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Cross Country Teams Strive To Run Through End Of Season



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Newtown High School’s girls’ and boys’ cross country team members always strive to get to the finish line at each race in the best possible time. This season, their collective goal is simply to reach the season’s finish line.

Christina Caron, coach of the girls’ squad, had high hopes for a second straight South-West Conference championship, but with the conference and state championship meets canceled and everything in question during this coronavirus-altered season, aspirations are vastly different now.

“Our goals are to keep everyone healthy and have fun. Obviously, this season looks very different from years past. Coming off an SWC championship, our hope was to regain that title. With five returning varsity runners, we had a good chance. We are still focused on improving as a team and individually, but the main focus is to make it through the season,” Caron said.

Caron’s team captains are Maddie Fetchik, Emily Tressler, and Gloria Rowley, and other key returning varsity runners on this team of 20 are Courtney Henchcliffe and Emily Litke.

Both of the NHS teams have smaller lineups than they traditionally do as a result of no cuts made in the other fall sports.

Coach Carl Strait’s boys’ squad has 48 participants. A large number, yes, but that is down from last fall’s 60-plus athlete roster. Among the runners are 19 captains. As was the case a season ago, an abundance of captains will help keep small groups of runners organized and in the know on a big squad. The strategy was implemented to manage the large number of team members last year, and it turned out to be helpful this fall when teams were required to train in small cohorts and follow social distancing protocol.

“It’s all about individual accomplishments, kids getting better race to race, learn to love the sport, and learn to work together in small groups to achieve a larger goal,” Strait said.

“Our goal is to get to week ten — finish the season,” Strait said. “We’re doing everything we can in and out of the sport to stay healthy and keep the transmission rate as low as possible.”

Strait is joined by his wife, Sara Strait, who serves as assistant coach this fall. The coaches hope their runners drop times as the season unfolds. Last year, 51 of 52 postseason participants had personal record times in the conference championships. This season, an objective is for personal best times at season’s end, and for the season to end when it is scheduled to finish, November 3 at New Milford.

Due to restrictions on how many athletes can travel or be together at competitions, Strait’s plan is to take advantage of the fact the Hawks are slated to compete twice per week and split the squad so half races once per week.

Captains are Mitchell Schrader, Andi Braholi, Arav Dave, John Boccuzzi, Chris Lindsay, Kyle Trahan, Sawyer Findley, Connor Smith, Ryan McAnaspie, Kyle Reilly, Leo Brosnan, Evan Wei, Eric Vine, Dan Delia, Colden Bobowick, DJ Bobowick, Drew Poseno, Quinn Karnas, and Matt Sortino.

The teams host Pomperaug of Southbury at the Reed Intermediate School trails in the season opener, Tuesday, October 6; the girls race at 4:30 pm, followed by the boys at 5 o’clock.

Several members of the team run at Fairfield Hills, led by, front, from left: Courtney Henchcliffe, Emily Tressler, Gloria Rowley, Maddie Fetchick, and Emily Litke. —Bee Photos, Hutchison
Andi Braholi, Saahil Ray, Drew Poseno, DJ Bobowick, and Aiden Budge run at Fairfield Hills as the Nighthawks get ready for the season.
Eric Vine, Louis Cocozza, and Dan Chomiak run during practice.
Ethan McGinnis, Will Elkins, and Teddy Teraszkiewicz train for the season.
Chris Lindsay, Arav Dave, Jeremy Pankow, Colden Bobowick, and Colby Harrell (obstructed) warm up.
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