Stars from the Mustangs' fall cross country teams are the most likely candidates to lead the Fairfield Warde boys and girls indoor track and field teams this winter.
Senior Cate Allen, 10th at the New England Championships in cross country last month, will run distance and middle distance events for the Mustangs' girls team that placed fourth of 23 teams last winter at the CIAC Class L championship meet. Before that, in 2012-13, Warde tied for second of five teams at the FCIAC East Divisional meet and finished sixth of 15 schools at the conference championship meet. Senior Aidan Fiol, fourth in the Class LL cross country championships in October, will be a distance specialist for the boys team that placed eighth of 24 teams in the Class L meet. Prior to that, last winter, the Mustangs were third of five teams at the division meet and 14th of 14 teams at the FCIAC Championships.
Allen was runner-up in the State Open 1,600 meters after winning that event in Class L. Allen and senior Paige Hanley were two of the four runners each in last winter's Class L champion 4-by-800-meter relay and the meet's third-place 4x400-meter relay. Hanley also qualified for the Class L 600-meter run but did not run.
Ten girls from last year's team graduated for coach Shawn Sorbello, who is in his seventh year with the team. He is being assisted by veteran Pete Van Hagan. Sorbello said the Mustangs are handicapped by not having an indoor pole vaulting facility. Several athletes will begin specializing in events this season. Senior Rachel Maltz is trying to make the transition from basketball to track.
Tim Foster, the Mustangs' boys and girls cross country coach, is encouraged by returning Fiol and senior Nick Gans on the defending champion Class L 4x800 relay. Fiol was third in the Class L 3,200 meters (metric indoor two-mile) a year ago. Senior Mohammed Seyal has potential in middle distance events, and senior Gary Azarian is Warde's top jumper and sprinter, Foster said.
Azarian, sophomore Charlie Kieffer and senior Nick Nardone could be involved in the 4x200 and 1,600-meter sprint medley relays, as they were at times last winter. Junior Thomas Salem could be a part of the 4x400 relay as well as a competitor in the jumps.
"We have a lot of ninth- and 10th-graders and few 11th- and 12th-graders," Foster said. "So, our success will be determined by what the younger athletes accomplish."
The boys and girls' seasons both open with developmental meets at Staples on Dec. 21.