Athletes to Watch: Eric van der Els, Brien McMahon

ERIC VAN DER ELS

At the beginning of the season, we picked this Brien McMahon senior to be the runner to beat at the State Open. Our thoughts haven't changed. Eric carried the momentum of his third-place finish in the 5,000 meters at the New Balance Nationals this past June into the cross-country season. He ran a personal best on the X-C trails of 15:24 with his victory at the FCIAC Championships. This past weekend, he held off Ridgefield's Gabriel Altopp in an exciting race at the Class LL Championships. The Brien McMahon standout, who was the indoor and outdoor 3,200-meter state champion, has been tough to beat over the last year. Expect the same on Friday.

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