By Senior Correspondent Marty Ogden, Editing and Graphics by Ron Knapp
While the season is a couple of weeks old now, for many of Connecticut’s top teams and individuals this weekend will be the first big challenge. There are several big meets coming up this weekend. To the east is the Ocean State Invitational in Warwick Rhode Island at Goddard State Park. Over to the west in New York is the Bowdoin Park XC Classic in Wappinger Falls and the biggest meet in CT is the 11th Winding Trails XC Invitational in Farmington.
16th Bowdoin Park XC Classic
The 16th Bowdoin Park Classic is held on the site of the NY Federation Championships and NXN Regionals for NY and NE Regions and is a great opportunity for teams to test their mettle on an incredibly tough 5000m course and check out competition from throughout the Northeast.
The top four teams in the Marathon Sports CT HS Coaches Pre-Season Poll are scheduled to compete on Saturday. Ridgefield, the State Open runner up last year, is the top ranked team, but they are often cagey and rarely show their cards before the end of the season. It will be interesting to see if defending State Open champion Steven Hergenrother races hard or just uses the meet to become familiar with the course. The Tigers are on the Dyestat Northeast Regional watch list along with Danbury and New MIlford, the next two ranked teams from CT. Throw in Xavier, who is ranked 4th plus 8th and 10th ranked Staples and Greenwich and this one meet will certainly shake up the state rankings in the poll next week.
The local teams will face some solid competition. Perennial New Jersey powerhouse Christian Brothers Academy is the top ranked team in the region and has already qualified for NXN 14 times. Brookline was the DI Massachusetts champion last year and bring everyone back. In the Dyestat ranking they are ranked third In the Northeast Region. Westfield returns their top five from the New Jersey Meet of Champions fourth place team and are ranked 4th in the Northeast Region. The home state brings 5th ranked New York team Hunter College was 10th at the NY Federation meet last year with everyone back. Corning-Painted Post and Brooklyn Technical are on the Dyestat regional watch list.
2022 Bowdoin Park Classic Boys Race (John Nepolitan)
Besides Hergenrother who will be one of the favorites if he races hard, Shane Murphy of Hunter College broke 9-minutes for the 3200m last year. Westfield’s Avery Keith ran a 9:06 3200m and…