Greenwich’s Mari Noble, New Canaan girls run to state titles

MANCHESTER – Greenwich junior Mari Noble defended her state Class LL individual championship while New Canaan won the CIAC Class L Girls Cross Country Championships on Saturday, Oct. 26, to highlight the many accomplishments of FCIAC runners and teams during the series of a dozen state class championship meets at Wickham Park.

New Canaan’s championship team was the first of four conference teams among the top seven in the girls Class L championship meet, Trumbull was runner-up in the girls Class LL championship meet to lead a strong contingent of six FCIAC teams among the top nine, and Staples placed second in the boys’ state Class LL meet as the first of three FCIAC teams among the top six.

Noble is in the middle of what is shaping up to be quite a career. She won her 5-kilometer race (3.1 miles) in 18 minutes, 30 seconds and by a comfortable margin of 28 seconds over runner-up Kate Hedlund (18:58), a senior from Manchester.

Noble got her successful 2019 postseason rolling when she took a big lead from the outset of the FCIAC championship meet and won that by 29 seconds, covering that 4,000-meter Waveny Park (New Canaan) course in 14:05.

Last year in 2018, as a sophomore, Noble won the state Class LL race with an 18:57 so she ran 27 seconds faster this year. Also last year, Noble placed third (18:59) in the CIAC State Open Cross Country Championships on the same Wickham Park course.

Hall won the team title in the girls Class LL meet with 77 points, 20 less than runner-up Trumbull. FCIAC champion Ridgefield placed third with 119 points.

Also from the FCIAC: Danbury was fifth with 134 points while Fairfield Ludlowe (200), Greenwich (202) and Staples (207) finished in places 7-9.

There were 13 runners from the FCIAC who finished among the top 25 in the girls Class LL race.

In addition to the victorious Noble, Danbury’s Daniella Grullon Pena placed third with a 19:10, Ridgefield’s Tess Pisanelli (19:23) and Trumbull’s Alessandra Zaffina (19:28) finished fifth and sixth, respectively, and the other nine girls from the conference who finished among the top 25 were Ridgefield’s Katherine Rector (11th place, 19:59), Tori Greenberg (12th, 20:07) of Staples, Danbury’s Sarah Johnson (16th, 20:27), Trumbull’s Kali Holden (20:28), Fairfield Ludlowe’s Anna Keeley (18th, 20:29), Trumbull’s Evelyn Marchand (20:29), Josie Dolan (21st, 20:31) of Staples, Danbury’s Meilee Kry (23rd, 20:35) and Trumbull’s Rebecca Margolnick (25th, 20:36).

New Canaan utilized a tight group of pack-running Rams to win the girls Class L team title.

Molly Murphy placed sixth with a time of 19:43 to lead New Canaan as she was the first of the five scoring Rams who were finished in the top 18 and that five-pack ran within one minute and 15 seconds of each other. Also for New Canaan, Sophie Curcio placed ninth with a 20:32, Lauren Doherty (20:35) and Skylar Bennett (20:36) finished 11th and 12th, respectively, and Riley Shipman (20:58) placed 18th as that fifth and final scoring Ram.

New Canaan scored 56 points while runner-up Simsbury was close behind with 62. FCIAC teams Wilton (99) and Darien (112) placed third and fourth, respectively, while Fairfield Warde (213) was seventh as that fourth conference team among the top seven.

Darien’s Mairead Clas, who was runner-up to Noble in the FCIAC Championships, finished fourth with a 19:20 and was the fastest from the FCIAC in the state Class L race.

Emily Mrakovcic (20:39) placed 13th to lead Wilton. Darien’s Charlotte Moody (20:40) was 14th.

There were 15 conference runners among the top 25 in the girls’ Class L race as the others included Fairfield Warde’s Abigail Hart (16th, 20:45), Wilton’s Ryann Wauthier (17th, 20:51), Wilton’s Paula Perez Pelaez (20th, 21:02) and Patricia Dineen (21st,, 21:03), and Darien’s Avery Johnson.

Pomperaug junior Kate Wiser ran away from the field to win the race by a minute and 25 seconds with a time of 17:39 to establish a new course record. New Milford sophomore Claire Daniels (19:04) placed second. Former Staples star Hannah DeBalsi was the previous record holder as she was a sophomore when she won the 2013 girls Class LL race with a 17:41. DeBalsi, who now runs for perennial national power Stanford, won three consecutive State Open races from 2013-15.

Last year Wiser won the State Open with a 17:59 and Daniels was runner-up with an 18:58, just one second ahead of third-place Noble.

The State Open this year begins at 2:45 p.m. this Friday at Wickham Park.

Staples senior Morgan Fierro placed third in this year’s CIAC Class LL Boys Cross Country Championships with a time of 16:13 on the 5K course to lead his Wreckers to second place.

Gavin Sherry won the race in 15:24 to lead Conard to the team title. Conard won with 53 points and Staples had 102.

Also from the FCIAC: Ridgefield (151) was third, Danbury (218) placed sixth and Trumbull (282) took ninth.

There were a dozen conference runners among the top 25 in the boys Class LL meet.

Danbury’s Jacob Hefele placed seventh with a 16:23, Fairfield Warde’s Gregory Vogt was just one second behind him in eighth place, and the nine other FCIAC runners in the top 25 were Westhill’s Colin McLaughlin (11th place, 16:25), Staples’ Nicholas Taubenheim (12th, 16:26), Ridgefield’s Charles King (14th, 16:35) and Charles Namiot (15th, 16:35), Staples’ Teddy O’Kane (19th, 16:44), Danbury’s Jack Watson (12th, 16:48), Trumbull’s Cyrus Asgari (22nd, 16:49), Fairfield Warde’s Austin Hutchens (24th, 16:55) and Fairfield Ludlowe’s Sam Sweeney (25th, 16:56).

Xavier won the boys Class L team title with 62 points. Davis Cote placed 11th with a 17:10 to lead Wilton to ninth place with 242 points and Darien’s Cormac Brown (17:42) finished 24th.

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