Expanded article on Greenwich cross-country at FCIAC finals

Greenwich High School runner Andrew Kates competes during Monday's FCIAC championship meet at New Canaan's Waveny Park. — Dave Stewart photo

Greenwich High School runner Andrew Kates competes during Monday’s FCIAC championship meet at New Canaan’s Waveny Park. — Dave Stewart photo

On a gorgeous afternoon at Waveny Park, the Greenwich High School boys and girls cross-country teams competed in the Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference finals Monday.

“Overall we did amazing and I thought we did what we had to do,” Greenwich High School head coach Mike McSherry said. “We had fun doing it and that’s the number one thing. I thought we succeeded in that today. We had a great time and posted some great times.”

The Greenwich High girls team finished ninth overall with 265 points, just ahead of Danbury High, who placed 10th overall with 297 points. The overall winner was Staples High School with 37 points.

The next closest team was Ridgefield High with 73 points. In third was Darien, as they picked up 81 points. Wilton took fourth overall with 88 points and Fairfield Warde rounded out the top five with 94 points.

The GHS boys team finished the FCIAC finals in 11th place overall, posting 276 points. Big Red just missed out on a top 10 finish, as Wilton took that spot with 267 points.

Overall Danbury High edged out the FCIAC boys championship, posting 58 points and just beat Staples, which took second with 59 points. Taking home the bronze was Ridgefield with 87 points and Darien took fourth with 104 points. In fifth and netting 134 points was Fairfield Warde High School.

For Greenwich, no one was faster than Andrew Kates, as the junior made Second Team All-FCIAC by posting a time of 16:38. That was good enough for 21st overall on the boys side. The girls team was led by Sabrina Thurber, as she finished first on the team and 30th overall, posting a time of 16:04.

“They come through in the clutch, just as they always have been doing,” McSherry said. “They really have been training really hard this year and Andy is slowly dropping his time. Overall as a coaching staff, we couldn’t be happier with the way Sabrina and Andy ran today. There was a lot of tough competition and they both navigated through that.”

While Kates was tops for the Greenwich boys team, the next closest finisher for Big Red was Thomas Glover, as he took 46th overall and second on the team with a time of 17:47. Not far behind Glover was senior Sean Clarke, as he finished 59th overall on the day and crossed the finish line with a time of 18:07.

Members of the GHS girls cross-country team enter the woods at Waveny Park during Monday's FCIAC championship meet. — Dave Stewart photo

Members of the GHS girls cross-country team enter the woods at Waveny Park during Monday’s FCIAC championship meet. — Dave Stewart photo

“I was thinking that we could do really well today and I’m proud of how we did,” Kates said. “We had a solid squad today and I was happy that I could get some low points for the team and get second All-FCIAC. It was great weather today and the competition was tough. There were some serious times that were put up. We have a solid team and we are growing. We had some freshmen that did some really nice things in their race.”

After Clarke was Nicholas Gomez, who took fourth on Big Red and 67th overall with a time of 18:29. Not to be outdone was Oliver Bird, as the sophomore took home a time of 19:05 and that was good enough for 83rd place. Senior Bastian Dequeker took home 85th place on the day and crossed the finish line with a time of 19:14. Not fat behind was Charles Novek, as the sophomore finished 87th on the day with a time of 19:28.

“I thought strategically it was a great race for the boys,” McSherry said. “We are trying to find out our top five and did a lot today to see who they are.”

“I thought we did fantastic,” said freshman Christopher Fenaroli, who finished the varsity course 100th overall with a time of 19:48. “I was pretty far behind, but I could see in front of me and there were a lot of Greenwich kids. We had a lot of really good times. The cool weather and the breeze made things easier. It was a fast course, so that was great also. I loved the finish here. Although you’re exhausted, there are people everywhere cheering you on. That makes things fun and motivates you.”

Not far behind Thurber on the Greenwich High girls team was Jenny Goggin, as she completed the course in 52nd place overall and second on the Lady Cardinals with a time of 16:58.

“This season our team has had some pretty rough patches because some of the girls have been injured,” Goggin said. “However it really gave the underclassmen a chance to prove what they’re made of. The coaches have been doing a really good job of pushing us to go as far as we can. Overall I thought we did a really good job and we have come a long way since the first meet. I felt pretty good. I always think I can do better, but I had a good kick at the end and I’m proud of that.”

Only seven spots away from Goggin was Alice Pehrson, as she took home a time of 17:14, which was good enough for third on the team and 59th overall.

Two spots away from Pehrson was senior Kate Hadley, as she crossed the finish line with a time of 17:17. In 63rd place overall and fifth on the Lady Cardinals was senior Kristen Lodato, as she took home a time of 17:20. Only 28 seconds away from Lodato was sophomore Emily Fountain, as she took home the 67th best time on the day.

“This is one of the biggest meets because we all participate and it’s a lot of fun,” Fountain said. “It’s a big deal and we train a lot in preparation for this. I felt pretty good. There’s a lot of stress competing in such a large meet, but I personally love these meets because you get a chance to see how you are overall in the FCIAC. The hills are always difficult, but the most challenging thing is that second loop. When you do down, it’s just flat for a while and you feel kind of stagnant.”

Senior Emily Hunt rounded out the scoring for the GHS girls team, finishing 73rd on the day and taking home a time of 18:43.

“We did what we could,” McSherry said. “What we did was more than enough. We didn’t panic when we were in the back and that’s a big thing for us. You get discouraged when you’re further in the back of the pack. The girls did what they had to and knew it wasn’t going to be easy. We are happy and I think the girls did Greenwich proud.”

On Saturday Greenwich will be back in action, as both the boys and girls cross-country team travel to Manchester’s Wickham Park for competition in the CIAC class LL championship. The girls meet will take place at 1 p.m., while the boys will take to the course at 1:35 p.m.

“We are going to use this as a learning experience,” McSherry said. “We are going to use this also to build up motivation. Right now we are trying to become a great program and it takes times, but we know that and are doing what we can to get better every time out there.”

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