Danbury wins first FCIAC boys cross country title since 2015, Ridgefield's Hergenrother wins individual title

NEW CANAAN — Over the years, Danbury has been the FCIAC’s most prolific boys cross country team when it comes to championships. More than 20 titles in 30 years will do that for you.

That would tend to make a seven-year stretch without a league crown feel like an eternity, but a “breakout” performance for the Hatters has put that drought to rest.

With junior Devon Rosemark and senior Joshua Roos finishing in the top 10, Danbury overcame a tough Staples squad and captured its first FCIAC championship since 2015 Wednesday in New Canaan’s Waveny Park.

The Hatters netted 54 points, while the Wreckers had 64, with each team placing five runners in the top 17. Danbury has won 22 titles since 1991, and Staples has finished as the runner-up or champ in eight straight seasons.

“We definitely have a strong historical program when it comes to FCIAC cross country,” Danbury coach Rob Murray said. “We’ve been solidly competitive the last couple of years, but today the guys had a real championship breakout performance.”

Ridgefield, last year’s champ, scored 82 points and finished in third place with junior Steven Hergenrother winning the individual title with a time of 15:29 on the 5,000-meter course. Hergerother, who was fifth last year, won by 15 seconds over Warde’s Parker Broderick (15:44), with Trumbull’s David Carillo (15:47) third.

Hergenrother said he was ready for the tough competition.

“I felt really confident going in,” Hergenrother said. “There’s some really, really good guys, so I just wanted to come out and have fun, and I did that and got the job done. I thought winning was definitely a possibility but you can never underestimate other people in this race.”

Near the start of the race, Hergenrother and Staples’ Ben Lorenz, who won the Wickham Invitational on Oct. 8, converged at the road in the middle of the park and they ran stride for stride for a while.

After a couple of loops on the course, Hergenrother said he made his move on a downhill heading into the woods and then stuck at the lead the rest of the way.

The final hill is not steep, but is a long climb to the end.

“I felt really good but going up, you think there’s 200 meters to go and it’s really more like 800,” Hergenrother said. “I’ve raced this before so I knew that and I decided to just see how fast I can go up this hill.”

Danbury’s top runner was Devon Rosemark, a junior who moved up 23 spots from 27th last year to fourth this season. He finished in 15:53.

“He’s learning how to not worry about other people and focus on what he can manage during his performance,” Murray said of Rosemark. “I thought he did a better job of that today and that kept him calm and focused on racing.”

Also for the Hatters, Roos was ninth in 16:14, followed by sophomore Michael Komisky (16:21) in 11th, senior Ryan Pereira (16:21) in 13th, and sophomore Kyle Jeffers (16:30) in 17th.

For Staples, Lorenz was seventh in 16:06, followed by senior Zach Allen (16:21) in 12th, senior Matthew Fleming (16:22) in 14th, sophomore Morgan Samuel in 15th (16:24), and senior William Fitch (16:28) in 16th.

“We have the utmost respect for Staples, (coach) Laddie Lawrence and their team,” Murray said. “We saw them at Bowdoin Park (Sept. 24) and they beat us there. They beat us at a dual meet in Danbury and then we beat them at Wickham. We beat them today, but those guys gave a great fight.”

David.Stewart@hearstmediact.com; @dstewartsports

FCIAC Boys Cross Country Championship (5K)

Team finishes

1 Danbury 54, 2 Staples 64, 3 Ridgefield 82, 4 Warde 132, 5 Trumbull 137, 6 Greenwich 186, 7 Darien 206, 8 New Canaan 208, 9 Wilton 240, 10 Ludlowe 242, 11 Westhill 259, 12 Stamford 318, 13 Brien McMahon 432, 14 Norwalk 435, 15 St. Joseph 443, 16 Bassick 514.

Individual finishes

1 Steven Hergenroether (Ridgefield) 15:29; 2 Parker Broderick (Warde) 15:44; 3 David Carillo (Trumbull) 15:47; 4 Devon Rosemark (Danbury) 15:52; 5 Liam Edson (Ridgefield) 16:00; 6 Michael Byrnes (Wilton) 16:01; 7 Ben Lorenz (Staples) 16:06; 8 Christian Zawislack (Greenwich) 16:10; 9 Joshua Roos (Danbury) 16:14; 10 James Cunningham (Warde) 16:19; 11 Michael Komisky (Danbury) 16:21; 12 Zach Allen (Staples) 16:21; 13 Ryan Pereira 16:21; 14 Matt Fleming (Staples) 16:22; 15 Morgan Samuel (Staples) 16:24.