MANCHESTER â€“ Bristol Central, Newington and Bristol Easternâ€™s girls competed in the CIAC's Class L state cross country championship Monday at Wickham Park, with both sides finishing strong and sending runnersÂ on to the State Open this Friday.
For the Bristol Central boys, their day saw them score 309 points as a team for 11th in the field. Newington was 16th overall with 425 points.
The team winner was Xavier, who packed the top-20 with scoring runners for a low of 54 points.
In a course with muddy conditions due to rain over the weekend, Bristol Central didnâ€™t focus too much on how the course ahead of them was presented as much as they were looking to take whatever negatives came and turning the moment into a positive reaction.
â€śWhen youâ€™re running in a pack, itâ€™s hard to see [the dry spots ahead of you],â€ť said Bristol Central head coach Tamara Stafford-Kirk. â€śâ€¦ I just told them to stay focused. Our biggest thing is having a positive reaction when something negative happens. â€¦ Thatâ€™s been more of our focus with them, reacting to someone passing or if you stumble, youâ€™ve got to react quickly with a positive reaction to get back into the race. That was more of our focus.â€ť
Frankie Porrini of Bristol Central was the leader for the Rams, finishing 11th in the field. Chasing him was Christopher Roy, who finished 55th at a time of 18:48.
â€śFrankie, making the top-12 for all-state and getting a place in the Open as a junior is good,â€ť said Stafford-Kirk. â€śI think he wanted to finish a little bit higher. His training has really been on point, â€¦ he ran really well (Monday) and in tough conditions, he ran well. I was pretty happy with his race.â€ť
Further down, Lance Archibald crossed at 19:00 for 67th and Patrick Wininger crossed at 19:29 for 80th.
Ryan Sarmiento (96th, 20:08), Josh Poulin (108th, 20:21) and Tyler Wilson (127th, 20:58) rounded out the race for the Rams.
Leading the Newington boys was Michael Bohlke, who raced near the front of the pack all day. His fourth-place finish earns him a guaranteed spot in the State Open later this week, as well as all-state. He ran a time of 16:20.
â€śToday were were all about make sure he got to the Open,â€ť said Newington coach Josh Brown. â€śHeâ€™s definitely capable of hanging with [the other top runners]. Today, the course conditions werenâ€™t great, so it was just go out and make sure we can solidify a spot in the top-12 and make sure we can move on to Friday.â€ť
Collin Karanian was the next to cross for Newington, finishing 70th at 19:04. Further behind him, the rest of the Nor'easters were pack running.
Ralph Campos (110th, 20:26), Charles Pade (117th, 20:37), James Vendetti (124th, 20:53), Mason Addircano (136th, 21:27) and Zachary White (137th, 21:33) all rounded out the race within a minute of one another for Newington.
With a handful of runners having their season end, the lone senior in Bohlke moves on. Brown said itâ€™ll be good to have them back next year as they grew through a rebuilding season this fall.
â€śThey ran a really good season, a really big rebuilding year,â€ť said Brown. â€śWe lost a lot of guys over the last few years. It was a lot of fun, â€¦ itâ€™s was just nice to having some boys that know within us and each other weâ€™ve got a few more years with them.â€ť
The individual champion in Class L for the boys was Gavin Sherry of Conard, running a time of 15:25.
NEWINGTON, BRISTOL EASTERN AND CENTRAL BATTLE IT OUT
Newington's girls team scored 314 points, finishing 12th in the field. New Milford was the team to beat Monday, scoring 55 points for the class girls title. Taking the individual Class L girls title was Sydney Kelleher of New Milford, running a time of 19:13.
The Bristol Central and Eastern girls did not field a scoring team.
Like her brother, Katie Bohlke ran a fast enough time to earn both all-state and a guaranteed spot in the State Open on Friday. Katie ran a time of 19:57, finishing sixth in the field.
Alexandrea Daha was the next across for Newington in 44th, running a time of 22:41.
Another gap separated Newington's runners, with the next coming across at 25:02 in 85th in Rosalia Pouliot. Not far behind her was Maeve Gunning (91st, 25:21) and Maggie Woods (94th, 25:29).
Carissa Toth and Elizabeth Doll finished the race for Newington in 103rd and 111th, respectively. Toth ran a time of 26:06 and Doll crossed at 26:53.
For Eastern, its leading runner was Fiona Gallagher, who ran a 22:44 for 46th. Lauren Ayotte (108th, 26:32) and Rita Gao (119th, 28:32) also finished the race for the Lancers.
On Bristol Central, Maura Waters was the Rams leader at a time of 24:45 for 80th. Not far behind her was Katie Tran, who was 96th at 25:37.
A young team, all of which are sophomores or younger this season, Stafford-Kirk pointed to the season showing tremendous growth while giving high credit to her freshman No. 1 in progressing this season.
â€śMaura, she stepped in for us as a freshman. Our whole team is young, we donâ€™t have a junior or senior on the girls team, so this has definitely been a growing year for the girls,â€ť said Stafford-Kirk. â€śâ€¦ Itâ€™s been a fun year with the girls sort of teaching them the ropes and enstiling them the things they need to be a stronger team as they become juniors and seniors. Maura really stepped it up from the get-go for us, we needed that.â€ť
Sophia Stark (114th, 27:12) and Johannie Juarez (118th, 28:30) rounded out the team results for Bristol Central.