MANCHESTER – Plainville raced in the CIAC's Class M boys state cross country championship and in the Class SS girls state cross country championship Monday, racing in both the first and last races of the meet.
The Plainville boys scored 277 points as a group, finishing in 10th. Joel Barlow was the winner, scoring 93 points collectively.
Chase McNamara and Valiantsin Kasabrukhau were the pace setters for the Blue Devils, finishing in 17th and 22nd respectively.
McNamara's 18:01 was 15 seconds off from qualifying for all-state. Kasabrukhau finished in 18:26.
Plainville's remaining four boys ran in a pack near mid-field, with Justin Debellis leading the other three. His time of 20:16 earned him 76th.
Behind Debellis was Braedan Ramsey, who finished at 20:19 for 79th. Matthew Anderson followed at 20:27, placing 83rd, and Daniel Sozanski was 89th at 20:35.
During the pre-race walk through Plainville head coach Shaun Berard said his teams pointed to already having wet shoes, leading him to have a good feeling with it happening before the gun went off for start.
“I thought it was good when they were saying ‘oh, coach, my shoes are wet,’ when we were walking because that meant they weren’t going to try anything to keep the shoes dry. If they’re already wet, they’re already wet. … It was just trying to find those spots and get better footing, but at the end of the day there’s stretches of mud you just can’t avoid so you’ve got to run through it.”
The Blue Knight girls took third overall in the girls Class SS points race, scoring 136 points with four runners finding their way into the top-30.
Haddam-Killingworth took first in the team standings with 50 points, eding out a 61-point showing from East Hampton.
The catalyst for Plainvile's girls club was Gianna Rodriguez, who finished in 15th at a time of 22:17. Packed into the 30's, separated by 11 seconds, was Penley Giola in 30th, Rachel Diaz in 34th and Oliwia Marecik in 35th.
Giola clocked a time of 23:39 with Diaz and Marecik running near-identical times at 23:49 and 23:50, respectively.
The final two scoring runners to cross for Plainville was Hailey Andersen in 50th at 24:56 and Sophia Leonetti in 56th at 25:08.
Berard hopes the success of his teams will translate to more runners coming out to join Plainville come next fall, with the team already being on the rise.
“I hope maybe some eighth graders or maybe some other kids in the school will come out. We’re losing a great senior class, … the team’s going to be a lot smaller next year unless we can replace some people. Hopefully we find some fast kids.”