MANCHESTER - Plainville, Berlin and Southington tackled Wickham Park Tuesday afternoon, running in the Central Connecticut Conference Cross Country Championships with the build up for the stats tournaments heightening.
Plainville's day at the park was good, getting strong finishes from Val Kasabrukhau and Charles Lasko. Kasabrukhau' time of 18:20.5 was good enough for 48th while Lasko's time of 18:28.6 put him 52nd in the field.
"Nobody really ran a bad race today," said Plainville head coach Shaun Berard. "... We had some JV guys drop some significant time. I think everybody ran a good race today."
Plainville's scoring five was rounded out by Matt Badorek (80th, 18:59.9), Matt Andersen (87th, 19:06.5) and Justin DeBellis (128th, 20:09.8).
For the girls side of Plainville, they had a strong finish from Gianna Rodriguez, who finished 55th at 22:48.2. Behind her was Penley Giola at 23:33.2 in 72nd.
Behind her was Oliwia Marecik (91st, 23:56.2), Rachel Diaz (94th, 23:59.2) and Sophia Leonetti (104th, 24:31.9).
Overall, the balance of Plainville is a big high note for the program, who is getting good times all they way down to the fifth runner.
"I like our team this year. I like the balance of it, that both the boys and the girls we're solid up to number five," said Berard. "In big races like the state race, having a solid number five is important because if you've got four great runners and a five is coming up down the line, the points add up very quickly. ... We're going to have great balance at the state meet."
As a team, the Plainville boys finished 12th overall with 296 points. The Plainville girls finished 14th, scoring 398 points.
MENTAL GAME STRENGTHENING FOR BERLIN
Berin's girls cross country team battled for the top spot Tuesday afternoon, packing the front of the field with Redcoat runners among area CCC competition.
Natalie Kmita was the leader for the Berlin girls, finishing 13th at 20:40.5. Berlin packed the top-70 with its scoring runners, getting Nadia Malec (49th, 22:27.9), Claudia Jankovic (58th, 22:51.4), Nina Garofalo (60th, 23:00.2) and Taylor Desmarais (70th, 23:31.1) all across for good scores.
The battle for Berlin's girls team hasn't been against getting in physical shape as much as it's getting in the right state of mind to battle.
"The biggest hurdle for us hasn't been physical, it's been mental," said Berlin girls head coach Steve Soucy. "... This team is very young, so they get very nervous. Quite honestly, we kind of ignored the things we'd normally do before races like this to just try and get them in a better mental state. Physically they're right where they need to be."
On the boys side, Berlin was led by 29th-place Ben Fisher at 17:49.4. Will Turgeon was 51st at 18:27.4 behind him, and Austin ValedaSerr finished 68th at a clip of 18:45.5.
Ryan Markey (118th, 19:57.2) and Alex Gabor (120th, 20:02.7) also had scoring times for Berlin.
Berlin's girls team finished sixth in the standings, scoring 238 points. The Berlin boys team was 15th in the standings, scoring 372 points.
COME TOGETHER, LEARNING CURVE
Southington's boys cross country team has been gelling together as they go, according to Blue Knights head coach Dan Dachelet, and walk out of the CCC cross country championship with a fourth-place finish they're certainly not upset with.
"Guys team, they've been coming together really well this year," said Dachelet. "... Gradually progressed through the season and this was certainly the high water mark for us so far, ... fourth place in this conference is a good thing."
Jake Nafis (20th, 17:22.2), Drew Nafis (26th, 17:41.1) and Grayson Borla (33rd, 17:55.6) were the top three for the Blue Knights. William Leibler (62nd, 18:36.7) and Logan Miceli (64th, 18:38.6) closed out the top-5 for Southington strong, bringing the team score to 203.
"We beat teams today that we lost to in individual dual meets, and that was the goal," said Dachelet.
In the girls race, Jacqueline Izzo didn't race, leading to multiple Blue Knights needing to step up.
Jessica Lombardo was able to provide a much-needed leading time at 20:35.8, which put her in 12th overall. Behind her was Emma Talon (53rd, 22:40.4), Ava Egan (77th, 23:42.1), Megan Bissoni (87th, 23:52.1) and Megan Wadman (24:35.7) to round out scoring.
Southington's youth showed promise, but are still learning the ins-and-outs of the sport.
"On the ladies side, ... we had a couple of young people run really well," said Dachelet. "We've got a young team, a really young team. We're trying to figure out the whole sport of cross country with them, they're that young."