The fall season represents the start of a new year, but for some of the local girls cross country teams, the expectations remain high, while others are looking to improve and start trending in the right direction.
Berlin is once again among the best teams in not only the CCC, but in Class MM. The Redcoats lost three key members of their team from a year ago, but bring back plenty of depth that should pose problems for opponents.
Newington, Plainville and Innovation are a few teams that saw some ups and downs last season, but bring back plenty of veterans to go along with a number of newcomers and young runners that should make meets competitive.
New Britain on the other hand, lost its best runner, and is trying to continue the upwards trend of the program.
Here is a closer look at the local girls cross country teams:
Head Coach: Lisa Kawecki (3rd season)
Last Year: N/A
Key Losses: Shaelyn Pacheco, Emilee Daddio, Lauren Lewicki
Key Returnees: Larissa Tabb (Senior), Europa Tellez (Junior), Jaime Kelly (Junior)
Outlook: Perhaps the biggest question facing the Hurricanes this season is who will replace all-conference runner Shaelyn Pacheco? Junior Europa Tellez looks to be next in line to be New Britain’s No. 1 runner. After a strong showing in 2016, big things could be expected of Tellez. Behind her will be seniors Larissa Tabb and junior Jaime Kelly. Both should be key contributors for a team that graduated four seniors or more than half the team. Kelly was the lone Hurricane runner to qualify for the Class LL meet. New Britain might not win many meets, but it should be competitive.
Head Coach: Steven Soucy (9th season)
Last Year: 10-0 (6th Class MM)
Key Losses: Lisa Grieco, Nicole Vasil, Samantha Bengiovanni
Key Returnees: Juliana Cancellieri (Sophomore), Madison Marolda (Senior), Morgan Luciani (Senior), Alexa Monroe (Junior), Madison Monroe (Junior), Audrey Jankovich (Sophomore)
Newcomer to Watch: Megan Perrotta (Freshman)
Outlook: If there’s one thing the Berlin girls cross country team knows how to do, it is how to be successful. The Redcoats went 10-0 in meets and took sixth place in Class MM last season. It would be safe to say that expectations are just as high this year. Head coach Steven Soucy lost three talented runners in Lisa Grieco, Nicole Vasil and Samantha Bengiovanni, but has a good mixture of upperclassmen and young runners returning. Sophomores Juliana Cancellieri and Audrey Jankovich, juniors Alexa and Madison Monroe and seniors Madison Marolda an Morgan Luciani bring depth to a talented roster.
Head Coach: Jen Deschenes-Emord (1st season)
Last Year: 1-4
Key Losses: Lucia Visconti
Key Returnees: Angelina Zacharias (Senior), Alexa Freitas (Senior), Madelyn Gentile (Sophomore), Carly Saindon (Senior)
Newcomers to Watch: Samantha Gorski (Junior), Jillian Grande (Junior), Danielle Pantano (Sophomore), Gabriella Paxi (Senior), Julie Robison (Sophomore), Vanesa Seguro (Junior)
Outlook: Like the boys cross country team, the Newington girls will have a new head coach in Jen Deschenes-Emord. It will be her first year coaching the sport. The Indians’ only key loss from 2016 was Lucia Visconti. This year’s squad returns a good mixture of talent including seniors Angelina Zacharias, Alexa Freitas and Carly Saindon along with sophomore Madelyn Gentile. There are also a bunch of new runners on the team that should provide plenty of depth. But the key to a successful season will be for the team to stay healthy.
Head Coach: Dan Dachelet (4th season)
Last Year: N/A
Key Losses: Catherine Myers, Marisa Matthews
Key Returnees: Isabella Scalise (Senior), Kate Kemnitz (Junior), Julia Michnowicz (Junoir), Kailey Schmarr (Junior), Amanda Perkowski (Junior), Natalia Adamczyck (Junior), Sarah Minkiewicz (Senior), Laini Pizzitola (Senior)
Newcomer to Watch: Kailey Schmarr
Outlook: The Southington girls cross country team comes into the 2017 season looking to have another great year. The Blue Knights have a solid, core group of upperclassmen that bring with them plenty of experience in knowing how to not only do well, but win meets. Senior Isabella Scalise and junior Kate Kemnitz will be the team’s top two runners with Scalise looking for another all-conference honor. After that, head coach Dan Dachelet has a group of six runners that are within 30-45 second of one another, leaving the coach with plenty of depth. Southington should be a tough opponent in Class LL as a result.
Head Coach: Shaun Berard (12th season)
Last Year: N/A
Key Losses: Somer Abdelsame
Key Returnees: Julia Restelli (Sophomore), Amy Muller (Junior)
Outlook: The Blue Devils return two of their top three runners from last year in sophomore Julia Restelli, an all-conference selection, and junior Amy Muller, meaning the team should have plenty of success not only this season, but in the future as well. Overall, head coach Shaun Berard has highlighted the balance of the team with a strong group of seven runners. One piece Plainville will have to replace will be Somer Abdelsame, who Berard described as “an amazing leader.” It will be interesting to see which other runners step up outside of Restelli and Muller.
Head Coach: Bryan McCain (5th season)
Last Year: N/A
Key Losses: Valerie Harris, Kayla Betts
Key Returnees: Chassidy Matthews (Senior), Chriseny Perryman (Senior), Lisbette Acosta (Sophomore)
Newcomers to Watch: Nadia Joseph (Freshman)
Outlook: Innovation returns some key runners from last year’s squad including seniors Chassidy Matthews and Chriseny Perryman, who bring with them plenty of experience. Overall, the Ravens have plenty of depth with six seniors on the team. But one weakness head coach Bryan McCain sees in his team is a lack of a top-level cross country athlete. A newcomer to watch could be freshman Nadia Joseph who has shown plenty of potential according to McCain. For Innovation, the potential is there, it will just be a matter if the Ravens put it together.
David Glovach can be reached at (860) 801-5085 or firstname.lastname@example.org
On Twitter: @DavidGlovach