Cross country preview: Warde carries depth, Ludlowe aims to hit stride
Published 12:12 pm, Friday, September 18, 2015
According to head coach Tim Foster, the team strength of Warde boys’ cross country team is depth. And with six of his top seven runners returning, it’s hard to argue with that assessment. The Warde girls’ cross country team’s strength, according to Foster, is experience. And with three returning All-FCIAC selections leading the way, you can’t argue with that, either.
“We are looking forward to an exciting fall. The guys worked hard this summer and are looking forward to competing,” Foster said of the Mustangs boys’ squad in his preseason prospectus to the Citizen.
“We look to compete well in the conference and at the state level. The key to success is bridging the gap between our top guys and the next five or six runners.”
Last fall, the Warde boys team placed 11th in the Class LL championships and six of the seven runners in that race are back, led by junior Will Brisman (a first-team All-FCIAC pick) along with All-FCIAC second team selection senior Charlie Kieffer. Other returning runners include, seniors Roman Colao, Chris Robinson, Matt Wojnsoki and Jackson Stearns and sophomore Alex Mocarski, Chris Leppla, Matt Vogt, Danny Jagoe and James Maniscalco.
“While there is experience with the top guys, we are still a relatively young team overall,” said Foster.
On the girls’ side, Foster has five of his top seven runners from last fall returning, led by all-FCIAC first team picks junior Gabi Galletta and junior Sarah Radziewicz and All-FCIAC second team selection junior Olivia Spinosa.
“We are looking forward to competing well in the FCIAC and working to make it back to the State Open,” Foster said. “We need to add some depth to front five, which is possible with the talent in the program.”
Last fall, Warde placed fifth in the Class LL tournament and 12th in the State Open.
Other top returning runners for the Mustangs’ include, seniors Roey Mappa, Hannah Dougherty and Catherine Jacobi and juniors Isabelle Radziewicz, Morgan Lee, Julia Muhlenberg and Natalia Zhiltsova.
“While there is talent in the program, we need to work on closing some gaps between runners,” Foster said.
Led by returning All-conference runner, Ben Ertel, the Falcons could be a contender in the always tough FCIAC.
“This is one of the most talented group of boys Fairfield Ludlowe has ever had,” wrote head coach Christina Caron in her prospectus to the Citizen. “We look forward to a successful season with our whole varsity line-up returning. The boys are looking to break in to the top five in the FCIAC and are working hard to make that happen.”
Ludlowe finished seventh in the Class L tournament last fall.
Along with Ertel, Ludlowe returns captains John Gerber, Aren Heitmann and Dan Leto, and also returns Joey Ambury, Jake Duncan and Cole Stearns, giving Caron a solid core of runners.
“There is a lot of untapped racing potential at Ludlowe,” Caron wrote. “We want to move up the pack in the FCIAC this season.” But to do that, the Falcons need to “race well together and push each other,” according to Caron.
Eight starters, led by captains Ellie Haney and Reilly Carroll, will look to help Ludlowe stay consistent and improve on last fall’s 14th place finish in the Class LL tournament.
“This year we picked up a few runners with a lot of potential,” Falcons coach Christina Caron wrote in her prospectus to the Citizen. “We are excited to have Sarah Leatherwood and Christine Graf joining the girls’ squad. Most of our varsity lineup is returning and are working hard to improve their standing in the FCIAC.”
Keegan Simonsen, Anna Leatherwood, Francesca Barrucci, Samantha Rossi, Genny Flood and Kristen Chen all return this season for Caron, who wrote that the team “works well together and pushes each other” to make them better.
“While depth is a weakness, we are determined to improve out finishes in our FCIAC meets,” Caron wrote.
Veteran coach Bob Ford begins his 31st season of handling the Jesuits runners and will rely on captains junior George Crist and senior Jack McGowen to lead the way back to elite status in the SCC.
According to Ford, Crist has fully recovered from an injury that cost him his entire sophomore season and is running in “fine form” and McGowen - Prep’s only State Open qualifier last year - returns “in better shape than last year,” said Ford is his prospectus to the Citizen.
Prep finished fifth in the SCC standings last fall with a 4-5 record, third in the Quinnipiac Division and finished 14th in the Class LL tournament.
Along with Crist and McGowen, Prep should be bolstered by the return of seniors Patrick Byrne, Adrian Coyle, Andrew Crane, Gavin Doran, Dale Duffy, Will Duffy, Christopher Kral, Alexander Norton and John O’Connor. Returning juniors include Matthew Corcoran, Kyle Dunn, Alexandros Giannos, Joseph Keller, Nick Krushinsky, Christian Nilsson, Peter Pastorok, Ahsen Pothiawala and Colin Terry.
Sophomores Austin Baird, Matt Caiola, Peyton Denson, John Feeney, Sam Hawley, Vincent Magi, Drew Newcomb, Mack Sheldon and Andrew Thompson round out the squad.
“We will be a competitive team in the SCC and Class LL,” wrote Ford in his prospectus to the Citizen. “Drew Thomson is a rising sophomore who ran a 9:24 for 3,200 meters in track and is a welcome addition to cross country.”
Led by captains Adam Riobo and Sean Bradley, along with Ryan Keeley, on the boys’ side, and captains Teresa Salamone and Stella Henry on the girls’ side, the Notre Dame-Fairfield cross country teams are hoping to show improvement this fall.
“The key to a successful season is a long term approach with an emphasis on our state class meet,” wrote assistant coach Kyle Toohey in the team’s prospectus to the Citizen. “We try to use every race prior to build the best plan of action for the Class S meet. Any wins we claim over bigger schools is a nice feather in our caps.”
Head coach Ed Berberich returns for his 10th season
“The team appears better prepared than past years, which is driving better workouts earlier this season, Toohey wrote. “Our weakness is inexperience. The team is overall very young but is learning how to train and race well. We expect to peak when the time is right.”