To say the 2017 Xavier cross country team was a "Dream
Team" would be an understatement. The
Falcons won the Wickham Invitational, SCC championship, the State Open, New
Englands and NXN Northeast Regional meet. Then,
to cap off their season, on Saturday, the boys from Middletown finished 18th
at the Nike Cross Country National meet in Portland, Ore.
Putting this powerhouse team together was fifth year coach Chris Stonier who had unwavering faith in his team all season long. Back in August, Stonier felt his team had a shot at putting five runners in the top 25 at the State Open and challenging defending champion and NXN qualifier, Staples of Westport. Well, they did more than that and surprised many by winning the regional meet and punching their tickets to nationals.
They made it to Nationals in their usual style with a tight pack of only 18 seconds defeating New Jersey state champion Christian Brothers Academy 112- 123 . In every meet this year their scoring pack usually finished about 100m from each over 5000m races.
At Nationals, they were led by Coginchaug transfer Peter Schulten who finished in 93rd with a time of 16:23. This was the was the junior's third time this season he led his new team.
Fellow junior Dillon Selfors was only four seconds behind in 16:27 in 105th and has been in the top five in every race this season. William Curran, who was the number one man at the regional meet, was only four places and 1.6 behind.
The only senior in the top five was Own Curran who finished 119th in 16:33. Last year's front runner, Robbie Cozean who was injured last outdoor season and only started running again in August took the early lead in the race. The sophomore finished as the team's fifth runner in 16:55.
Trevor Christie and Owen Lally capped off their senior years by finishing 156th and 178th at the national championship meet.
With four of their top five back and a very strong jv team returning, Xavier will be looking to make a return trip to Portland. If they repeat their accomplishment in 2018, it will be the sixth year a Connecticut team has make nationals in 16 years. Xavier's 18th place finish was the 2nd highest finish for a local team behind Danbury's 2007 5th place finish.
Virginia state champion, Loundon Valley led throughout the entire race and finished with a low score of 89 to Fayetteville-Manlius' 159.
In an incredible match up, Timpview High senior Aidan Troutner came from behind with about 600m to go and outkicked Brodey Hasty of Brentwood High, TN with a time of 15:03.9 to 15:05.9.