BETHEL — Newtown girls cross country coach Christina Caron got the good news at the earliest possible moment thanks to a familiar voice.
Her husband Mark is the Athletic Director at Bethel High School, and in charge of the scoring at the SWC championships. When the results were tabulated he delivered the phone call that sent her and her squad into delirium.
The Nighthawks scored the upset Friday, beating defending champion Immaculate with a score of 67 ahead of the Mustangs’ 75. Pomperaug, Bethel and New Milford rounded out the top five as the Nighthawks earned their first title since 2015.
“It was pretty cool to have an inside track right to the results,” Christina Caron joked. “I was very happy, very emotional. I’m just really proud of how the girls raced today. We didn’t expect to win but we thought we had a chance, the girls have been running well all season.”
Pomperaug junior Kate Wiser strolled to her third straight SWC title through the course named after her legendary coach. Mark Goodwin has seen plenty of talented female distance runners in his time, but few if any compare to the junior he’s leading at the moment.
Wiser clocked in with a time of 17:52.14
“It was really exciting, I like this course a lot,” said Wiser, who hasn’t raced much this season but is about to be busy with states and New Englands set at Wickham Park over the next few weeks. “It was fun to come out and run this. … I haven’t been pushed much this year so it’s always nice to have competition and run faster times.”
“We’re starting the hard races and each one is going to get progressively harder,” Goodwin said. “She gets better in workouts, so when she gets in a race she can do what she needs to do. She’s running with a lot of experience and confidence.”
The most dramatic battle was for second as a pair of talented sophomores in New Milford’s Claire Daniels (18:48.23) and Bethel’s Ava Graham (18:49.85) battled for second the entire course. Daniels trailed for much of the race, but out-sprinted her foe on the Bethel track to secure the runner-up spot for a second straight season.
“I was nervous because she had beat me a lot in track (last season),” said Daniels. “She had a really good kick; I didn’t think I would beat her until the very end and I decided to just go for it. She was pretty far ahead of me until the beast. I was really happy because I wasn’t expecting it, honestly.”
The Mustangs were led by Ailene Doherty’s fourth-place finish while Kayla Ondy was sixth (20:08.02). Immaculate placed in the top two for a fourth straight season.
Newtown placed six runners in the top 20 as part of the dominating day. Rylee Harrell (20:27.56) and Emily Tressler (20:29.11) finished seventh and eighth respectively and have been running with one another all season long.
“That was expected, that’s happened the whole season,” Harrell said. “One of us falls back and we always catch up to each other and end up within 10 seconds.”
“We use each other in the race to go by others; we find each other,” Tressler added.
Wiser (Class MM), Daniels (Class L) and Graham (Class M) are all in great shape to contend for state titles next week at Wickham Park. The Class meets are slated for Saturday.
“I’m excited to go back to Wickham and run that course, it should be fun,” Wiser said.
SWC Girls Cross Country Championships
1. Kate Wiser (Pomperaug) 17:52.14; 2. Claire Daniels (New Milford) 18:48.23; 3. Ava Graham (Bethel) 18:49.85; 4. Aileen Doherty (Immaculate) 19:51. 10; 5. Maddie Villa (Pomperaug) 19:56.90; 6. Kayla Ondy (Immaculate) 20:08.02; 7. Rylee Harrell (Newtown) 20:27.56; 8. Emily Tressler (Newtown) 20:29.11; 9. Hazel Hudson (New Fairfield) 20:32.69; 10. Amber Borofsky (Barlow) 20:53.18; 11. Miranda Anastasakis (Bethel) 21:01.10; 12. Brigid Gage (Immaculate) 21:07.81; 13. Sydney Kelleher (New Milford) 21:12.05; 14. Keelin Bremner (Immaculate) 21:15.32; 15. Maddie Fetchick (Newtown) 21:15.75; 16. Ashley Hubert (New Fairfield) 21:23.49; 17. Lauren Gallagher (Bethel) 21:26.62; 18. Courtney Henchcliffe (Newtown) 21:30.24; 19. Emily Litke (Newtown) 21:37.67; 20. Hallie Filan (Newtown) 21:39.09.
Team scores: 1. Newtown 67; 2. Immaculate 75; 3. Pomperaug 80; 4. Bethel 93; 5. New Milford 102; 6. New Fairfield 123; 7. Barlow 168; 8. Weston 213; 9. Brookfield 240; 10. Masuk; 11. Bunnell 318.