Newtown High School’s girls’ cross country team is loaded with a wealth of returning talent and has the work ethic, team members believe, to lead to a successful run this campaign.
The team was sixth in the South-West Conference and 12th in the Class LL state championships last fall. Only a pair of runners from the top seven, standouts Reagan Cerney and Talia Fappiano, graduated.
Senior captains are Kathryn D’Alessandro, Kiera Elkow, and Brianne Moulder. Other key runners Coach Doug Russell turns to are seniors Hannah Schwartz, Kelly Coughlin, Julia Faxon, and Laura Hornby. The juniors are led by Meghan Huwer and Sarah Mawdsley. Junior newcomer Alexis Mulski also has a chance to make some noise this fall.
Russell is excited about what may emerge from a the improving sophomores and first-year high schoolers as well. The coach expects to see contributions from runners in all grades and is particularly impressed with the newcomers. “I’ve got a great group of freshmen. I’m excited about what they’re showing,” the coach said.
“We have a lot of talent and a lot of new people who are continuing to get better so I think we have a shot at doing really well,” D’Alessandro said.
The team is striving for a top-three finish in the conference this fall, said Russell, who believes that the talent is in place for that objective to come to fruition. “It’s always how bad they want it,” he said. “I think we’re going to be competitive this year.”
Tough competition stands to come from, among others, New Milford, Immaculate of Danbury, and New Fairfield, Russell anticipates.
“I’m just really excited. I think our team has a lot of potential,” Elkow said.
Moulder believes good training in the offseason will pay dividends this season, assuming the runners keep it up throughout the next couple of months. “Everybody worked really hard over the summer. I think with hard work we can do really well this year,” Moulder said.