Bristol Central cross country had the top performance in terms of overall team success, while Bristol Eastern had the top girls runner in the area individually, and Terryville had the top boys runner.
In all, it makes for a tremendous All-Press Cross Country Team.
Lancers freshman runner Avery Braccia had the fastest time of all the girls in the area, 21:14.5, which came at the CCC championship.
Braccia was the city championship winner as well.
“She saw success early in the season and that did not stop her from pushing herself,” Eastern coach Kyle Fuller said. “She kept pushing her teammates to get faster and to work together as a team in each race. She had strong senior leadership, and looks to lead the team in the future.”
Kangaroos runner Corey Picard had the 59th fastest time in the state for boys, with a time of 16:39, which came at Black Rock State Park in the conference championship.
He finished fourth at the Class SS meet with a time of 16:58. He was the Berkshire League individual champion, finished All-State in cross country and was first place this season in every dual meet.
“Corey is believed to be the first Berkshire League Champion from Terryville since the early ’80’s, which is an amazing accomplishment,” Terryville coach Stephanie Fuller said. “Corey’s legacy at THS will not only be the success of the 2017 team, but the success of the future teams that took their inspiration from Corey’s success.”
The Rams had a pair of top girls runners leading the way, junior Alex Sirko and senior Paige Hinton.
Sirko’s best time came in the CCC cross country championship, which she finished at 22:18.1.
“Alex came in really, really fit this year,” Rams coach Tamara Stafford said. “We could tell she really focused on her summer training. She came in really confident.”
Hinton had her best time at the Class L meet, 22:18.0.
“Paige is one of a kind,” Stafford said. “She really sets such a great example for the girls as a student and an athlete. She didn’t run cross country her freshman year. When we found out she didn’t do a fall sport we were like you have to come do cross country. In her junior and senior years she came through for us in a big way.”
For Sirko, she was all-conference and runner-up at the city championship.
St. Paul sophomore runner Kailyn Bielecki’s best time was 21:57.9, the second fastest time out of all area girls, behind Braccia. That time came at the NVL title meet.
“Kailyn is a hard-working athlete,” St. Paul coach Paul Gionfriddo said. “Her performances have been key to the Falcons success. Not only her performances on the course, but off the course as well, encouraging teammates and making lasting bonds. The sky is the limit on what she can achieve.”
Terryville’s Chris DeForest was right there at the top with teammate Picard throughout the season. DeForest finished with the 98th best time in the state at 16:58.6.
“Chris is a driving force behind the success of the team,” Fuller said. “Together with Corey, Chris encouraged and supported his teammates to strive for a high level of success, leading to a second place team finish in the Berkshire League.”
Rounding out our All-Press team is Bristol Central’s Mark Petrosky and Matt Roy.
Petrosky’s best time was 17:12.5, which came at the CCC championship, and was the 137th best time in the state.
“Mark could potentially be one of the most talented kids I’ve coached,” Stafford said. “He is really naturally talented and has great endurance and speed, which is a combination that really is so necessary to be a top cross country runner.”
Roy’s leadership led him to being named All-Press.
“Matt was our number one in his junior year so we were really looking forward to him coming back and leading the team this year as a captain and one of our top runners,” Stafford said. “He trains hard, he races hard and the kids really look up to him. With a younger team this year it was nice to have somebody to count on to steer the boys in the right direction.”