Greenwich X-C Places Strong at FCIAC Championships
By Paul Silverfarb
Lead by a breakout performance on the girl’s side of the roster, the Greenwich High School cross-country team made their presence felt in a big way during the Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference championships.
The event, which took place on Oct. 19 at New Canaan’s Waveny Park, not only saw the Lady Cardinals take second place as a team, but three of its runners finished in the top 11.
“It was really rewarding to see the three finish so high,” Greenwich High School head coach Evan Dubin said. “For Hetty (McMillan) and Emily (Philippides), we knew they were going to be great. They were great in the winter last year and great in the spring. They had productive summers and knew they were going to be great. Zoe, as a freshman, came out of nowhere.”
As a team, Big Red finished second overall with 79 points, beating out Wilton who took the bronze with 87 points. In distant fourth was Trumbull with 118 points. The only team better than GHS on the day was Ridgefield, who ran away with the FCIAC championship with 50 points.
“Going into the season, we knew we had the chance to do great,” Dubin said. “To see them actually produce the result was fantastic. I am excited as a coach to see their hard work throughout the year actually be able to pay off. I am proud of each and every one of them that was out there running for us.”
Leading the way for Greenwich was an unknown to the rest of the FCIAC. Freshman Zoe Harris, who Dubin said really turned it on the final two weeks of the regular season, took to Waveny Park for the FCIAC championships and placed second overall, netting a time of 14:53.56.
“I saw her in the regular season and could tell that she had potential to do it, but to see her each week in our meets get better and better was great,” Dubin said. “To finish second overall was unexpected. I knew she was good, but to be that good was great. I’m certainly glad she’s on our team.”
Her time was just over four seconds faster than Trumbull’s Katelynn Romanchick, who placed third with a time of 14:57.81.
“Over the past two weeks, Zoe really began to stand out against the competitors we would run against that were really good,” Dubin said. “She was beginning to beat most of them. So we knew the potential existed. For the FCIAC championship, she just took it out and was in the lead for over two miles. She finished second, but still held off state-caliber athletes to get second.”
Not to be outdone was Harris’ teammate Hetty McMillan, a junior, as she cracked the top 10. Her time of 15:31.69 was good enough for ninth on the day. Two spots away from McMillan was junior Emily Philippides.
Philippides, who dominated the indoor and outdoor season last year, came on strong during last Wednesday’s meet and took home 11th on the day, posting a time of 15:35.74.
Finishing in the top 25 was Big Red junior Genevieve DeWinter, as she placed 22nd overall and grabbed a time of 16:12.57. She just edged out Stamford’s Juliette Lipson, who took home 23rd on the day with a time of 16:13.48.
Keeping the good times rolling for Greenwich was sophomore Verna Yin, as she ended her championships 37th overall with a time of 16:37.07. Right behind her was teammate Elizabeth Grellier, as she was 38th overall with a time of 16:37.69.
Darien’s Alexandra Barnard placed next with a time of 16:38.44, but Greenwich’s Catherine Yang, a sophomore, was close on Barnard’s heels, taking home 40th overall and a time of 16:39.91.
Rounding out the top 50 finishers for Greenwich High was senior Kristen Lodato, as she crossed the finish line 45th on the day and had a time of 16:48.13.
For Dubin to see his girls’ team take second overall and have three runners in the top 11, it justifies how hard and how dedicated the Lady Cardinals are to improving the program and making it one of the premier teams in the state.
“It puts us on the state map that people are aware that Greenwich wasn’t a flash in the pan and that we didn’t just have a particularly good year or had one good athlete,” Dubin said. “We are more than just one great athlete. There are plenty of people on the team that can contribute. We are a team to look out for when preparing.”
On the boys’ side of the team, Greenwich High finished eighth overall with 252 points and beat out Fairfield Ludlowe for ninth, as the Falcons picked up 291 points. As a team, it was Staples that took home the FCIAC championship, finishing with 27 points. In distant second was Danbury with 61 points and Trumbull ended the day third with 97 points.
Two points away from Trumbull was Fairfield Warde with 99 points and rounding out the top five was Darien with 109 points.
“The boys’ team competed with a lot of effort and gave 110 percent,” Dubin said. “They really let it all out during FCIACs and I am proud of their effort. Unfortunately, the results weren’t there for the team, but it certainly wasn’t for lack of ability and lack of trying.”
Greenwich’s top finisher was sophomore Alexander Kosyakov, as he took home 39th place on the day and a time of 17:47.71. Right behind him was junior Georgios Karakadas, as he crossed the finish line 40th and had a time of 17:50.63.
Senior Bastian Dequeker was the third quickest Cardinal on the day, posting a time of 18:27.98 that was good enough for 56th overall. In 60th place overall with Greenwich’s Corey McDonald, a junior, as he ended his day with a time of 18:39.27. Not far behind was senior Matt Collins, as his time of 19:06.22 was good enough for 67th on the day.
Junior Kevin Collins also cracked the top 75, posting his time of 19:16.46 which placed him 75th overall. In 80th overall was sophomore Christopher Dunn, who grabbed a time of 19:34.33.
For both the boys’ and girls’ squad, it’s back to the great outdoors tomorrow afternoon, as both squads compete in the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference class LL championships at Wickham Park in Manchester at 3:10 p.m.
“We need to go out, run and have fun,” Dubin said. “Whatever strategy works best we will do. We want to execute and hopefully bring home some top times. I want the team to soak in the moment, enjoy it and let the success come to them. For the girls, Ridgefield really proved they are the class of the field. Even on our best day, we weren’t going to beat them. In a way that took so much pressure off all of us. We have none now.”