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Wilton’s McCormick, Staples boys lead FCIAC in Open and NE cross country meets

Wilton High School senior cross country runner Morgan McCormick became a Triple Crown winner as she continues to have great finish to her excellent career while the Staples boys team put the wraps on its superb season with team runner-up finishes in the State Open and New England Championships to highlight the stellar performances of many individuals and teams from the FCIAC recently.

McCormick defended her State Open championship on Nov. 3 and eight days later she placed fourth in the 2017 New England High School Cross Country Championships in Belfast, Maine.

Just six days after McCormick defended her title in the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference Class L Girls Cross Country Championships, she won her second straight State Open when she won the 5-kilometer (3.1 miles) race at Wickham Park in Manchester with a time of 18 minutes, 23 seconds to win by 19 seconds over Pomperaug freshman Katherine Wiser. It was the same 1-2 finish as the previous Class L race when McCormick won with an 18:19 and Wiser was runner-up with an 18:35. Both races were run at Wickham Park.

McCormick’s winning State Open time was an improvement of 20 seconds from the 2016 State Open when she won in 18:43 to nip Tolland senior Hayley Collins by two seconds. It was the 12 months from the end of McCormick’s sophomore cross county season to her junior year when she improved vastly, by more than two minutes, as McCormick placed 56th as a sophomore at the 2015 State Open with a 20:48.

McCormick had a Triple Crown year in championship meets for the second straight year as she previously defended her FCIAC championship in October.

There were eight girls from the FCIAC who finished among the top 48 at the State Open.

Lauren Moore, a junior, and sophomore Alexandra Chakar placed sixth and ninth, respectively to lead Danbury to second place. Moore had a time of 19:41 as she improved by 20 places and 19 seconds from last year when she placed 26th in 20:00. Chakar was timed in 19:54 and her junior teammate, Cassandra Sturdevant, placed 31st in 20:48.

Glastonbury won the team championship with 80 points, Danbury’s Hatters had 123 and Wiser led Pomperaug to third place with 136.

The other four FCIAC runners among the top 48 in the State Open girls race were Greenwich senior Emily Philippides (14th place with a 20:07), Trumbull sophomore Alessandra Zaffina (17th, 20:15), Greenwich junior Caroline Webb (44th, 21:02) and Trumbull freshman Keira Grant (46th, 21:04).

McCormick had the highest finish ever for Wilton High School when she placed fourth in the New England Championships in Belfast, Maine on Nov. 11 with a time of 17:50.8. Julia Robitaille from Manch West, N.H., won with a 17:31.65.

McCormick was the top runner from Connecticut and Wiser had great improvement herself as she placed fifth in 17:53.16.

McCormick plans on running in the Foot Locker Northeast Regional meet on Nov. 25 at Van Cortlandt Park in The Bronx.

Pinkerton (N.H.) won the team championship with 163 points and Danbury placed eighth with 251.

Moore finished in 34th place (18:59.68) and Chakar was 37th (19:07.37) to lead Danbury.

After the Staples boys team won the CIAC Class LL state championship and Xavier placed second in that meet, Xavier won by the State Open by the closest way possible by winning via a tiebreaker after both teams tied with 61 points.

The New England Championships served as a rubber match between the two and Xavier won that with 74 points while the Staples Wreckers placed second with 103, 23 less than third-place Bishop Hendricken (R.I.).

Senior leaders Benjamin Seiple, Christian Myers and William Landowne placed very high in both races to lead the Wreckers.

Seiple, Myers and Landowne all placed among the top 11 at the State Open.

Seiple was the top finisher from the FCIAC at the State Open as he placed fourth overall with a time of 16:10, which was 26 seconds behind the winning time of 15:44 which was turned in by Fairfield Prep senior Drew Thompson.

Myers placed ninth overall with a 16:23 while Landowne was 11th with a 16:28.

In terms of team scoring – in which the place finishes of the top runners who were not part of full teams were excluded from the overall team scoring – that Staples top trio all finished among the top seven. Seiple, Myers and Landowne finished in places third, sixth and seventh, respectively, among the runners who were members of full teams of five scoring runners.

But it was Xavier’s tighter pack among its top five and top six runners that sealed the State Open title for Xavier.

While Xavier’s top three runners placed among the top 13 compared to the leading Staples trio finishing among the top seven, the key to the 61-61 tie was that the top five Xavier runners finished among the top 16 compared to the top five Wreckers among the 26. And then Xavier won the tiebreaker because its sixth runner placed 25th and was four places and four seconds ahead of the sixth Wrecker.

Seiple, Myers and Landowne were the first three of the dozen runners from the FCIAC who placed among the top 50 overall at the State Open.

Fairfield Warde seniors Alex Mocarski (16:33) and James Maniscalco (16:34) placed 12th and 13th, respectively, and were the fourth and fifth fastest from the FCIAC to lead Warde to third place with 137 points. Fairfield Prep placed fourth with 162.

Danbury senior Dan Nichols was the sixth fastest FCIAC runner in the boys State Open as he placed 15th with a 16:36 to lead the Hatters to seventh place with 198 points.

The other six runners from the conference among the top 50 included Staples sophomore Nicholas Taubenheim (25th, 16:47), Warde senior Danny Jagoe (28th, 16:52), Staples junior Mayo Smith (34th, 16:57), Staples senior Sunil Green (37th, 17:01), Danbury junior Malcolm Going (46th, 17:14) and Fairfield Ludlowe junior Kabir Chavan (50th, 17:16).

Seiple was the top runner from the FCIAC and the third fastest from the state at the New England Championships as he placed fifth overall with 15:53.13 in the 3.1-mile race won by Fairfield Prep’s Thompson in 15:16.66.

Myers placed seventh (15:56.47) and Landowne was 11th (16:01.73) for the Wreckers while Warde’s Mocarski was 22nd (16:10.48), Maniscalco 38th (16:24.96) and Jagoe 42nd (16:26.87) at the New England Championships. Warde tallied 212 points to place sixth and beat Fairfield Prep by a dozen points.

Wilton’s Morgan McCormick runs to an FCIAC championship repeat during the 2017 cross country finals in New Canaan’s Waveny Park. — Dave Stewart/HAN Network photo

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