Fairfield Warde boys and girls cross country coach Tim Foster said his teams' sweeps of Fairfield Ludlowe, St. Joseph-Trumbull and host Wilton in the season opener Tuesday afternoon should not be considered a notification to the rest of the FCIAC concerning the Mustangs' ability to dominate. Rather, he viewed it as both teams -- each with ample depth, speed and experience -- running gutsy races at Allens Meadows.
Foster noted that three other conference rivals are rated in the top four in the statewide poll of cross country teams.
But his collection of fast runners showed in the hot, late summer weather on a course with limited shade that each Warde team intends to contend in the conference.
"It was a good meet for both teams," Foster said. "We certainly raced hard. I was impressed with their efforts. This is still just the first meet of the season."
In the boys races, Warde beat Ludlowe by 21-34, St. Joseph 24-31 and Wilton 25-30. In cross country, in which the low score wins, the five fastest finishers count in team scoring (one point for the first-place finisher, two for second place and so on) with runners six and seven able to displace runners from other teams. In the girls races, the Mustangs beat Ludlowe by 15-49, St. Joseph 15-49 and Wilton 27-31.
Ludlowe teams collectively went 1-5, going 0-3 in the boys competition and 1-2 on the girls side. St. Joeseph beat the Falcons' boys team 26-29, and Wilton won by 24-31. Ludlowe's girls defeated St. Joseph 19-42 but were beaten by Wilton 18-39.
Warde senior Aidan Fiol finished third overall, covering the 5K (3.14 miles) boys course in 17 minutes and 20 seconds, with senior Nick Gans the second Mustangs' runner to finish, placing fourth overall in 18:07. "Aidan is on par with where we want him to be at this time of the season," Foster said. "He looked fairly comfortable. It was a good starting point for him."
The competition among girls was a runaway. Warde senior Cate Allen, the 2012 CIAC Class L champion, led the field on the 4K course nearly from start to finish, running in 15:19.
"Cate went out early, established the lead and held it," Foster said, "and she looked good in doing it."
Foster said he was impressed with a pair of newcomers -- freshman Sarah Radziewicz (fifth overall in 16:52) and junior Molly Davidson (sixth, 16:57), who has run track before. "I expected Sarah to be a factor up high, but this is a happy surprise," Foster said. "But, really, the whole girls team ran well."
Five other Mustangs' runners finished in the top 10.
Christina Caron, who coaches both Ludlowe teams, wasn't displeased with the Falcons' efforts despite ending the day with one victory. "Our expectation was to come out on top of one team (in the boys race). We came close (St. Joseph)," Caron said.
"As a team, I think the top five boys finished within a minute spread of each other, which is not bad for the first race of the season, I guess. There's room for improvement. The competition today was strong."
Among Ludlowe boys, junior Josh Archer and sophomore William Keresey cracked the top 10.
Archer was fifth in 18:20 and Keresey 10th in 19:10.