By Senior Correspondent Marty Ogden, Editing and Graphics by Ron Knapp
Even though the 41st Wickham Park Invitational was canceled due to the stormy weather that impacted the state on Saturday, several teams saw action as they traveled out of state this weekend that resulted in some solid team and individual performances.
Ridgefield and Xavier, the top two teams in the last Marathon Sports Connecticut High School Coaches Boys Poll traveled to Cary, North Carolina to compete at the Great American XC Festival in the Race of Champions over the 5000m course used for the NNR Southeast Championships.
Ridgefield claimed 2nd in the 44 team race as Xavier took 5th. The two local teams vied for podium spots against Belen Jesuit Prep (FL) the #1 ranked team in the Southeast Region and 4th in the Dyestat National Ranking who won with 65 points to Ridgefield’s 165. Also in the field were DyeStat SE Regional #2 McCallie High (TN), who finished 9th and Dyestat SE regional #4 Calvert Hall College, (MD) who finished 10th.
“We are just getting started “said Ridgefield coach Bryan Kovalsky. “This was our first real race of the season and we aren’t ready to race at this point. There is a lot of room for improvement.”
This was a crowded field with 300 runners coming across the line in three minutes and 375 finishers in total. The field went out incredibly fast with Ridgefield’s pack, starting out in 2:12 for 800m and only being in the mid 60 places according to Kovalsky.
“You had to get out hard or you would get stuck,” Kovalsky explained.
They were led by defending State Open champion Steven Hergenrother who took 8th in 14:52.6. He went out through the 800m in about 2:07 and came through the 2000m mark under six minutes to be in sub 15-minute pace and was able to pick off a couple of places before the finish line.
“He felt like he could have run the race again a few minutes after the finish.” the coach said.
Charles Lovett finished in 25th place in a time of 15:37.8 with Sullivan Dunn right behind in 15:43.1 in 31st. Magnus Manley took 37th in 15:48.6 and Trevor Fuller, who was All State for Immaculate’s S Class S championship team last year, was 60th in 16:07.6. Junior Andrew Glenn (102nd) and sophomore Pearse McInerney (112th) both ran in the 16:30s to complete scoring for the Tiger’s squad.
Ridgefield’s top five averaged 15:38 on a course that Kovalsky guessed was…