25 CIAC girls cross country runners to watch in 2021 season

High school cross country is back to normalcy. After the 2020 season saw teams compete with abbreviated schedules and without state and national championships, high school runners across the state are ready to get back to full slated schedules of competition.

Ahead of meets starting statewide on Sept. 9, here’s a list of the top 25 girls cross country runners to watch this season:

Elizabeth Anderson, Jr., Greenwich: Anderson was Greenwich's No. 3 runner in the 5,000 last season and ran her PR at the Greenwich Point 5k for a third-place finish.

5,000M PR: 19:53

Julia Antony, Sr., Guilford

The 2020 Second-Team All-State Selection shaved two minutes off her PR from her freshman year last season and finished second at the SCC Division Cross Country Championships to lead Guilford to the SCC A Division title.

5,000M PR: 19:53.0

Olivia Birney, Sr., Simsbury

In her first year of cross country for Simsbury, Birney placed fourth at the CCC A-Region Championship to help lead Simsbury to the team title and was later named a Second-Team All-State selection.

5,000M PR: 18:50.0

Peyton Bornstein, Sr., Tolland

Bornstein was named a Second-Team All-State selection after leading Tolland in the 5,000 meters and winning the CCC Region-C Meet in 19:37.1.

5,000M PR: 19:26.5

Keelin Bremner, Jr., Immaculate

Bremner was the top ranked sophomore following the 2020 season, No. 17 runner overall, in the state by Athletic.net after finishing sixth at the SWC Championships.

5,000M PR: 19:06.0

Mairead Clas, Sr., Darien

Clas finished second last season in the FCIAC West Region Championship’s 4,000-meter race in 15:30.5.

5,000M PR: 19:03.5 (2019)

Claire Daniels, Sr., New Milford: A 2020 GameTimeCT First-Team All-State honoree, Daniels was ranked as the top junior in the state of Connecticut by Athletic.Net, also the No. 5 runner overall, following last season where she placed third at the SWC Championships and led New Milford to its first SWC title since 2010.

5,000-Meter PR: 17 minutes and 48.0 seconds

Esme Daplyn, Soph., Greenwich: Placed third in the 4,000 meters at the FCIAC West Region Championship last year.

5,000M PR: 20:11.0

Ava Graham, Sr., Bethel: Graham placed second at the SWC Championships while leading her team in the 5,000 and being named a 2020 First-Team All-State honoree.

5,000M PR: 18:46.0 (2019)

Kali Holden, Sr., Trumbull: Holden ended last season as the No. 7 runner in the state and with Second-Team All-State honors after finishing second at the FCIAC East Region Championship 4,000-meter race in 15:00.1.

5,000M PR: 18:11.4

Nora Holmes, Sr., Hall

Holmes finished third last year at the CCC A-Region Championship and was named a First-Team All-State honoree.

5,000M PR: 18:58.0

Jacqueline Izzo, Sr., Southington

Izzo finished second last season at the CCC Region-B Championships in 19:21.0 to help Southington earn the team title, while she was also ranked as the No. 16 overall runner in the state by Athletic.net.

5,000M PR: 19:01.4

Anna Keeley, Sr., Fairfield Ludlowe

Along with winning the FCIAC East Region Championship (4,000M) as the only runner under the 15-minute barrier and helping lead Fairfield Ludlowe to the meet’s team title, Keeley also won all of Fairfield Ludlowe’s dual meets she entered and was a First-Team All-State honoree.

5,000M PR: 18:30.6

Sydney Kelleher, Jr., New Milford

Kelleher finished fifth at the SWC Championships last season, while being New Milford’s No. 3 runner in the 5,000 meters.

5,000M PR: 19:13.0

Jordan Malloy, Sr., Bacon Academy

Mallory was Bacon Academy’s fastest runner in the 5,000 meters last season, bettering her previous PR by 50 seconds.

5,000M PR: 19:19.0

Evelyn Marchand, Sr., Trumbull

Marchand was Trumbull’s second-fastest runner in the 5,000-meters last season and finished fifth at the FCIAC East Region Championship 4,000-meter race.

5,000M PR: 19:15.8

Emily Markovcic, Sr., Wilton: The 2020 First-Team All-State selection led Wilton in the 4,000 and won the FCIAC Central Region Championships with her PR of 14:59.5.

4,000M PR: 14:59.5

Calista Mayer, Sr., Tolland: Mayer, Tolland’s No. 2 runner in the 5,000, finished 13th at the CCC Region-C Meet last season in 21:26.7.

5,000M PR: 19:31.0 (2019)

Kayla Ondy, Sr., Immaculate : Last season, Ondy finished ninth at the SWC Championships in 21:33.4 and was Immaculate’s overall No. 2 runner in the 5,000.

5,000M PR: 19:52.0 (2019)

Katherine Rector, Sr., Ridgefield

The 2020 Second-Team All-State honoree finished third last season at the FCIAC Central Region Championship 4,000-meter race.

5,000M PR: 19:24.4

Frenchie Riccio, Soph., Southington

Riccio was ranked as the top overall freshman from the 2020 season and tied for No. 29 overall runner in the state with teammate Jessica Lombardo, by Athletic.net after placing fifth at the CCC Region-B Championships.

5,000M PR: 19:32.1

Katherine Sanderson, Sr., Hall

The 2020 First-Team All-State honoree placed second at the CCC A-Region Championships with a near 40-second personal best.

5,000M PR: 18:37.0

Rachel St. Germain, Sr., Somers

The 2020 First-Team All-State honoree won the NCCC East Divisional Championship last season by bettering her sophomore year PR by over a minute to help Somers win the team title.

5,000M PR: 19:09.0

Maddie Sweeney, Sr., New Milford

Sweeney shaved four minutes off her PR from her sophomore year last season to be named a Second-Team All-State honoree and be ranked as the No. 9 overall runner across Connecticut, per Athletic.net.

5,000M PR: 18:34.0

Caitlin Wiley, Jr., Old Saybrook

Wiley led Old Saybrook in the 5,000 last season with a 22:04.0 and finished fourth at the Shoreline Cross Country Championships. She was named a SLC All-Conference selection.

5,000M PR: 19.10.0 (2019)

Personal records from athletic.net