The North Branford cross-country teams opened the season on Sept. 13 at the West Beach Invitational at Hammonasset State Park in Madison, which is sponsored by the Guilford High School cross-country team. For the T-Birds, the girls placed 11th of 12 teams, while the boys were ninth in a 12-team field.
“The team standings for both the boys and girls did not reflect the gains made individually as compared to the results from last year’s race,” said Coach Floyd Parness. “It was a good experience because the results of the race measure where we stand both as individuals and as a team.”
The top finishers for the girls were Marissa Bale (17:56), Chelsea Meagher (19:31), Megan Rabuffo (19:49), Sydney Lane (20:44), Grace Carr (25:27) and Meghan McCarthy (25:56). Meagher improved her time from last year by 23 seconds. Marissa Bale, a freshman competing in her first varsity race, was the second freshman finisher in the varsity race.
On the boys’ side, top finishers were Kevin Walker (17:15), Jason Conforte (17:31), Ryan Proto (17:59), Sean O’Connor (18:42), Zach Augur (20:11) and Chris Olsen (20:22). The boys’ team also showed marked improvements in their times from last year as Walker improved by 1:58, Augur by 1:20, Proto by 1:00, Olsen by :57, Conforte by :46 and O’Connor by :42.
In the girls’ novice race, Leah Martino (10:15), Megan Oakes (11:01) and Allie Benzi (12:34) finished for North Branford. In the boys’ JV race, Jared Miket (23:15), Justin Perrotti (27:58) and Cole Perrotti (28:11) competed for the T-Birds.
“I was pleased with the overall results considering the lack of experience on the team,” said Parness. “The race served as a wakeup call to what this sport is all about to the new team members and the time and dedication required in order to achieve satisfactory results. As a team, we need to build on getting our times down and closing the gaps between places.”
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