1; 7. Chandler Wetherbee, Shepaug, 17:29.7; 8. Brandon Beland, Northwestern, 17:36.2; 9. Jack Kaszas, Northwestern, 17:38.6; 10. Joshua Mangini, Northwestern, 17:36.8.