As the boy’s and girl’s cross country teams rode the bus to the state class meet on Saturday Oct. 27, memories of last year, running in the snow, ran through their minds. The memories became more distant though, as the teams arrived on a perfect fall day.
They arrived in time to watch the first races of the morning, Class L, which had many FCIAC rivals including Warde, Darien, and Wilton. Then, it was time for the girls to race. Like FCIACS, the race started out fast but since it was longer, the pace settled and gave everyone a chance to take their place in the race.
DeBalsi took 2nd in the race with a time of 19:14, followed by Hefnaway in 29th, Smith in 53rd, Kursten in 85th, Corbally in 89th, Parmar in 92nd, and O’Kane in 95th. Both DeBalsi and Hefnaway ran times that qualified them for the state open championships. DeBalsi won all-state honors and goes into opens with the second best time overall. Hefnaway made opens in a three-way tie for 30th place
The boys race followed right after the girls. Wynne won the race in a time of 15:49, followed by Hickson in 31st, Nolan in 47th, Elkind in 63rd, Cohen in 84th, Berman in 91st, and Payne in 118th. The team qualified for the open championship as a wildcard based on their overall time. Wynne goes into opens with the top time.
As teams, both the boys and girls finished 9th by place and 7th by time in class LL. For most of the girls, this was their last meet of the season and for the senior girls, their last high school cross-country race ever. While the ending is sad, the girls couldn’t have asked for a better season nor a better meet to end it all.
Everyone looks forward to going to watch all the qualifiers as they take on the green monster one last time for the season. This week, they will try to fit some training in around hurricane Sandy.
Thursday, Oct. 18 marked the girl’s and boy’s cross-country teams first championship meet of the season- FCIACs. The weather was just right, the leaves were bright and beautiful, the course was flat, and the competition was ready. The perfect day for a cross-country meet.
The meet started with the freshman races, a great opportunity for these new runners to race against their peers. Based on unofficial scoring by the coaches, both the freshman boys and girls won their respective races. Some notable finishes from the boys were Campbell Marsh (4th), Connor Rainey (7th), Jackson Daines (11th), Arthur Kulis (17th), and Chase Emilio (28th). For the girls were Melissa Alvarado (5th), Cassie Cohen (9th), Kristin Munley (12th), Anna Eichhorn (13th), and Caroline O’Kane (19th).
In the JV races, both Jake Berman (3rd) and Elisabeth French (6th) won medals for their performances. Again based on the unofficial scores, the JV girls finished in 4th place and the boys took 6th place.
The varsity races were faster than ever, with course records being set on both sides. Henry Wynne won for the boys in a record time of 15:23. Hannah DeBalsi placed 3rd with a time of 14:34. Her goal going into the meet was to beat one of the girls who beat her during the regular season- and she did. Following these Staples leaders were Erica Hefnaway (22nd), Georgia Kursten (49th), Katharine Smith (51st), Angie Parmar (53rd), Alexandra O’Kane (57th), and Caroline Corbally (63rd) on the girls side and Patrick Nolan (8th), Oliver Hickson (14th), Sam Cohen (15th), Peter Elkind (30th), Brad Payne (35th), and Marcus Russi (42nd) for the boys.
The finishers in the top 30 in both races won All-FCIAC honors, with places 1-15 as first team and 16-30 as second team. The boy’s placed second overall, while the girls were 8th. The boys were happy to beat Darien after losing to them earlier in the season.
From both teams, there was a great enthusiasm before, during, and after the races. Caroline Koenig was there to cheer everyone on, a definite highlight especially for the girls. They continued the season’s theme of dedicating their race to Caroline. Many runners ran their personal best, beating their times from last year by minutes, running their fastest paces of the season, and beating runners they previously lost to.
With the state class meet next weekend, as well as the JV Invitational at Bethel and the Freshman Invitational at Fairfield Prep this coming week, the teams will continue training into the big meets to come.
The tradition of senior day is one that the entire team looks forward to as the cross-country season begins to wind down. It is hard to imagine that the last home meet is done; it was on Tuesday Oct. 9 against Warde and Westhill.
For the seniors, this meet is bittersweet- it is a celebration of the past 3 years of memories on the team but is also a reminder of an ending that is soon to come. For the juniors, it is a step into the role of responsibility and a fun time to celebrate. And for the underclassmen, it is a time to see the bonds that form over the years between teammates.
Tuesday morning, the girl’s team got together for breakfast in the cafeteria. Everyone but the seniors wore shirts saying “Who Run the World? Our Senior Girls” with the last names of each senior girl. They also made posters for each of the seniors, which they hung in the cafeteria. Then, after the meet was done, there was a ceremony for the seniors, which included flowers, speeches, and a lot of eating.
In terms of the meet, the boys finished with 3 wins and the girls with 1 win and 1 loss, beating Westhill but losing to Warde. DeBalsi finished 3rd overall and Hefnaway finished in 6th. Following these two girls were the following 5 runners, who have been working together in meets and running as a strong pack. This pack includes Kursten, Corbally, Parmar, Smith, and O'Kane. On the boys side, Wynne won the meet with a course record time of 15:56. He was followed by Hickson, Nolan, Cohen, Payne, Marsh, and Russi.
On Tuesday Oct. 2nd, the boy’s and girl’s cross-country teams traveled to Tod’s Point in Greenwich for a meet against Greenwich, Darien, New Canaan, and Brian McMahon. It was a rainy afternoon but nothing to stop the race. The course was partially on the beach, which included running through the sand but then snaked through the woods and up a grassy hill.
The existing terrain and the weather combined into a muddy, sometimes slippery course. Before the race, one of Amanda’s pieces of advice to the girls was to not be afraid of getting dirty. In response, the girls made bets on who would get the muddiest during the race; everyone charged through the puddles and didn’t try to avoid the mud.
As for results, the both teams raced against some of the best teams in the FCIAC, including Darien and Greenwich. The boy’s left with three wins a one loss, while the girls left with a split- two wins and two losses. The Darien boys defeated Staples and the girls were beaten by both Darien and Greenwich. However, the girls were able to win by just one point over New Canaan.
For the girls, DeBalsi ran the entire race with Darien’s Anne Johnson, who ended just 10 seconds before DeBalsi. Both of these girls broke a six-minute pace for the 4K. Following DeBalsi was Hefnaway who took 7th place, Corbally in 13th, Parmar in 20th, and Kursten in 21st.
On the boy’s side, Wynne finished in the lead, backed by Hickson, Nolan, Russi, and Payne in places 5, 8, 17, and 18. Right behind the top 5 were both Berman and McDonald in 18th and 20th places.
This meet marked both team’s last away dual meet of the season and they look forward to their last home meet on Tuesday Oct. 9. In the meantime, they will be traveling to Wickham Park for an invitational on Saturday, where they will race the same course that they will be racing at the State Class meet.
At the beginning of the season, each meet is an experience, a time to learn how to race better. Monday September 24, the girls and the boys traveled to Ludlowe for their third dual meet of the season. For both teams, this was their third race in six days- no better opportunity for as many experiences as possible.
The boys and the girls swept the meet, each leaving with 3 wins. As is starting to become usual, both Wynne and DeBalsi took first place. On the boy’s side, Wynne was backed up by a very strong pack in places 2, 5, 6, and 7 consisting of Hickson, Cohen, Payne, and Elkind. For the rest of the girls, the finish was a bit more spread out, taking 2nd, 4th, 7th, and 9th places. The freshman girls continued their strong support as 6th and 7th for Staples, 11th and 12th overall.
Many boys ran their first varsity race on Tuesday, after consistently running novice for the beginning of the season. As more of a low-key race, this one was a great opportunity to try running for a longer distance in the midst of the top runners. They all finished, some with flying colors.
Now, looking forward to 7 days without a meet, both teams are planning for a week of hard training before traveling to Greenwich on October 2. Rest and recovery are on the list of priorities, in addition to some speed workouts and long runs.
A Taste of Real
Teams travel to Danbury’s Tarrywile Park to race Danbury, Ridgefield, and St. Joe’s
by Alexandra O'Kane
As runners, we pride ourselves on the fact that our sport stops for nothing. We run through the rain and snow, we have practice when no other teams do. Even so, a grassy, muddy cross-country course isn’t exactly ideal in the pouring rain.
The boy’s and girl’s teams were supposed to travel to Danbury’s
Tarrywile Park on Tuesday September 18, but couldn’t due to rainy
weather. They went on Wednesday September 19 instead, and received sunny
skies and perfect running temperatures.
No one on the current teams had ever raced at this course, which consisted of two loops around a grassy area covered in rolling hills. The scene was picturesque- a lake in the middle of the loops and flowery growth in the middle of the smaller loop. It was also true to the nature of cross-country because of the grass, the hills, and the rocky, muddy terrain.
The novice race started off the meet, as usual, and ended with Staples runners in first place for both the boys and the girls. The varsity runners also finished with two Staples leaders, Hannah DeBalsi and Henry Wynne. Both Wynne and DeBalsi continue their streaks of being undefeated by any runners in the FCIAC. They led both teams to 2 wins and a loss- the girl’s lost to Ridgefield and the boys to Danbury. The girls won against Danbury and St. Joe’s, while the boys won against Ridgefield and St. Joe’s.
The girl’s were especially proud of their finishes, in which they all passed a Danbury runner or two. This is most definitely the reason that they were able to beat Danbury by just one point. The girl’s team also had an exciting race for some of the freshman- DeBalsi led a crew of 4 freshman in the varsity race, of which 3 are in the top 7. Angie Parmar and Katherine Smith took places 6 and 7 for Staples and places 21 and 22 overall.
After facing some of the toughest teams in the FCIAC this week, the teams look forward to their invitational this weekend and to the rest of their regular season meets, where they hope to add to their winning records.
September 15th, 2012
Girls and Boys finish 3rd at Windham Invite
by Alexandra O'Kane
On Saturday September 15, the boys and girls teams traveled to the Windham Invitational, where they competed against almost 20 different teams from around the state. There were three races on each side: Freshman, JV, and Varsity. The freshman races were 2 miles long while JV and Varsity ran 3 miles. It was especially exciting to see all the freshman race against others in their own age group.
On the girl’s side, this entire meet was one of extreme improvement. Looking back on the results of last year, every single girl who raced both years ran a faster time this year. The girls were really happy with these times and it got everyone excited going into the rest of the season.
First for Staples were freshman Hannah DeBalsi, who ran the girl’s varsity race and placed 5th overall, and senior captain Henry Wynne, who won the boy’s varsity race. They led both teams to an overall third place finish.
The top finishers in each of the races got custom meet tee shirts, something that everyone had been looking forward to. In the Varsity races, the top 50 finishers got a tee shirt, and the top 30 got them in each of the other races. These tee shirts were a nice incentive and at least one Staples runner got a shirt in each race.
Maybe the most exciting part of the meet, though, was the coach’s race, which Mik, Malcolm, and Amanda ran in. Laddie joked that he was planning to race but got disqualified when he told them he would have to be on his bike.
All week, both teams were excited to see their coaches run in a race. Mik was challenged to beat Malcolm (which he did) and Amanda hoped to be the first woman to finish (which she was). Watching and cheering for the coaches was a fun role-reversal for everyone, especially when all three of them did so well.
September 11th, 2012
Opening the Season with Inspiration from Little Tom
by Alexandra O'Kane
Both the boy’s and the girl’s teams usually dress up for school on the day of a meet, and they continued this tradition on Tuesday. Each runner wore a green tee shirt with the saying “Run for Lil’ Tom”. Little Tom is Caroline Koenig’s nickname from cross-country last year, when she trained with the boys at the end of the season. In order to show their unified support for Caroline, all the athletes sported these shirts for the day. Everyone wanted Caroline to know that they are always thinking about her.
The girl’s team has dedicated their season to Caroline and their cheer at the beginning of the race was “For Caroline”. The goal was to think of Caroline in each moment of the race when it felt hard and painful. Little Tom was there for the team as well, cheering for them as they raced around the track. The Trumbull team even brought Caroline blue and white roses and wore ribbons in their hair for her. Caroline has become an inspiration to so many in the FCIAC, most especially the teammates who know and love her. Her motivation and dedication to the sport and the team is evident and heartwarming, even when she can’t be running alongside the girls.