Freshman Kate Wiser of Pomperaug upset two time SWC champion
Angela Saidman of Immaculate in a one of the greatest battles in the history of
the Southwest Conference held Wednesday at Bethel High. The two runners were never more than a few
yards apart at any point of the race and it came down to a sprint over the
final 100m on the track where Wiser pulled away and won in a time of 18:38.08
with Saidman just over four seconds back.
Wiser's time barely broke Brittany Mendelson's course and Pomperaug
school record by .05 seconds and Saidman ran the 3rd fastest time on
"She is just a workhorse. She's very intense and likes to complete, Pomperaug coach Mark Goodwin said of Wiser.
Wiser easily led Pomperaug to the team championship with a score of 34 points to Immaculate's 64. This make it three straight titles for the Panthers and three straight runners up for the Mustangs. Pomperaug won with their superior depth, placing five runners in the top 12. "We were hoping to get five in the top 10" said coach Goodwin. "But we were very happy with the win." He credited the win to the team dynamics. "They are working well as a group. We have very good captains this year who are very supportive and they work hard and have fun."
Eli Nahom, easily defended his title and defeated Rob Moore of Pomperaug by 24 seconds running a time of 16:22.14 over the hilly 5000m course. Moore edged out Ryan Escoda of Newtown and sophomore Anthony Golino of New Fairfield.
Nahom was nervous going into the race, but stayed relaxed early in the race and ran with the pack the first mile. "It's really learning about racing. There are a lot of talented people, but I just made my move at the mile mark and felt good."
Newtown edged out Pomperaug for the win by a score of 44-56. Ten of the top 17 runners came from one of those two schools, but the Nighthawks were able to put three runners in the top eight, while Pomperaug only had two in the top ten. This was Newtown's first title since 2012 when they broke New Milford's 10 year winning streak. Meanwhile, Pomperaug has gone home with the 2nd place trophy the past four years.
Newtown coach Carl Strait said "it was all these boys that accomplished this. You take some boys with experience with some younger kids and this is how we won. They are all such great kids and get along with each other."
Senior captain Joel Duval stated "we took what we learned at camp and just had faith in our coach. We didn't run all out in most of our meets because this is what we really wanted."
Immaculate boys were hoping to be a little farther up in the standings, but they managed their highest finish at the SWCs in school history and edged out perennial champion New Milford 115-120. This is the first time the Green Wave finished out of the top two in 20 years.