BETHEL — She didn’t waste a second.
As soon as the starter’s pistol went off at the start of the South-West Conference girls cross country championship race, Pomperaug High School sophomore Kate Wiser bolted to the front of the pack. By the time she reached the far end of the grassy field in front of the starting line — not more than a few hundred meters into the race — she was already pulling away.
When she crossed the finish line after a five-kilometer jaunt on the Mark Goodwin Cross Country Course at Bethel High School, not another competitor was in sight, and she had barely broken a sweat.
Wiser, who had burst onto the scene last year by winning the SWC title as a freshman, captured her second SWC crown on Wednesday, this time with a course-record time of 17:40.1.
“I wanted to start out hard,” she said, and she wasn’t kidding around. Her closest competitor finished more than a minute and a half behind. Had Wiser run in the boys race, she would have finished 24th and earned second-team All-SWC honors.
— Ryan Lacey (@RyanLacey11) October 17, 2018
In the girls team scoring, Immaculate won its first title since 2013 with 53 points. After two seasons of taking runner-up honors behind Pomperaug, the Mustangs turned the tables on the Panthers, who finished second. Immaculate’s top five were Taylor Mascetta in fourth (19:23.70), Ailene Doherty in 10th (19:54.38), Kaitlyn Segretti in 12th (20:06.75), Angela Saidman in 13th (20:15.82) and Natalie Dudas in 14th (20:19.37). Also for the Mustangs, Christina Carboni took 23rd (20:51.08) — she didn’t figure into the final score, but she still earned a second-team All-SWC spot — and Maura Murphy finished 39th (22:06.62).
“I knew that if we kept a pack mentality and all ran our best races, we could pull out a win,” said Mascetta, one of only four seniors to finish in the top 12 and earn first-team All-SWC recognition. “It feels so good to win. We’ve worked so hard this season.”
Pomperaug and New Milford finished tied for second with 77 points apiece. Using the sixth runner tiebreaker, Pomperaug moved into second place.
“All the girls have worked extremely hard this season and over the summer,” Wiser said. “I’m really proud of all of them.”
Rounding out Pomperaug’s lineup were Madison Villa in ninth (19:53.59), Nina Koobatian in 21st (20:50.15), Amanda Kugler in 22nd (20:50.42), Kathleen Schenk in 24th (21:01.24), Molly Flanagan in 27th (21:23.48) and Ivy Walker in 29th (21:32.98).
For New Milford, Claire Daniels finished second (19:16.10), followed by Brooke Morabito in fifth (19:24.61), Kathleen Delaney in eighth (19:51.17), Shannon Palmer in 17th (20:38.57), Julia Colley in 45th (22:42.00), Jessica Baranowski in 51st (23:05.88) and Olivia Smith in 53rd (23:46.48).
With Wister so quickly out in front, a battle ensued for second place. Daniels, a freshman, said she moved into second place about halfway through the race and held her position the rest of the way.
“I just knew she was really fast, and I wasn’t going to try to keep up with her,” Daniels said of Wiser.
Weston freshman Mie Axelsson finished third (19:23.11), edging Mascetta by a fraction of a second. Mascetta finished less than a second ahead of Morabito, who was followed by Brookfield’s Juliet Bussell in sixth (19:31.43) and New Fairfield’s Hazel Hudson in seventh (19:34.79).
— Ryan Lacey (@RyanLacey11) October 17, 2018
SWC CROSS COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIPS
Mark Goodwin Cross Country Course, 5k,
Bethel High School
Girls team scores: 1. Immaculate 53; 2. Pomperaug 77 (won tiebreaker); 3. New Milford 77; 4. New Fairfield 86; 5. Newtown 111; 6. Weston 139; 7. Brookfield 177; 8. Bethel 225; 9. Joel Barlow 245; 10. Masuk 306; 11. Bunnell 329.
Top individuals: 1. Kate Wiser, Pomperaug, 17:40.01; 2. Claire Daniels, New Milford, 19:16.10; 3. Mie Axelsson, Weston, 19:23.11; 4. Taylor Mascetta, Immaculate, 19:23.70; 5. Brooke Morabito, New Milford, 19:24.61; 6. Juliet Bussell, Brookfield, 19:31.43; 7. Hazel Hudson, New Fairfield, 19:34.79; 8. Kathleen Delaney, New Milford, 19:51.17; 9. Madison Villa, Pomperaug, 19:53.59; 10. Ailene Doherty, Immaculate, 19:54.38; 11. Samantha Ruggiero, New Fairfield, 19:59.68; 12. Kaitlyn Segreti, Immaculate, 20:06.75; 13. Angela Saidman, Immaculate, 20:15.82; 14. Natalie Dudas, Immaculate, 20:19.57; 15. Kayla Cohen, New Fairfield, 20:33.84; 16. Rylee Harrell, Newtown, 20:37.51; 17. Shannon Palmer, New Milford, 20:38.57; 18. Olivia Hage, Newtown, 20:43.69; 19. Emily Tressler, Newtown, 20:45.00; 20. Miranda Anastasakis, Bethel, 20:47.11; 21. Nina Koobatian, Pomperaug, 20:50.15; 22. Amanda Kugler, Pomperaug, 20:50.42; 23. Christina Carboni, Immaculate, 20:51.08; 24. Kathleen Schenk, Pomperaug, 21:01.24; 25. Jordan Siemonsen, New Fairfield, 21:11.74.