WALLINGFORD — The Sheehan Titans featured a pair of overall winners with differing running resumes in their cross country sweep of host Lyman Hall at Wharton Brook State Park on Tuesday afternoon.
Sheehan junior Lizzie Brown has been among the elite runners in the state since entering the high school ranks three years ago and, on Tuesday, she posted her third straight first-place finish in a Sheehan-Lyman Hall race.
It was the first event on the newly laid out Wharton Brook course, so Brown’s time of 20:23 set the initial standard as the Sheehan girls won 22-33.
“Lizzie is driven and continues to work hard,” Sheehan coach Frank Mohr said. “She wants to do well in SCC’s and states. She finished undefeated in the league. She lost to two kids in the Blue Dragon [Invitational]. One was a state champion and both won’t be in our division in Class M. She should do well.”
Tuesday’s boys winner, Michael Barberino, doesn’t have the past accolades of Brown, but he has been building for this moment in his senior year. Barberino ran a 16:54 to edge teammate Ethan Venoit (16:56) and collect first-place honors.
With yet another Sheehan runner, Derrick Arnold, placing third in 17:27, the Titan boys cruised 17-44.
“I was just running fast,” Barberino said. “Ethan pushed me a lot and we worked together. We both went fast. We had a plan to stay together.
“I’ve finished first on the team before, but this is the first time I’ve ever won a race,” Barberino added. “It felt great.”
Barberino, Venoit and Arnold have been exchanging the claim as Sheehan’s top dog all fall. Tuesday was a Barberino’s time to shine.
Mohr said during the pre-race Senior Day ceremonies that Tuesday may be Barberino’s day. The Sheehan skipper proved correct.
“That’s what Michael does,” Mohr said. “He just drives and he keeps working and working. He set a goal to be the top guy at the end of the year. That was his goal.
“Between the three of them, they’ve worked hard. That competition only makes us better. Michael came on at the very end of last year. He just worked all summer and we knew he was going to be in the top 3. Did I see him taking over and running sub-17’s? Apparently, he wanted it. He did a tremendous job.”
Sheehan also nabbed fifth and sixth place behind Kennedy Clave (17:44) and Evan Caines (18:28).
Lyman Hall’s top runner was Jack Murphy. The junior was fourth in 17:38.
Also scoring for the Trojans were Aidan Weir (7th, 18:29), Tucker Fredricksen (12th 19:53), Ethan Bau (14th, 20:31) and Peyton Durant (17th, 21:22).
Fredericksen, Bau and Caines were honored before the meet in Senior Day ceremonies along with Sheehan’s Arnold, Venoit, Michael and Chris Barberino, Tyler Carmen and Jacob Bielesz.
As they have all season, the Sheehan girls ran the minimum five runners. Sophomore Arianna Amodio was second in 21:01 behind Brown. She was tailed by teammates Amelia Mansfield (5th, 23:10), Emma Reilly (6th, 23:19) and lone team senior Allyssa Cassella (8th, 26:56).
“It was good,” Brown said. “Every year we are looking forward to the Lyman Hall meet. Every meet presents a new challenge.”
Sophomore Olivia Weir was Lyman Hall’s top female finisher. She was third overall, running in 22 minutes flat.
Fellow sophomore Madison Jackson was fourth in 22:08. Emma Tommell (7th, 24:34), Anna Skotnicki (9th, 29:00) and Julie Ellis (10th, 29.57) rounded out the Lyman Hall scoring.
“We ran well today, all things considered,” Lyman Hall coach Mike Addorisio said. “In the girls race we are running without two of our top-five runners, but we will be back.
“The kids on both teams worked hard, even knowing from the get-go that Sheehan was going to win.”
Emily Ottens, Lyman Hall’s lone senior, was out due to a concussion from Powderpuff. The Trojans have also been without junior Savannah Mangini and junior Caitlyn Hughes. Both were projected highly for LH this season.
Mohr said he was proud of both of the Sheehan squads. The boys finished the regular season at 7-3 and the girls at 6-4.
“Our kids did an outstanding job today,” Mohr said. “I was pleased with how they worked and how they pulled each other. Ethan and Mike both going under 17 minutes with Derrick right behind them. That will help us going into SCC’s.
“My girls did a great job,” Mohr added. “They worked hard and set goals and they got this one.”