Cross country: Wilton girls win first division title in six years
The Wilton High cross country teams had their final race of the regular season on Tuesday at Tod’s Point Park in Greenwich and, despite losing to Greenwich, the WHS girls ended the day as FCIAC East Division champs.
The Lady Warriors scored wins over Danbury (26-30) and St. Joseph (15-48) in addition to the loss to Greenwich (22-35).
The Warriors had a final regular-season record of 13-2, winning their 15th East Division title, and first since 2010.
West Division champ Ridgefield finished the season with the best record in the conference at 15-0, followed by Wilton, New Canaan and Greenwich, all at 13-2.
Next up is the FCIAC championships next Wednesday at Waveny Park in New Canaan. The girls varsity race will be at 2:50 and the boys varsity race at 3:20.
Coach Jeff Gee said defending champ Ridgefield and Greenwich will be the teams to beat. Wilton will need to run its best, and be healthy, to put itself in the mix.
“The way we ran yesterday it will be hard for us to challenge either of them,” said Gee on Wednesday. “But it’s certainly not impossible.”
Morgan McCormick continued her dominance by placing first overall in the girls 2.9-mile race on Tuesday, in a time of 7:57.87 — which broke the course record.
McCormick, who beat runner-up Zoe Harris of Greenwich by more than 36 seconds, has not been beaten by an FCIAC rival this season.
Emily Welch was seventh overall in a time of 9:26.25, followed closely by Erika Bonnist in eighth place (19:33.03).
Rounding out the team’s top seven were Elizabeth Lynch (12th, 19:52.42), Carly Sullivan (18th, 20:38.64), Nina Mellin (29th, 21:33.01) and Meaghan Downey (30th, 21:49.03).
The Wilton girls started out slow but finished well over the final mile to pass Danbury.
“They came back pretty strong,” said Gee, noting that Elizabeth Healy, one of the team’s top runners, wasn’t feeling well and wound up placing 31st.
The Wilton boys, who were without top runner Connor Drake (who was sick), beat St. Joseph (22-34) but came up short against Greenwich (19-50) and Danbury (15-50) to end the regular season at 7-8.
The Warriors were led by an 11th-place finish by Luke Maloney, in a time of 17:27.25. He was followed by Sean Cunningham (16th, 17:55.19), Carsten Langholm (22nd, 18:10.88), James Steward (24th, 18:16.77), Seth Warren (42nd 19:28.37), Tyler Zengo (44th, 19:34.16) and Jason Cai (47th, 20:21.22) to compete Wilton’s top seven.
Gee said the young Warriors have a bright future, with many of the top runners — Drake, Flynn Crowther, Steward and Zengo — only sophomores, and Maloney a junior.
“They have the potential to be quite a good team in two years, even next year,” said Gee. “They have a really solid core.”
At their home meet on Oct. 4, the Wilton girls team scored two more wins at Allen’s Meadow, but also suffered its first loss of the season.
The Warriors scored wins over Fairfield Ludlowe (25-31) and Norwalk (15-49), but lost to unbeaten Ridgefield (20-49).
McCormick was the overall winner of the 2.5-mile race in a time of 15:29.69, while Welch was ninth (16:11.28), Lynch 15th (16:46.88), Elizabeth Healy 16th (16:48.77) and Sullivan 18th (17:02.3) to round out the team’s top five.
The Wilton boys team also won two of three races, defeating Ridgefield (22-39) and Norwalk (22-45) but falling to Ludlowe (17-41).
The Warriors were led by Drake’s fifth-place finish in a time of 18:18.06 for the 3.15-mile course. Maloney was eighth (18:50.8), Cunningham 13th (19:15.84), Steward 16th (19:25.9) and Langholm (20th, 19:56.46) to round out the team scoring.