SCC Preview: Xavier and Cheshire are Favorites

Thurs., 10/19         SCC CHAMPIONSHIP                      East Shore Park- New Haven      1:00 pm 

Boys: Defending Champions-  Xavier 44  Amity 53;   Andrew Thompson, Fairfield Prep

Individuals-  In last fall's State Open, Andrew Thompson of Fairfield Prep lost by only one second to Zakeer Ahmed and finished 10th in the Northeast Regional meet to earned a place in the Footlocker National Cross Country Championship.  Right behind him in the conference meet was fellow junior Brendan Murray of Cheshire.  Unfortunately, Murray became Ill during the Class LL meet and staggered across the finish line in 81st place, failing to qualify for the State Open. 

Murray bounced back and ran under 9:21 four times this spring, including a personal best time of 9:06 at the Loucks Games.  This battle will play itself out from the conference, to the class meet, to the Open and beyond this fall. There is no telling who will come out on top. 

Not to be overlooked will be Xavier sophomore Robbie Cozean of Xavier who finished 5th at the State Open last year and Shelton junior Robert Dillon who has run 4:25 for the 1600m and 9:33 for the 3200m during outdoor track. 

Teams- For long time followers of Connecticut cross country, Xavier was the standard of excellence that everyone tried to reach.  Under legendary coach Bob Michalski, the Falcons finished top two in the State Open 21 out of 30 years from 1970-1999.  While the X-men won another Open title in 2009 and had two runners up finishes in 2011 and 2012, they have since run into a wall of FCIAC teams who have taken the top two spots the past four years. 

This looks like the year Xavier might get back up on the podium.  They return their top five from the SCC championship team and hope to move up in the state rankings.  "Staples is the clear favorite" said Xavier coach Chris Stonier, "but we are more confident now than when we were going into the summer." 

Stonier credits their confidence to their improvement of Will Curran, Trevor Christie and Ryan Grochowski during their summer training.  "They put in a good summer and are looking great." 

The one question mark for the season is the return of their front runner Cozean who was diagnosed with a stress fracture in April.  He was in a boot until the end of July and Stonier says he won't be ready for the early season meets.  He added that "he should be at full strength by the class meets and State Open"

While Xavier may be the favorite, never count out Amity.  You have to go back a decade and a half to find a time when they were out of the top four in the conference.  Last year, Jon Faitsch moved over from Guilford and took over as head coach at Amity from Bob Orgavan.  At Guilford, Faitsch used track as a spring board for greater success in the fall.  His distance training methods were once again proven successful when Amity had seven returning harriers ran between 15:55 and 17:13 in a 5000m track race in May. That should keep the conference meet interesting. 

Girls: 2016 Champions-  Cheshire 60 Guilford 90; Emily Criscuolo, Amity

Individuals- Senior Lauren Daddi has finish sixth, fourth and third in the SCC championship and this year she is the top returner.  But unfortunately, she was injured during most of outdoors and did not run as well as she would have hoped. 

Guilford sophomore Meredith Bloss had an outstanding end to her first year of high school, breaking 11 minutes in the 3200m to take 5th at the State Open and also running under 5:10 for the 1600m.  This could be a great battle between them with 5:23 miler Rachael Cipolla of Guilford as a dark horse. 

Teams- The past few years, Cheshire has had some talented underclassmen who have now matured into juniors and seniors.  The Rams return their top five from last year's SCC meet, led by senior Lauren Daddi who is now the top returner. 

While Cheshire won by 30 points last year, runner up Guilford returns their entire top seven which should provide a challenge for the defending champions.  Under long time coach Jim Ford, the Indians have won 14 SCC titles, so they have proven they know how to win.  Mercy also returns five of their top seven, and they had a strong JV that took four of the top nine spots to take the SCC JV championships. 

SCC Virtual Boys Meet

SCC Virtual Girls Meet

Conference Schools

Amity                    Branford                            Career Magnet                   Cheshire              Daniel Hand

East Haven          Fairfield Prep                     Foran                                  Guilford               Hamden

Hillhouse             Jonathan Law                   Lauralton Hall                     Lyman Hall          Mercy

North Haven      Notre Dame-W Haven        Sacred Heart Academy     Sheehan              Shelton

West Haven        Wilbur Cross                      Xavier