BRISTOL - All four area teams come into the season with different expectations. With cross country, it takes a group effort to make a run for states.
The best team in the area is Bristol Central. Head coach Tamara Stafford-Kirk enters her 19th season in what has been a very successful tenure with the Rams.
Bristol Eastern follows Central coming off of a strong season last year. However, this year’s Eastern’s group is young and expectations should be tempered.
For Terryville and St. Paul, the competitiveness of the conferences is huge. For second year head coach Paul Gionfriddo, he wants to replicate the success of previous St. Paul teams.
Below is a closer look at the local cross-country slate for the upcoming season:
Head Coach: Tamara Stafford-Kirk (19th year)
Last year: Boys 10-1 overall, Girls 7-4 overall
Key returnees for boys: Matt Roy (senior), Kyle Cassidy (senior), Eric Knox (senior), Devin Flores (junior), Pacifico Flores (junior), Ian Kreciglowa (junior), Stephen Pittman (junior), Ben Jabs (junior), Trevor Damon-Smith (junior), Jacob Canela (junior), Wilmer Rivera (junior), Mark Petrosky (sophomore), Ben Stafford (sophomore), Ben Frechette (sophomore), Jose Ramirez (sophomore), Leo Kavanaugh (sophomore), Jake Leone (sophomore), Nathan Sinclair (sophomore), Luke Schilling (sophomore), Nate DeAngelo (freshman), Noah Morrison (freshman), Ray Peters (freshman)
Key returnees for girls: Paige Hinton (senior), Stephanie Suon (senior), Alex Sirko (junior), Kiara Suazo (junior), Heidy Luis-Fuentes (junior), Katie Funk (sophomore), Hazel Vega (sophomore), Stephanie Poulin (sophomore), Bella Crandall (freshman), Kristi Yurko (freshman), Marisa Heller (freshman), Aisha Camacho (freshman), Passion Jimenez (freshman), Melaney Dam (freshman)
Boys Outlook: Coming off of a very strong season, the boys cross country team has high expectations, no different than any other season for Central. Under coach Stafford-Kirk, the boys have won 12 divisional titles during her tenure as coach. Matt Roy was the boys city champion last season and returns as a senior. He is looking for his best year to date. In the Class L Championship last season, the boys finished ninth. This year the boys look to defend their city and divisional championships.
Girls Outlook: For the girls, the 7-4 season last year was a bit of a disappointment. This season, they expect a better year. The girls finished 15th in the Class L Championship. Hannah Jones was the best runner for Central last season and she graduated so the girls are looking for other runners to step up this season. The strength for the girls team is the chemistry with the group. Captain Paige Hinton is the leader of the group and will look for a strong season out of the Central girls.
Head Coach: Kyle Fuller (6th season)
Last year: Boys 8-7, Girls 9-6
Key returnees for boys: Garrod Clute (senior), Rohan Koshy (senior), Alex Bartucca (senior) Christain Deltano (senior), Matt Girard (senior), Keagan Mullan (senior), Mason Poirer (senior), Logan Zdun (junior) Jarrod Doucette (junior), Josh Doucette (junior), Noah Hickey (junior), Justin Lacouture (junior), Cameron Mace (junior), Zach Martin (junior), Trevor Mays (junior), Carlos Rodriguez (junior), Santo Roy (junior), Sean Sullivan (junior), Ben Wadowski (junior), Osama Ahmed (sophomore), Jacob Boutote (sophomore), Dylan Braccia (sophomore), Mike Crisafulli (sophomore), Parker Dayton (sophomore) Joe Hardin (sophomore), Shawn Huffman (sophomore), Ben Johnsky (sophomore), Jason Kosciukiewicz (sophomore), Aiden Krok (sophomore), Cory Ouellette (sophomore), Nico Provenzano (sophomore), Kyle Rivera (sophomore), Jose Rodriguez (sophomore), Lewis Sinche (sophomore), Nolan Abitabilo (freshman), Andrew Anulewicz (freshman), Gabriel Bartolome (freshman), Seth Huffman (freshman), Tyler Martin (freshman), Jeffery Taillon (freshman), Nate Woodford (freshman)
Key returnees for girls: Maggie Santacroce (senior), Kasey Buchas (junior), Morgan Moliengo (junior), Tori Serafin (junior), Lori Chen (sophomore), Janice Gao (sophomore), Alyssa Lavoie (sophomore), Kelsie St. Germain (sophomore), Sophie Andrade (freshman), Avery Braccia (freshman), Audrey Perry (freshman)
Season Outlook: Both the boys and girls are young for Eastern. As a group the two are looking for growth throughout the season and to develop consistency in meets. In the division, Bristol Central is the toughest challenge followed up by Berlin and Middletown who also are strong teams.
Head Coach: Stephanie Fuller (8th year)
Last year: N/A
Key returnees for boys: Corey Picard (senior), Aaron Schein (senior), Colby Brown (junior), Chris DeForest (sophomore), Conor Garrity (sophomore)
Key newcomers for boys: Mike Tiscia (senior), Evan Dorso (senior), Jacob Collette (sophomore), Ryan Cook (sophomore), CJ Hart (sophomore), Nick Zappone (freshman), Jayden Machowski (freshman), Nick Picarrillo (freshman), Justin Ethier (freshman)
Key returnees for girls: Jordan Conklin (junior), Bella Christiana (junior), Devin Girch (junior), Katelyn Craighill (junior), Savannah Wallingford (sophomore)
Key newcomers: Emily Morgan (sophomore), Sarah Evanoski (freshman)
Season Outlook: The boys cross country team will be striving to compete with Northwestern and Nonnewaug at the top of the BL. With some basketball seniors in their first season with the cross country team, coach Fuller is hoping that can propel them to the top of the league. The Berkshire League has been getting tougher each season and this season should see even more growth with the talent. For the girls, the competition in the Berkshire League is also tough. Coach Fuller expects her group to improve on last year’s performance.
Head Coach: Paul Gionfriddo (first year)
Captains: Brendan Kendrick, Lizzy Melvin and Jake Sanzone
Key returnees: Aidan Reilly (sophomore), Kailyn Bielecki (sophomore), Tucker Raymond (sophomore), and Jordan Rinaldi (junior)
Outlook: The St. Paul cross country team enters the second season under coach Paul Gionfriddo with high expectations. After serving as an assistant coach for two seasons, Gionfriddo took over last year. The Falcons have a good number of returning runners while also expecting big contributions from the younger runners. For Gionfriddo, the goal this year is to build off of success that St. Paul has seen in recent years. He believes that with the coaching staff working with the runners, there is no limit to the potential this team has in the upcoming season.
Dan Orencole can be reached at 860-973-1811 or firstname.lastname@example.org
On Twitter: @OrencoleDan