CROSS COUNTRY: Cheshire’s Murray, Sheehan’s Brown secure silver at SCC championship meet

CROSS COUNTRY: Cheshire’s Murray, Sheehan’s Brown secure silver at SCC championship meet


NEW HAVEN — Cheshire senior Brendan Murray has been a model of consistency in his four years on the Cheshire High School cross country team.

On Thursday, for the fourth year in a row, Murray placed second at the SCC Championships, something no other runner had done before in the history of the event.

Murray ran behind three-time SCC champion Drew Thompson of Fairfield Prep. Thompson ran a SCC Championship record time of 15:13. Murray ran a strong 15:36 over the 3.1-mile course at East Shore Park.

“The goal going in was to win it,” Murray said. “I knew against Drew it was going to be a hell of a fight. Something just didn’t click for me today. It’s a little frustrating, but that’s how you get stronger and I’m looking forward to [class meets] next week.”

Thompson ran a quick pace and Murray hung with him. Just over the halfway point, the Prep runner put some space between the two to claim his third straight crown.

Highlighting the area runners on the girls side was Sheehan’s Lizzie Brown. The freshman continued to shine with a second-place showing in 20:13.

“We were hoping for a Top 5 for Lizzie,” Sheehan coach Carrie Palange said. “We don’t run all of the teams. We don’t know who is going to be up there. We knew the Guilford girl was going to be there because Lizzie ran against her before. We knew she was going to do well, but second is great. It’s amazing.”

Palange said Brown’s finish was the highest for a Sheehan girl at the SCC meet in several years.

Brown trailed only Meredeth Bloss. The Guilford junior ran a 19:17 to lead the Indians to the girls team championship with just 40 points. Bloss seemingly hadn’t even broken a sweat as she crossed the finish line.

“I knew I was going to have a girl in front of me that was really good,” Brown said. “It was really good competition. She got out a good distance. I tried to stick with her, but I felt I did well.”

The Cheshire girls, last year’s SCC champs, nabbed second with 76 points. Cheshire’s top girl was senior Rachel Kaplan, who placed fifth overall in 20:34. It was her second consecutive SCC Top-10 finish.

“It means a lot because this was my last SCC championship meet and one of the last races of the season. It was a big race and we wanted to do well as a team. It was pretty important to us overall,” Kaplan said.

Also leading the charge for the Rams were Emily Longmore (11th, 21:00), Amanda Addesso (15th, 21:13), Lauren Daddi (18th, 21:16) and Aliza Taylor (27th, 21:35).

“I’m very, very happy,” Cheshire coach Rob Schaefer said. “Rachel Kaplan has been running very hard all season, as has Amanda Addesso. They all have. But the girl that really stepped up today was Emily Longworth. She finished First Team All-SCC. She has to be really proud of her run.”

Top finishers for the Sheehan girls behind Brown were Sydney Carim (60th, 23:13), Amelia Mansfield (77th, 24:15), Julia Mansfield (82nd, 24:23) and Anna Thai (87th, 24:39).

As for Lyman Hall, the Trojans were headed by Emily Ottens (33rd, 21:53), Rachel Ruggiero (38th, 22:17), Kailey Lipka (46th, 22:44), Lindsay Navickis (62nd, 23:30) and Savannah Mangini (89th, 24:48).

In the boys standings, Cheshire nabbed fifth place behind Xavier, which defended its SCC crown. Highlighting the Rams behind Murray were Brendan Mellitt (19th, 17:12), Sebastian Pepe (35th, 17:54), Yasin Tarabar (43rd, 18:09) and Jack Hanke (58th, 18:32).

Sheehan senior Stephen Fengler and Lyman Hall senior Alexandre Fishbein-Ouimette sprinted to the finish with matching times of 17:06 to take 17th and 18th, respectively.

“I felt really nervous going into the start because my hip was bothering me,” Fishbein-Ouimette said. “Then, once I started, after the first 800 meters I thought I was going to be All-SCC because there were kids in front of me who I knew I could beat. I just wanted to go out as fast as I can and see how it goes.”

The top 12 runners in each race were All-SCC First Team. Runners 13-24 were named to the Second Team.

Fengler said he picked up steam as the race went on.

“I went our really fast. I just had to keep in my mind to stay positive and run my race, otherwise I wasn’t going to do as well,” Fengler said. “Towards the end of the race, I kept passing guys. I kept picking them up one by one. But the finish was close.”

Benjamin Gardiner (52nd, 18:22) was the second Sheehan runner to cross the finish line followed by Tyler Carmen (70th, 18:56), Derrick Arnold (76, 19:09) and Ethan Venoit (77th, 19:12).

Rounding out Lyman Hall’s lineup was Brian Oliveira (24th, 17:23), R.J. Ottens (25th, 17:23), Jack Murphy (68th, 18:48) and Andrew Horobin (91st, 19:35).

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