Storylines abound at BL Cross Country Championships
You want drama? You want speed? You want the unknown? You want the sure thing? You want all that? Then you want to be at Watertown’s Friday afternoon for the Championships.
There should be a little bit of everything as team and individual champions are crowned and it should start right off of the bat with the Girls varsity race at 2:45. This one is all about Jackie and Annemarie and Thomaston.
Nonnewaug’s Jackie Nicholas is the defending state open champion and two-time defending BL and Class M champion. Her coronation one more time would seem like a no-brainer. Except for one person – Annemarie Tuxbury.
The Northwestern Regional senior has finished second to Nicholas in all those events except for the state open and actually defeated Nicholas at Nonnewaug earlier this season while setting a new course record.
Since then Nicholas has regained the course record, but you get the picture. This one should be a beauty.
“It’s whoever has the better day,” said . “They are both very talented runners. But, don’t go to sleep or my pee-wees will get you.”
Indeed, if there is a delicious anticipation of the Nicholas-Tuxbury duel, the team title looks to have Thomaston written all over it for the fourth straight year unless some very strange things happen.
The Bears are ranked No. 2 in the state and have racked up an while grabbing top honors in four Invitational meets. The only meet Olsen’s young terrors have not won was the championship race at the Wickham Invitational where they finished second to the state’s top-ranked team, Glastonbury.
They have defeated the entire NVL along with every other school that has come their way and they have done it with a team barely out of the Middle School level. The top runners all season have been freshmen Sabrina Olsen and Becky Perugini who have run together and taken turns of finishing at the top of every race or right behind the winners.
Right behind is sophomore All-Stater Cameron Chaplen and another freshman, Mackenzie Blair. The fifth runner has come out of pack that includes Laura Miller, Emily Normandin and Sarah Voor.
“I’d be very surprised if we didn’t win at this point,” said Olsen. “Nonnewaug can run with us in the front but not in the back. Others have the depth but can’t run with us up front.”
On the boys side it looks like anybody’s game. You might give a slight nod to Nonnewaug by virtue of the team’s 10-0 regular season. But, there were some very close meets along the way and Litchfield and Shepaug should be putting heavy pressure on coach Arleigh Duff’s Chiefs.
The individual race should be just as entertaining. Defending champion Blake Fenwick will be looking to repeat and become the sixth straight Thomaston winner. But he will have plenty of company near the finish line.
Fenwick has gone back and forth with Shepaug’s Andy Pullaro this season each beating one another and Scott Ramponi and Dan Nolte will be in there somewhere.
“Whoever is on and who makes the move at the right time will win,” said Olsen.
Fenwick won the race last year when a couple of runners took a brief wrong turn near a tree, allowing him to emerge into the lead from the lead pack. But, if there is doubt, Olsen feels he has proved himself this season.
“I think everyone is gunning for him,” said Olsen. “I think nobody thought he was the best runner last year but then he won the BL Scrimmage this year and has run well. Now, he is a real good runner.
One thing is for certain on this day, you will get your money’s worth. It should be worth watching