Green Wave settles for silver NMHS boys run for the gold at New England cross country

NMHS boys run for the gold at New England cross country

A precious four points was all last Friday that separated the New Milford High boys' cross country team from claiming rights as the best in Connecticut.

Coach Chris Bacich's Green Wave totalled 120 points for its first five runners in the state open race at Wickham Park in Manchester, just four behind Xavier of Middletown.

Such was the dominance of the state's best two teams that third-place Amity Regional of Woodbridge finished deep in their rear-view mirror with 202 points.

"Getting such a close second was a tough one to swallow," admitted coach Bacich, "but all our guys came through today. Xavier had to run their very best race of the year to beat us."

"A barely noticeable repositioning of runners during the race could have made the difference in the race's outcome," said the veteran mentor, who previously had helped guide five Green Wave teams to state class titles, as well as one state open championship and New England titles in 2003 and '04.

The New Milford pack had earned its state open berth via its state class 'L' run Oct. 31 at Wickham.

Zach Kraus extended his skein of strong races with a fourth-place individual performance last Friday, clocking 16:02 over Wickham's rolling, five-kilometer layout to trailing state open champ John Raneri by just 22 seconds.

His time was 51 seconds faster than that posted a week earlier while leading the Green Wave to its state 'L' title.

"Zack's effort was surely among the best postseason performances in school history," praised coach Bacich. "He was tremendous."

The Green Wave also featured Joel Anderson (35th, 16:55), Nick Grudev (40th, 16:59), Patrick Clare (45th, 17:04), Derek Vill (54th, 17:10), Cole Rossiter (62nd, 17:17) and, subbing for an ill Kerry Chayka, Noah Rossiter (143rd, 18:18).

Each of the Green Wave's first six runners significantly imporved times from the 'L' race.

"All week we focused on minimizing distractions, and the result was a very focused team," concluded coach Bacich.

The Green Wave will now set its sights on the New England championship, which will be at stake tomorrow (Saturday) at Wickham Park.

"I think we can mix it up with some of New England's best on Saturday," predicted the Green Wave maestro. "[Northern New England powers] Pinkerton, Bishop Guertin, Bishop Hendriken, and, of course, Xavier will be among the stronger teams."


The Green Wave girls of coach Tom Marks closed the books on a memorable campaign last Friday with a seventh-place state open effort, just one spot from qualification for New Englands.

The NMHS distaff runners previously had won the South-West Conference title and placed runnerup in Oct. 31's state class 'LL' race.

Setting the pace for the Green Wave last Friday was Jen Paradiso (40th, 20:13). She was supported by Jessica Noteware (66th, 20:37), Jenna Roberts (90th, 20:59), Gabby Passarelli (102nd, 21:05), Candice Weiss (105th, 21:08), Rachel Watson (136th, 21:48) and Erin Kersten (141st, 21:54).

The girls totalled 248 points for seventh place in a 24-team field, checking in 15 points behind sixth-place Fairfield Warde.


Neighboring Shepaug Valley High, the runnerup Oct. 31 in class 'S', finished 20th in last Friday's state open boys' field with 484 points.

Coach Tom Scarola's Spartans were led in the 183-runner boys' field at Wickham by Andy Pullaro (66th, 17:21). Chasing him home were Ken Heyne (128th, 18:02), Evan Garrity (145th, 18:24), Matt Griffith (157th, 18:38), Cody Brennan (179th, 19:47), Jim O'Donnell (181st, 19:58) and Ben Steers (182nd, 20:00).

-- Norm Cummings