CROSS COUNTRY: Blue Knights bust out of the gate in NY; Mellitt leads Cheshire at Windham Invite

CROSS COUNTRY: Blue Knights bust out of the gate in NY; Mellitt leads Cheshire at Windham Invite

And we’re off — at a crisp pace, no less.

The Southington and Cheshire cross country teams launched the 2019 scholastic season Saturday with strong performances at invitational meets.

Running in New York at the Somers Big Red Invitational, Southington won the Division I boys competition while the girls placed second.

Cheshire, like most Connecticut teams, ran at the Haddad Windham Invitational. The boys were seventh in the Varsity I race. The girls were ninth.

Southington had individual runners-up in senior Matt Penna and sophomore Jackie Izzo. Penna ran a 16:30, Izzo a 19:36.

The Blue Knights also took fifth in each race behind senior Lucca Riccio (17:11) and junior Grace Michaud (19;59).

In all, the Southington boys put all five of their scorers finish in the top 25: Ryan Asido (15th, 17:37), Grayson Borla (19th, 17:48) and Jackson Landino (22nd, 17:55).

The Lady Knights got additional scoring from Diana Pillsbury (13th, 21:28), Meghan Sheline (33rd, 23:32) and Emma Swindon (50th, 24:59).

“Still digesting the implications of this meet, but likely the best invite results in my tenure, across the board,” remarked Southington coach Dan Dachelet. 

Cheshire’s top runner was Brendan Mellitt, the reigning Recod-Journal distance runner of the year.

Mellitt launched his senior campaign with a time of 16:08, which was good for fifth place.

Cheshire senior Francis Simpatico was 43rd in 17:45. Junior Ryan Farrell was right behind him in 17:51.

Also scoring for the Rams were Charlie Pettit (59th, 18:11) and Robert DiNatale (61st, 18:17).

The Cheshire girls were led by their returning All-RJ sophomores, Meghan Georgescu (27th, 21:58) and Olivia Ferraro (34th, 22:36)

Kristina Benga (48th, 23:30), Cate Bedard (60th, 24:12) and Audrey Kiesling (79th, 24:49) rounded out the Rams’ scoring.

“We are a young team; three of our runners ran their first varsity race today,” noted Cheshire girls coach Rob Schaefer. “With more experience, we will improve. Even though we are young, we still had a competitive day.”

All area cross country teams launch the dual-meet season on Tuesday. Cheshire hosts a SCC quad at Cheshire Park that includes Lyman Hall. Southington, meanwhile, travels to J.B. Williams Park for a CCC tri-meet with Farmington and host Glastonbury.

Sheehan is home hosting Amity, Hamden and Lauralton Hall. The three Meriden schools are on the road.


Hun School 44, Cheshire Academy 7: The Cats’ lone score came in the first quarter on a 50-yard pass to Jackson Parker from Jack Brandon.

Cole Baker had the PAT. Jack Roberge gained 60 yards on 15 carries.

The game, played in Cheshire, was the season opener for both teams.