Manchester, Connecticut -Wednesday, November 1, 2019: 12th place finisher Charles Namiot of Ridgefield H.S., right, runs toward the finish line during the CIAC Boys Cross Country Open Championship Friday at Wickham Park in Manchester.
Last fall as juniors, Charles Namiot and Charlie King came up just short of delivering the Ridgefield cross country program its first FCIACchampionship since 2013.
Ridgefield was the runner-up in that race behind Staples, a team that had just claimed its fourth straight FCIAC title.
When the 2020 season became reality, the duo of best friends knew they would get a chance at redemption. Though there were no state meets offered and the FCIAC was split into three races, Ridgefield and Staples would face off again.
In a year filled with disappointment for many, Namiot and King capped off their high school careers not only as GameTimeCT 1st Team All-State Selections, but as FCIAC champions for the first time.
King won the FCIAC Central Championship on November 4th, while Namiot finished second just 1.4 seconds behind.
With the help of four other top-ten finishers, Ridgefield cruised to the title over Staples as the official season came to a close.
“It felt good to go out together on top,” Namiotsaid. “Staples had been winning for so long, and I really like those guys, but it felt good to be on top. They were so dominant in the past few years and this year we had that.”
The final race marked the end of a journey that took off throughout King and Namiot’ssophomore year.
“It has been a really crazy journey together,” King said. “Coming into our freshman year, both of us were far from remarkable at running track and cross country. It wasn’t until our sophomore years where we discovered our love for the sport.”
Since that year, the best friends went from relatively unknown to one of the most dangerous combinations in the state. And they have each other to thank for it.
“We have been really close since sophomore year,” Namiot said. “That year we both got a lot faster and I think our friendship drove that. It had been really great to have him on the team, especially as a training partner.”
Namiot then finished 38th in the Class LL Championship and 62nd in the State Open and King placed 67th in Class LL and 99th in the Open.
“I remember Chucky (Namiot) got down into the sixteen-minute range his sophomore year,” King said. “That same year I was able to get down to a 4:24 mile in outdoor track.”
It was the first of many improvements the pair would make together.
“Taking that step forward alongside him was incredible,” King said. “Since then we have always had a training buddy for everything we do. In cross country and for some of the longer workouts in terms of mileage, it is really nice to have him there to push me through it, and I know I do the same thing for him in the shorter distance workouts as well.”
In the first race of the 2019 cross country season, it became clear something special was happening at Ridgefield.
“We knew we had a solid team, so we put in a lot of work over the summer together,” Namiotsaid. “We were confident we were going to do well.”
The training paid off as the two cross country clones used each other for simultaneous improvement.
“We train so well together in cross country because our skill sets are very close in the 5K,” Namiot said. “We’re usually just a couple of seconds off if you look at our results.”
Ridgefield finished third in the 2019 Class LL Championship, led once again by Namiot and King who both crossed the finish line in exactly 16:35 for 14th and 15th place.
In the State Open, Ridgefield placed third again, but it was Namiot who made the largest impact individually.
Namiot was named a GameTimeCT All-State selection after a 12th-place finish in 16:35 for the second consecutive race.
King finished 33rd in that race with a time of 16:56 as the two left a strong impression heading into their senior season.
In Ridgefield’s opening meet this season against Wilton, Namiot placed second in 17:15with King just behind him in 17:15.01 for third.
Five days later in a dual meet with Staples, Namiot and King placed first and second with times of 16:23.4 and 16:23.7.
Ridgefield made easy work of its FCIACopponents in the regular season and completed the season on a high note, taking the FCIACCentral title over Staples.
King was crowned the FCIAC Central individual champion, finishing in 16:09.8 while Namiotcrossed second in 16:11.2.
Though this powerhouse Ridgefield team might have had a shot at winning the Class LL Championship or State Open, Namiot and King took advantage of the opportunities they were given to end their high school careers on a high.
“It is really neat looking back at our careers,” King said. “Seeing how it all started and how it all came together.”
Namiot also finished 11th in both the Northeast XC Club Championships and the East Coast Championships as an unaffiliated runner. Now Namiot and King look forward to potentially running together in indoor and outdoor track.