Jacobs Places Second As Cross Country Runners Race In SWC Championships
BETHEL — Sparked by a second-place Nick Jacobs finish at Bethel High School October 16, the Newtown High School boys' cross country team paced its way to fourth place in the South-West Conference championship meet.
With New Milford standout and defending conference champion Eli Nahom's presence on the course, many agreed the best that any of the other 94 varsity finishers could do was earn runner-up status.
"Coming in second place to Eli is like winning the race. I could have been out there on my motorcycle and not beaten him," Newtown Coach Carl Strait exaggerated light-heartedly.
After Nahom clocked in with a time of 16:16.07, Jacobs came across the finish line at 16:49.19, conquering a scenic but hilly Mark Goodwin Cross Country Course, which actually features a steep incline known as "The Beast."
"He had a great mindset and a great week leading up to it," Strait said of his top runner.
Pomperaug of Southbury won the competition with a score of 69. Next was New Milford with 73, followed by Brookfield with 88. Newtown finished with 101, and next closest of the 14 SWC boys' teams was Joel Barlow of Redding with 124.
Newtown's Max Bloomquist was eighth in a time of 17:08.79; Justin Halmose came in 16th in 17:32.49; Jack Kuligowski was 34th in 17:59.25; DJ Bobocwick came in 41st with a time of 18:23.23; Evan Hildenbrand was 46th in 18:41.94; and Keenan Murphy placed 61st in 19:36.79.
The Nighthawk runners brought in best times across the board, Strait said.
On the girls' side, Newtown finished fifth as a team.
Immaculate of Danbury, with a score of 53, was first; and Pomperaug and New Milford both had 77. But Pomperaug took second by virtue of the the head-to-head sixth runner results between the schools (top five finisher placements are tallied for final team scores).
New Fairfield scored 86 to finish fourth, Newtown was next with 111, followed by Weston with 139. There were 11 SWC schools represented with girls' programs, and 78 finishers in the varsity race.
Pomperaug's Kate Wiser won the race in 17:40.01, more than a minute and a half faster than the next closest competitor, while Newtown had a trio among the top 20.
Rylee Harrell was 16th in 20:37.51; Lu Hage 18th in 20:43.69; and Emily Tressler 19th in 20:45.00. Maddie Fetchick came in 26th with a time of 21:18.39; Courtney Henchcliffe was 32nd in 21:39.27; Katya Kost crossed the finish line in 36th place with a time of 22:00.62; and Hallie Filan was 37th in 22:06.39.
Newtown Head Coach Christina Caron liked the improvement her team had after racing on the same course in the regular-season finale.
"Girls' times, overall, were faster than last week," Caron said. "I'm happy with how the season went. They're an amazing bunch of girls," added Caron, a first-year coach in the program.
The runners had temperatures in the lower 50s with a mix of sun and clouds — along with some showers during the girls' race — to add some slickness to the surface in their first postseason meet. Up next: The state championships, October 27, at Wickham Park in Manchester.
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