Last weekend, the North Branford cross-country team traveled to Winding Trails Center in Farmington to participate in the first Winding Trails Invitational Cross-Country Meet. The boys’ varsity team placed ninth of 12 teams and the girls’ JV team was second of five schools.
“The competition was very challenging,” said Coach Floyd Parness.
Senior co-captain Ryan Proto came in first for the North Branford boys at 18:08 (25th overall) and Marissa Bale was not only the T-Birds’ top finisher on the girls’ side at 23:02, but first overall as well.
Other varsity boys’ finishers were co-captain Sean O’Connor (18:24), Jason Conforte (18:27), Zach Augur (19:22), Chris Olsen (21:12), Isaac Cammarata (21:42) and Ben Boatman (25:29).
The remaining junior varsity girls finishing were co-captain Chelsea Meagher (25:58), Rachel Sauro (27:02), Sydney Lane (27:48), Megan Oakes (28:16), Grace Carr (29:07, Alana Cotton (29:57), Jessica Munck (29:57) and Jen Berube (30:02). In the boys’ JV race, Richard Hernandez came in first for North Branford at 22:18. Also finishing for the boys JV team were Jared Miket at 23:37 and Jackson Myers at 24:49.
The T-Birds split their two recent matches, edging Cromwell 4-3 on Oct. 3 and falling to Old Lyme 3-0 the next day to stand at 2-6 in the 2012 season.
Cromwell jumped out to a 2-0 lead before North Branford Emmy Dulak scored two goals in the final 10 minutes of the first half to tie it. Sam Stowe assisted on the first goal and Marisa Tomaso had the second assist.
Early in the second half, Dulak earned the first hat trick of her career with “three timely goals,” according to Coach Rick Geremia. The go-ahead goal was assisted by Jordan Miket.
North Branford didn’t hold the lead for long, though, as Cromwell’s Erin Glynn’s unassisted score tied it at 3-3. About 15 minutes into the second half, North Branford sophomore Brynn McClure scored an unassisted goal. Her goal not only gave her team the win, but was the first goal of her varsity career.
Cromwell outshot North Branford 10-8 with Julie Castillio (3 saves) and Sarah Minicucci (4 saves) splitting time in the net for the T-Birds.
North Branford faced Old Lyme (5-1-1) the next day, falling 3-0.
“North Branford was unable to match the intensity it had from the previous night's victory over Cromwell,” said Geremia. “Playing back-to-back was just too much for the Lady T-Birds.”
Old Lyme scored twice in the first half and once in the second, outshooting North Branford 12-6. Castillio (3 saves) and Minicucci (4 saves) split time as goalkeeper for the T-Birds.
On the volleyball court, the T-Birds dropped their latest two matches to stand at 2-7. North Branford fell to Hale Ray 3-0 (25-21, 25-21, 25-11) on Oct. 5.
Kristen Wicander led Hale Ray with seven kills, three aces and nine service points, while Jordan Ziobron added four kills and a block. For North Branford, Kayla Nowak had two solo blocks, one block assists, four kills, three aces and three additional service points. Ashley Poston (3 kills, block) and Julia Reis (10 digs) were also strong for the T-Birds.
The next day, North Branford traveled to East Hampton, which took a 3-0 (25-9, 25-14, 25-16) victory to improve to 8-1.
For North Branford, Nowak had two blocks, five kills and two aces; Ali Sanzari had five assists and Reis had seven digs. Dakota Reed led East Hampton with 24 assists and seven digs. Lauren Randall had six kills for the home team.