Ridgefield Tigers are No. 1 in girls cross country poll; Nine FCIAC teams ranked

A pack of runners comes over a hill during the 2018 FCIAC girls cross country championship race in New Canaan’s Waveny Park. — Dave Stewart photo

The strength of the FCIAC cross country teams this fall is quite evident given that many girls’ and boys’ teams from the conference are ranked high in the current MySportsResults/soundRUNNER Connecticut High School Coaches Cross Country Poll which was released Sept. 19.

Ridgefield is ranked first to lead a contingent of three FCIAC teams among the top four in the girls’ poll which has six conference teams ranked among the top nine.

Ridgefield received four first-place votes, fellow conference member Danbury got three first place votes to earn the No. 2 ranking and Hall received a pair of first-place votes to be ranked third.

Trumbull received three first-place votes to get ranked fourth as that third FCIAC team among the top four.

Pomperaug and Immaculate were ranked fifth and sixth, respectively.

Then came a three more FCIAC teams – New Canaan, Fairfield Ludlowe and Wilton – ranked 7-9.

Danbury is the defending FCIAC, State Open and Class LL state champion. The Hatters scored 115 points to nip Immaculate (116) by one point to win the 2018 CIAC State Open.

Four FCIAC teams placed among the top six at the State Open. Ridgefield placed third with 160 points, Trumbull (165) was fifth and Greenwich (183).

The top three girls in last year’s State Open were all underclassmen.

Pomperaug sophomore Kate Wiser won the 5-kilometer (3.1 miles) race convincingly with a time of 17 minutes, 59 minutes. New Milford freshman Claire Daniels was runner-up with an 18:58, which was just one second faster than Greenwich sophomore Mari Noble, who was the highest finisher from the FCIAC.

Noble was the girls Class LL state champion a week earlier with an 18:57 clocking which was two seconds ahead of Danbury senior Lauren Moore, who led the Hatters to the team title with 56 points for a comfortable 41-point margin of victory over runner-up Glastonbury (91).

FCIAC teams Ridgefield (120 points), Greenwich (124) and Trumbull (135) placed 3-5 in last year’s girls Class LL meet. Alessandra Zaffina (19:02) was a Trumbull junior who placed third in last year’s Class LL race and Ridgefield junior Tess Pisanelli (19:16) was fourth.

Ridgefield coach John Goetz and Darien coach Steve Norris are the two coaches from the FCIAC among the 12 total coaches statewide who are voting members of this year’s girls’ poll.

There are 13 coaches who are voting members of the boys’ coaches poll. Greenwich coach Sean Astle, Staples coach Laddie Lawrence and Danbury coach Rob Murray are the three FCIAC representatives on that.

Conard received eight first-place votes to snatch the top ranking, second-ranked Tolland got two first-place votes and third-ranked Xavier received three first-place votes.

Three FCIAC teams were ranked 4-6 as defending FCIAC and Class LL state champion Staples is No. 4 and followed by Danbury and Ridgefield.

The next four teams ranked 6-10 are Glastonbury, Hall, Haddam-Killingworth and Southington.

Xavier was last year’s State Open team champion with 75 points and followed by Hall (121) and Tolland (122).

Staples placed fourth with 123 points as the top finisher from the FCIAC.

Mayo Smith of Staples was a junior last year who placed 17th at the State Open one week after he finished sixth and led the Wreckers to the Class LL state championship. Another pair of juniors from last year, Morgan Fierro and Nicholas Taubenheim, had strong state championship performances for Staples. Fierro placed seventh at the Class LL meet and 22nd at the State Open while Taubenheim was ninth in the Class LL race and 23rd at the Open.

Staples won the Class LL team championship with 80 points and Hall placed second with 90.

Danbury was third at the Class LL meet and sixth at the State Open.

Ridgefield placed ninth at the Class meet and then improved a couple spots and was seventh at the State Open.

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