By KEVIN ROBERTS
Bristol’s cross country teams put together some strong team efforts, along with good individual finishes, at the CIAC championship meet on Oct. 26 at Manchester’s Wickham Park.
Here’s how the three Mum City schools fared:
The Bristol Central boys finished second to only top-ranked Xavier in the Class L race. The second place finish put the Rams into Friday’s State Open for just the second time ever in the boys program.
“It feels really good. The boys were hyped,” coach Tamara Stafford-Kirk said. “They wanted to win it, we got a little bit of a bad break with Xavier being moved into L, but we’re not going to make excuses. We ran a great race, finished pretty tightly packed, so we’re excited. It’s an automatic berth to the Open, and we want to be a Top 6 team in the state.”
Senior brothers Pacifico and Devin Flores led the Central boys with 10th and 11th place finishes. Both Flores brothers finished in 16:48.
“That was really nice to see with the Flores brothers,” Stafford-Kirk said. “They’re four-year runners, they grind it out, they’ve worked really hard, and sometimes they’ve taken a back seat to the younger runners, but they’ve always been motivated individually, they’ve always been great teammates, so it was really great to see them finish like that.”
Sophomore Nate DeAngelo (15th, 16:55) was the next Ram to cross the finish line, followed by juniors Jose Ramirez (21st, 17:03) and Mark Petrosky (23rd, 17:18).
The Bristol Central girls finished 12th in the Class MM meet.
“Overall, we would have liked to be in the top 10 but after a tough couple of weeks battling a couple nagging injuries I am very pleased that our full varsity team was able to race and finish the season together,” Stafford-Kirk said.
Freshman Natalie Dube finished off a great freshman season with a 37th place finish overall (21:49). Senior captain Alexandra Sirko was the next Ram to finish the race (23:05), followed by sophomore Natalie Popielarz (23:36), senior captain Kiara Suazo (23:39) and sophomore Isabella Crandall (23:55).
“Senior captains Alex Sirko and Kiara Suazo are four-year runners for me,” Stafford-Kirk said. “Their leadership has kept this team strong. Alex was just off her personal record and Kiara destroyed her own personal record at Wickham, finishing in 23:39.”
Popielarz and No. 7 runner Katie Funk, a junior, also had personal records. Sophomore Marisa Heller was the No. 6 runner for the Rams.
The Bristol Eastern boys had an amazing day, led by senior Benjamin Wadowksi’s 48th place finish.
“Every boy actually broke their PR (personal record), not just from this season, but for their whole high school career,” coach Kyle Fuller said. “Whether you’re a sophomore, junior, senior, they all had the best race of their life today. Normally, you get one or two kids having PRs.All seven had PRs. It’s crazy.”
Wadowski was followed by junior Parker Dayton (18:28), sophomore Gabriel Bartolome (18:39), junior Nicholas Provenzano (18:52) and senior Sean Sullivan (19:01) in the Lancer Top 5. Seniors Zachary Martin, and Logan Zdun were the sixth and seventh runners.
“What a way to finish your season, even your high school career,” Fuller said. “Have a PR. Not only have a PR, the whole team PRs.”
The Bristol Eastern girls finished 11th as a team, led by sophomore Avery Braccia’s 15th place finish (20:56). Braccia was followed by freshman Fiona Gallagher (22:27), junior Kelsie St. Germain (22:47), senior Paige McLaughlin (23:28), and junior Alyssa Lavoie (23:55). Freshman Alison Sullivan and junior Abigail Fishbein were the sixth and seventh runners.
The St. Paul boys finished sixth as a team in the Class S race, led by a 17th place finish from junior Aidan Reilly (18:26). Reilly was followed by fellow junior Tucker Raymond, who placed 28th (18:58). The last three runners in the Falcon Top 5 were senior Jordan Rinaldi (37th, 19:13), junior Jeremy Rinaldi (19:40), and junior Joseph Gaffney (20:10). Junior Michael Ferraro and senior Dennis Cawley were the sixth and seventh runners.
For the St. Paul girls, junior Kailyn Bielecki had a great day and placed 11th overall. She will compete in Friday’s State Open meet at Wickham Park.
Bielecki was followed by junior Katherine Mazzarelli (23:40), freshman Catherine Wootton (24:09), senior Jessica Persechino (26:08) and senior Abby Poirot (26:47). Sophomore Sammi Bray and senior Lauren Ferguson were the sixth and seventh runners.
The State Open boys race is Friday at 2 p.m., followed by the girls race at 2:45 p.m.