Cross country / Prep rebuilds in post-Alvarado era
After his team went undefeated in the regular season and posted a fifth place finish in the Class LL championships last fall, Fairfield Prep cross country coach Robert Ford has a simple strategy for his team's success this season.
"Run fast," he says.
Last year, the Jesuits did just that, with a 10-0 record in the Southern Connecticut Conference, led by senior Christian Alvardo, who won the Class LL individual title with a time of 15:55 at the CIAC meet.
But Alvarado has graduated, along with Alec Hinton and James Mullican, leaving Ford to succinctly say in his fall prospectus that this was going to be "a rebuilding year" for Prep.
The Jesuits return Andrew Thane, who placed 39th in last year's Class LL race and Paul Cashman. Ford will be looking for solid seasons from George Crist, Chris Nillson, Matt Rusin, Jack McGowan and Jack O'Connor.
"We're just going to work hard to improve throughout the season," said Ford, who's squad won the Southern Connecticut Conference championship last October, it's third SCC title but it's first since 1998.
Fairfield Warde seems to be reloading, not rebuiloding, and is looking forward to a successful season.
The Mustangs placed ninth in last year's Class LL championships and despite losing first-team All-FCIAC runner Aidan Fiol to graduation, they return four of the six runners that competed in the CIAC tournament, led by junior Charles Kieffer, who finished 79th (18:11).
Alongside of Kieffer will be sophomore Will Brisman, senior Alex Petrecca and junior Jackson Stearns, all who ran in the CIAC meet. In addition, coach Tim Foster is expecting solid campaigns from seniors Shane McVeigh, Chris Rumsey and Greg Lombardo, along with juniors Chris Robinson and Matt Wojnoski.
"Our strength appears to be our depth and the fact that many of our top runners are not yet seniors," Foster wrote in his fall prospectus. "If training goes well and the team gels throughout the season, it could be a successful fall for our team."
Warde had a 13-5 regular season record last year, finishing second in the East Division behind Darien.
"As long as we stay healthy and work hard," wrote Foster. "We would like to qualify for the State Open, something we missed by one second last fall."
Fairfield Ludlowe, too, has a veteran corps returning and hopes for success this fall.
The Falcons placed 22nd in the Class LL meet last season and will return five of the seven runners that took part in the CIAC meet, led by senior George Wales, along with juniors Aren Heitmann, Jake Duncan, Dan Leto and sophomore Cole Stearns.
Along with captains Luke Georgiadis and Nick Warkentin, juniors Will Keresey, John Gerber, Joey Ambury will provide depth for coach Christina Caron as the Falcons (who only lost two starters) look to better last fall's 7-10 record.
"The boys have a lot more depth than in previous years," said Caron in her prospectus report. "They have a solid group and are running at a faster pace than in the past."
NOTRE DAME BOYS
At Notre Dame, coach Ed Berberich's squad is seeking to better last fall's 11th place finish in the Class SS race.
Co-captains Sean Bradley and Adam Riobo will lead the Lancers, along with returning runner Andrew Fallon.
"Our outlook is strong," wrote Berberich in his fall prospectus. We have a deep freshmen pool to add to our prepared veterans."
On the girls' side, Ludlowe (7-10) returns five runners that helped the Falcons place 17th in the Class LL championship last fall, led by senior co-captain Kelly Walsh, who came in 60th (21:49) in the Class LL race.
Along with her is co-captain Emily Cimmino, juniors Francesca Barucci, Anna Leatherwood, Samantha Rossi, Ellie Haney and Lauren Revay, and sophomores Kristen Chen and Genny Flood.
"With two new, strong runners on the girls' team, we hope that they push the pace and place well in the FCIAC," said Caron in her prospectus. "The girls are working hard to close the gap between runners."
The Mustangs went 16-2 in the regular season last fall and finished sixth in the Class LL meet. Individual Class LL champion Cate Allen has graduated but Warde returns its next top three runners in senior Molly Davidson, junior Hannah Dougherty and sophomore Sarah Radziewicz. Junior Roey Mappa, seniors Amanda Kuczo and Quinn Igram and sophomores Julia Muhlenberg and Isabelle Radziewicz will provIDE depth and experience for coach Tim Foster.
"Our strength appears to be our depth," Foster said in his prospectus. "We have a bunch of competitive runners. If out varsity runners step up and take leadership roles, we will experience some success this year. ."
NOTRE DAME GIRLS
The Notre Dame girls' team will be looking to better a 16th place finish in last fall's Class S championship.
Caitlin Lonegran and Morgan Sweeney will be leaders and co-captains for the Lancers this fall.
"Our outlook is positive with enough girls to field a full team," wrote Berberich. "The strategy is to make steady gains, stay healthy and aim for our best team race in the Class S championship."