The top CT teams battled it out in the CIAC Open again at Wickham Park on Friday, November 4th, on a mild but maybe too warm and windy day. Some history was made as Glastonbury won its fifth Open title and first since 2017, moving the Guardians into second place in all-time wins behind the half dozen for St. Bernard and Ridgefield and ahead of the four by Fitch and Tolland. The Hall guys got their first Open title, three years after the girls won their first in 2019 and four years after the guys' previous best finish as the runner-up in 2018.
For most of the teams, the warmer conditions meant just trying to survive and gut it out to the finish in the battle for an Open title or one of the top six spots that earned a ticket to the New England championship in North Scituate, Rhode Island on Saturday, November 12th. A few teams however managed to boost their time-average and speed rating performances to exceed what they did in the Class Divisional races six days before.
Like last year when they lowered their average time from a soggy Divisionals to nice Open day by an astounding 52 seconds to win the Open title, the Ridgefield guys were the biggest gainers in performance between the two races, though this time the Tigers' shed a slightly less jaw-dropping 22 seconds at the Open and had a speed rating gain of 8.4 points up to 169.0. Runners earned a little better SR at the Open compared to the same time in Divisionals because of the less favorable conditions on Friday.
Though the champion Glastonbury squad had the biggest perfomance leap between their win at Divisionals to the triumph at the Open on the girls side, the Guardians had plenty of company in post-race dances with happy feet. Class M champ New Fairfield had the fifth best overall rating at Divisionals, but the Rebels got better times at the Open to move up to 3rd place. Trumbull came in with the ninth best ratings from the Divisionals and actually ran a little slower at the Open, but on a day when the key was just surviving, the Eagles behind Katie Marchand's 2nd place finish earned 5th place with a little better speed rating.
Summaries for the two races are on the next two pages, and tomorrow will feature a blowout for the New England championship with the data on the 30 teams from CT-ME-NH-RI-VT (MA does not attend) that will be running on Saturday.