New Milford cross country sees mixed results at SWC Championships
New Milford senior Eli Nahom won another individual title and both the girls and boys teams had great races at the South West Conference Championship meet last week.
Nahom won the boys individual race in 16:16:7, capturing the title for a third straight October. The senior won the race by close to 30 seconds and became the first to three-peat in over 40 years.
“I felt pretty nervous going in because the past years I knew who I was racing but I didn’t pay as much attention this year,” Nahom said. “I was less focused on it. I ran a good time, I’m happy with it and am looking forward to next week.”
“Eli ran his typical race by letting the front runners sort themselves out and then just picking a point and taking charge. No one in the SWC this year can really stay with him after about the 3K mark,” New Milford coach Chris Bacich said. “He will be in the hunt for another individual state championship at the class meet, but he will be pressed by a strong field. Our main goal is to qualify for the State Open as a team. Xavier and Pomperaug look to be among the stronger teams in Class L, but there are probably three additional teams looking to get in there ahead of us, so we have our work cut out for us.”
The Green Wave girls, meanwhile, ran great at SWCs but came in third based on the tie-breaker sixth runner.
“We were disappointed with third place but the girls ran hard and they all dropped minutes off their times from last year,” New Milford coach Giles Vaughan said.
New Milford’s Claire Daniels (19:16) came in second place in her first conference championship and continues to impress in her first season. Brooke Morabito ran 19:24, over two minutes better than last season and came in fifth.
Katie Delaney (19:51) was 8th and ran hard to make first team all conference and dropped almost 2 minutes off her time from last year.
Shannon Palmer (20:38) made the second team all conference finishing in 17th and has made huge improvements all year.
“Our secondary pack ran well and closed the gap on each other to hopefully help each other and our team at Class L,” Vaughan said.
Julia Colley (22:42) was 45th and made a real aggressive attempt in the first mile to put herself in a good position to try and help the team score better. Jessica Baranowski in 51st (23:05) was not far behind and continues to get better each week as she figures things out in only her second season.
Senior Olivia Smith came in 53rd (23:46). She has been a pleasant surprise over the last month locking down the seventh spot and running the best times of her career.
“We hope to use our disappointment from SWCs to help fuel us in a competitive Class L field on Saturday,” Vaughan said. “Guilford, E.O. Smith, and Cheshire all have good teams and we will need everyone to race their best to have a chance. We haven’t won a state title since 1997 and the girls are hoping to change that Saturday.”
Vaughan feels the top of his lineup has a chance at something special and if the rest of the Green Wave perform, a state title could become a reality.
“Our lead pack of Claire, Brooke and Katie should be at the front of the race and all have a great chance at an individual title. They all ran great at Wickham earlier this year and should feel confident on that course,” he said. “We will need a solid performance from our 5,6,7 runners to give us a chance at a banner.”