The New Milford High School girls cross country team posted a big victory on Saturday as it ran away from the field to win the Winding Trails Invitational in Farmington.

Led by Claire Daniels, the Green Wave runners finished 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 8th and 28th to beat Avon with a score of 42 to 74.

Daniels won the race in her first high school invitational with a time of 18:58 and was closely followed by Katie Delaney with 19:00 and Brooke Morabito at 19:04. The trio ran a great team race together passing the leader at the 2.5 mile mark and never looking back.

“Claire is the first freshman since Brooke three years ago to win a race for us,” New Milford coach Giles Vaughan said. “To do it in her first invitational and run sub 19 minutes is pretty impressive. She has a lot of natural ability as a runner and truly loves our sport, which I think is what drives her to do well. She is also super fortunate to have two amazing seniors (Katie and Brooke) that took her under their wing starting with our summer training.”

At Winding Trails, Shannon Palmer came in eighth at 19:52, breaking 20 minutes for the first time in her career. Julia Colley rounded out the scoring in 28th place with a time of 22:08. Britney Flores came in at 22:46 to place 38th and Jessica Baranowski had a time of 22:56, coming in 42nd.

The girls are off to a great start, 5-0 through two dual meets and will be looking to keep the momentum of the win at Winding Trails going.

“This was our first invitational win in over 10 years. The key to all our early success has been how hard the girls worked all summer to prepare for their season,” Vaughan said. “Having your team come in the top three spots doesn’t happen too often at a big invitational, which is a credit to our team first mentality.”

The key to the Green Wave’s success at Winding Trails and what will keep them successful the rest of the season is that Daniels, Delaney and Morabito all run with the best interests of the team and each other in mind.

“The beautiful thing for a coach is that they all run for each other and it’s not about who comes in first, all of our races so far has been the three of them as a group working together,” Vaughan said. “In all of our races so far we have had three girls against one and that’s a big advantage. Shannon is also racing very well and also is not far from this pack and gets closer every race so we are hoping it will be a group of 4 by championship season.

“Julia has dropped minutes from her times from last year to round out our scoring and is an incredibly hard worker who runs for her teammates not for herself.”