TUESDAY SCHOLASTICS: Maloney puts the hammer down at Hubbard, extends city cross country reign; Cheshire girls finish 13-1; another first for Ciccone



Record-Journal staff

MERIDEN — Led by Jack Curry and Samantha Park, Maloney maintained a firm hold on the city’s cross country crown Tuesday.

Curry blazed the 3.1-mile course at Hubbard Park in 18:16 and Park won the girls race in 21:08 as the Spartans swept Platt and Wilcox Tech.

The Platt boys earned a split against Wilcox Tech, while the Wilcox girls came away at 1-1.

Other than that, it was all Maloney. Coach Derek Destefano’s boys team took the first five spots and his girls went 1-2-3.

“I guess it never gets old; it’s still nice,” said Destefano, whose program’s city reign continues with a new wave of runners following in the footsteps of previous champs Dom Oliveri and Reynaldo Torres. “It’s a different group of kids and they worked very hard for this. They all deserve it.”

Curry, the senior captain, was followed by teammates Tristyn Barnes (18:49), Griffin DePalma (19:46), Anthony Arroyo (19:59) and Jack DePalma (20:49).

Platt took spots 6 and 7 with Anthony Hernandez (20:51) and Anthony Nimani (21:24).

After Maloney’s Taylor Bellow came across eighth in 21:47, Wilcox placed its top runners in Devon Diaz (21:48) and Patrick Sullivan (22:00) to round out the top 10.

In the girls race, Maloney’s Savannah Vasquez was runner-up in 22:28 and Cadence Browne placed third in 24:00.

Platt’s top female runner was Erin Sola. She crossed fourth in 24:01. Haley Pericozzi paced Wilcox, finishing sixth in 26:17.

Maloney’s scoring was rounded out by Meagan Horan (5th, 25:43) and Nancy Nguyen (7th, 26:47).

Park, only a sophomore, is in her first year with the Spartans. A little too much running cost her freshman season.

“She came in loving to run a lot. She’d would tell she’d run for seven miles and I’d say, ‘Wait, what?’” Destefano related. “She ran a little too much last year and got herself hurt and we didn’t have her.

“But we’re happy to have her this year. She’s obviously a great talent and a great addition to this team. She works hard and she gets what she deserves, and that’s city champion.”

“It feels great,” Park said of Tuesday’s triumph. “I worked hard and, yeah, it pays off.”

Park found early success in her rookie season, then found she had to dig in deeper.

“People starting getting better, so I had to work harder,” she said.

There was another element to Park’s strategy on Tuesday, though, and that was to stay loose.

“I mostly looked at it to have fun, because when I’m nervous I don’t do good at all,” she said. “So I just kind of run and it … happens!”

It happened, too, for Curry after several seasons of following the lead of some vaunted predecessors, most recently Torres and Xavier Zaler, who are both now running at Central Connecticut State.

“Jack just looked up to those kids and wanted to be like them, and now he has his moment this year as a senior,” noted Destefano. “Every day he’s a leader; every day he tries to push himself further than the last day.”

Curry certainly had to push himself Tuesday. He hadn’t been feeling well lately — “Not COVID; I got tested, otherwise I wouldn’t be here,” he said — and found Tuesday’s race to be a grind.

“I can definitely say that it was tougher than the last few, but mentally I powered through it and got it done, said Curry.

It was Curry’s first victory in any race. He’d twice finished runner-up and frequently finished in the top five. Tuesday marked the breakthrough.

“And on home soil,” Curry noted. “I like it for a change; it felt great.”

Cheshire: Alexa Ciccone chalked up another first-place finish as the Rams wrapped up their regular season at 13-1 in a SCC quad meet at the Surf Club in Madison.

Cheshire beat Branford (38-73) and host Hand (38-85), but fell to Hamden (36-38). It stands as the lone team loss of the year for coach Rob Schaefer’s squad.

“We were without three of our top five runners and we beat two teams and lost to another by one place,” Schaefer said. “I am so proud of the girls who fought so valiantly today. They came to race. We are getting back to health and should be ready to compete well at next week’s SCC Championships.”  

Ciccone won handily with a time of 18:40 on Hand’s 3.0-mile course. Runner-up Georgia Kirkendall crossed in 20:46.

Cheshire’s Meghan Georgescu was third in 20:58. Also scoring for the Rams were Alex Palladino (9th, 23:00), Katie Hall (12th, 23:34) and Samantha Mudry (13th, 23:41).

Field hockey

Cheshire 8, North Haven 0: The Rams improved to 8-2-1 by extending a 3-0 halftime lead with four goals in the third quarter in this SCC game in Cheshire.

Emily Curtis and Avery DePodesta scored two goals apiece. Lauren Houle, Taya Buntin, Gigi Ronaldo and Ashlyn Diglio added single strikes.

Emma Lepisto dished three assists and Jenna Kemp had two. Ronaldo, Houle and Ava Matikowski also factored in with assists.

Hannah Jalowiec had three saves in the cage to knock North Haven to 2-7-2.

Guilford 5, Sheehan 0: Maddie Epke scored two goals and assisted on a third to lead the Grizzlies past the Titans in a SCC matchup in Wallingford.

Ella Clarke, M.J. Santa Barbara and Grace Barlage also scored to power Guilford to 10-1.

Sheehan fell to 2-8-1 despite a 22-save effort in net by goalie Rilee Reutenauer.

Golf

Southington 165, Simsbury 174: Patrick DiPace’s medal round of 39 carried the Blue Knights to the CCC West win at Southington Country Club.

Ryan O’Donnell was two strokes back at 41. Rounding out the Southington card were Brooke Zajac (43) and Devin McKnerney (44).

Girls swimming

Shelton 92, Sheehan 78: With no diving competition staged at Shelton Community Center Pool, the Titans sorely missed the points they might have accrued in that event in dropping the SCC Division II meet to the Gaels.

Lili Nagy-Leranth, Katie Webb, Leila Sofiane and Hanna Nagy-Leranth got the Titans out to a fine start, winning the 200 medley relay in 2:06.75.

Sofiane went on to sweep the distance freestyle. The senior had fast times of 2:07.71 in the 200 and 5:41.72 in the 500.

Webb was also a double-winner. She captured the 200 IM (2:30.09) and 100 breaststroke (1:17.33).

Hanna Nagy-Leranth touched first in the 100 butterfly (1:14.73).



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