By Senior Correspondent Marty Ogden, Editing and Graphics by Ron Knapp
After months of summer training, many of the top teams in Connecticut had their coming out party and put in their first solid effort of the 2023 cross country season. The varsity sections were broken up into two but the meet timing service was able to compile a merge so the 45 boys teams and 28 girls teams can be compared to each other.
Bowdoin Classic Invite Results: https://live.fultonaccuratetiming.com/meets/26857
Xavier boys turned in the fastest performance of the day for Connecticut teams, finishing 2nd to Westfield (NJ) in Section I, but 4th overall behind Christian Brothers Academy (NJ), and Brookline (MA) in the merge.
The Falcons were led by Jack Ouellette who was the top runner for his team at Bowdoin last year before an illness sidelined him by the end of the season. Now a junior, he improved 51 seconds from his time last year to take 2nd place in the Varsity I race and 6th overall.
CBA, the 24 time NJ state champions and 2011 NXN Champions has qualified for the national meet 10 years in a row. They easily won with three in the top eight and all scorers in the top 14 to give them 36 points. Westfield was close behind with 45 and Brookline totaled 98. Xavier brought home 191 points with Danbury taking 6th with 228 points and New Miford combined for 276 to crack the top ten.
Xavier coach Chris Stonier was excited to get this meet in despite the predicted stormy weather that never appeared. He stated he was “happy to get this weekend over with because it shows some clarity.” He added that “This is the first race of the season, so we were a little rusty. I was really happy about Jack Ouelette’s form. Owen Martin and Jack Larkin ran a great second half, and our #5-6 runners Owen Jones and Ian Schmeelk were only 5 seconds apart to provide us some insurance.”
Rob Murray has led Danbury to three straight NXN appearances from 2006-08 and said “this was a solid opening. We haven’t raced since outdoor nations, except for a 3k time trial.” He listed his goals for the team by saying “we wanted to be disciplined, we wanted to be consistent and we wanted to be competitive, so I thought we did all those three things. We just need more specificity and run more on a cross country course.”
The Hatters had a very tight 49 second 1-5 man split, but Xavier was able to put two runners in…