With the cross country season about to start, CT.milesplit will offer previews of the conferences throughout the state. Here we preview the Southwest Conference.
For the first time in 20 years, New Milford finished out of the top two last year in the SWC cross country championships. A new era is coming into the conference as the top two teams from last year, Newtown and Pomperaug, had a youth movement with a number of underclassmen getting varsity experience.
Newtown boast one of the best 1-2 punches in the conference as Nick Jacobs and Max Bloomquist both finished in the top eight at the conference meet. They are supported by a large group of rising juniors and senior who will offer plenty of depth.
But Pomperaug, who has finished 2nd the past four years will be hungry for their first SWC title since 2001. Sam Holst-Grubbe, Trey Generali and Dan Collette all finished in the top 16 last year and the Panthers have the best returning 5th man in the conference.
Joel Barlow only finished 7th last year but returns their entire top six. The Falcons are led by All SWC and All State runner Harrison Houser who finished 12th last year. With this much varsity experience, Barlow should move up considerably in the standings.
Senior Eli Nahom looks to become a three time SWC champion and he is coming into the season as the overwhelming favorite. Nahom, whose older sister Mia was a New England 1600m champion, qualified for New Balance Outdoor Nationals in the steeplechase and owns a 9:31 3200m. He was also fifth in the State Open last fall and is the 2nd best returner in the state.
New Fairfield's Anthony Golino was the Class MM champion last year and has run a 4:29 1600m to his credit. His 4th place finish at SWCs makes him the next best returner and he will face Newtown's Jacob who four seconds behind him in 5th place.