BRISTOL - Bristol Central boys cross country runner Mark Petrosky was chasing down Middletownâ€™s Matthew Lecky with the finish line in sight.
Petrosky just got by Lecky by two-10ths of a second to place first in an epic finish, paving the way for the Bristol Central boys to beat Middletown 22-36 on Tuesday afternoon in what was seen as potentially the meet that will ultimately decide the division title.
â€śBy the end it was just me and him and we just battled for the whole last half mile,â€ť Petrosky said.
Behind Petrosky was Matt Roy in third place and the Rams also had finishers in spots 5-8. Ben Stafford-Kirk, Devin Flores, Pacifico Flores and Nate Deangelo rounded out those spots.
Central uses the hill on the trail to its advantage and that played a big role Tuesday for the boys, as they gained the advantage going up the hill and didnâ€™t look back from there on.
â€śThatâ€™s our secret weapon,â€ť Bristol Central cross country coach Tamara Stafford-Kirk said. â€śItâ€™s just a huge hill and wooded. The footing is not steady. We tell our kids thatâ€™s where you should be dropping people and taking over a race.â€ť
Last yearâ€™s top runner Roy is proud of the performance thus far from his friend and teammate Petrosky.
â€śWe use each other to get better,â€ť Roy said.â€ť â€śItâ€™s sort of like a rivalry. He usually does get better at the end because he has a good kick, but for most of the race we are close together.â€ť
Besides Lecky, Middletown had one other runner finish in the top five, Stefano Mazzeo. He finished fourth.
For the Bristol Central girls squad, the result wasnâ€™t the same.
Middletown won the meet 25-31, but Bristol Central had two of the top three finishers in Alex Sirko and Paige Hinton.
Sirko led the way for the Rams, finishing in second place.
Right behind her was Hinton, finishing 48 seconds after her teammate.
The next three finishers for Bristol Central were freshmen runners Marisa Heller, Bella Crandall and Kristi Yurko.
The three have been strong out of the gate as first-year runners.
Sirko believes that the trio has a lot more to offer going forward.
â€śI think the girls donâ€™t know what they have yet,â€ť Sirko said. â€śTheyâ€™re running good times for how old they are, but they just need to get it in their head that they can run faster.â€ť
Middletownâ€™s Ariana Monarca was dominant in her performance. She finished 1:05 ahead of Sirko.
â€śFor the first mile I feel like she went with me and then went out,â€ť Sirko said. â€śI feel like she was pacing on me and then knew her strategy and went out. I tried my best to stay with her.â€ť
Middletownâ€™s Nicole Nenninger and Alexa Gonzalez rounded out the top five.
For the boys, Stafford-Kirk believes this is the year.
â€śWeâ€™re ready to get ourselves back into that fighting position for a state championship,â€ť Stafford-Kirk said. â€śSo Iâ€™m hoping to get us in that top four and see what we can do.â€ť
On the other side, the girls are looking to improve each meet.
â€śOur three, four and five right now are freshman, so because of that weâ€™re disappointed that we didnâ€™t take the win, but the future looks bright,â€ť Stafford-Kirk said.
Dan Orencole can be reached atÂ orÂ On Twitter: @OrencoleDan