CIAC State Open recap

Two of the nation’s best dominated their respective races at the CIAC Open Championships Friday afternoon, held at Wickham Park in Manchester.

In the boys’ race, Darien High senior Alex Ostberg smashed the course record by more than 15 seconds with a scintillating time of 14:58. Ostberg was more than 200-meters ahead of second-place finisher Ari Klau of Hall, who was timed in 15:34. Finishing third was Wilton’s Spencer Brown in 15:38.

Staples’ junior Hanna DeBalsi was never seriously challenged in the girls’ race, breaking the tape with a winning time of 17:59. Taking second was Elisabeth Jean of Coventry in 18:43. She edged New Milford’s Mia Nahom, who crossed the line in 18:44.

Ostberg, who won last week’s Class L meet in 15:21.0, was focused on running a fast time on the challenging five-kilometer layout.

“My coach had me run last week kind of as a rust-buster. I hadn’t run Wickham since last year at this time. I ran last week to kind of get used to the course and to get ready for races to come because I knew I would be here the next two weeks with the Open and (next week’s) New England’s,” he said. “My goal was to just go out and better my performance from last week. I knew I was capable of running faster. As I mentioned last week, I was training right through the (class) meet. I did a hard workout the day before. I freshened up a little bit for this today. A long story short, what It really came down to is my coach telling me I could break 15 (minutes).  When I was coming out of the woods he said I was at 13:06 and to do the math. I knew I had to work it hard. I kind of wanted to surprise some people, turn some heads. I was able to go out there and do it today.”

Highlighted by an eighth-place finish from Eric Waterman (16:02), Danbury dethroned defending champion Ridgefield, 83-94, to take team honors. Staples was third with 109 points.

Running in just her third meet of the season, DeBalsi coasted to her 44-second victory. She’s eyeing next week’s New England Championship and the Foot Locker Nationals in December, a meet she placed second as a sophomore in 2013.

DeBalsi hopes to break her own course mark of 17:41 next Saturday at Wickham Park, site of the New England meet.

“I like the pressure and the high-stakes situations. I feel like I always run better,” she said. “(Next week) I want to go all out and get the course record.”

For the second straight year, Tolland won the girls’ title with a convincing 48-121 decision over runner-up Glastonbury. Staples was third with 177. Tenth-grader Hayley Collins led Tolland by taking fifth at 18:55. Rockville’s Haley Hasty was fourth in 18:48.

Coming soon, MIleSplit CT will have a complete story of the meet with more quotes.

Photos    More photos

Results:   Boys   Girls