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Nothing but smiles for and from Olsen

POSTED October 28, 2013
BY Rick Wilson
Twitter: @scribewilson

                      Nothing but smiles for and from Olsen


MANCHESTER – If you were looking for disappointment, you weren’t looking for Sabrina Olsen Saturday at the Class S Cross Country Championships at Wickham Park.

On all of the grandest cross country stages, the Class championships, state opens and New England Regionals, Thomaston High’s All-New England runner has found the finish line before most of her competitors and if she wasn’t first, she usually wasn’t far behind either.

Olsen wasn’t first Saturday; she ended her Class S career 19 seconds behind Immaculate-Danbury’s Carly Schulyer, finishing the Wickham Park 5K course in 19:28 to Schulyer’s 19:10.

For some there might have been that twinge that tugged at the emotions in a final race of a career nearing its end. You want to finish first. But Olsen, has always been one who runs and moves on. There has never been a lot of tears, fist-pumping, anger of jubilation. She has been even-keel. Big, yet almost shy smile. Quiet pride void of the emotional roller coaster.

Olsen never blinked here. She ran a good, she knew she ran a good race and she knew Schulyer ran a faster race. It was that simple. It doesn’t always have to be a life or death.

Olsen was pleased with her performance and saluted her rival. For as many runners as she has beaten, there have been runners like the great Jackie Nicholas of Nonnewaug who ruled the BL on an individual level while the Thomaston girls were the team champions. Or Anne-Marie Tuxbury of Northwestern.

Olsen has won with grace and lost with grace. Sure she would have liked to win, but she ran well and knew it and wasn’t going to let the place of finish take away from a good way.

“I ran well, Carly ran a very good race. She is a good runner,” said Olsen.

All the time Olsen was talking she grasped tightly on to a poster-sized sign that proclaimed her 17th birthday. Okay the storybook ending would have been winning on her birthday, but Olsen didn’t need it all to conjure up a smile.

Schulyer took off at about the 1,000 meter mark and Olsen couldn’t catcher her. That’s the way it is sometimes. Too often to focus is on why you didn’t win instead of why the other team or person won. Sometimes not enough credit is given to the other side.

Olsen ran well on this day. In Class S it wasn’t good enough because Schulyer ran better. So there was no disappointment here. It never approached.

In four years, Olsen has been No. 1 as a freshman, No. 4 as a sophomore, No. 2 a year ago narrowly losing to teammate Cam Chaplen at the finish line and No. 2 on Saturday. All-State every year. The big smile, partially produced by the birthday was a four-year smile.

Those are finishes anyone would love to have. She knew that Saturday. It was a good day. Now she awaits the State Open Friday where she hopes to qualify for the New England Regionals and become a four-time All-New England runner.

Coach and dad, Mark Olsen expressed the sentiments as his very swift daughter.

“Sabrina ran fine, Schulyer is a very good runner,’ said Mark Olsen.

Meanwhile, the seven-time defending champion Bears as a whole finished third behind champion Immaculate and Bolton. Sophomore Sammie Brier and senior Becky Perugini finished 14th and 16th respectively.

There were other solid BL stories. BL boys champion Jackson Morrow was 4th in the Class M race while Terryville’s Connor Levins was 4th in Class SS. Nonnewaug’s Vincent Pistritto who lost a mesmerizing stretch run to Morrow a week ago in the BL championships came in 7th in Class SS.

Shepaug Valley finished third in the Class S race with Thomaston coming in 5th.  Thomaston’s Luke McMahon the top BL finisher with an All-State 6th place finish.

            Housatonic’s Olivia LaFontan and Shepaug’s Clara Wolfe were 7th and 8th respectively in the Class S girls race.

The Berkshire League ran and ran well Saturday. No disappointment to be found.

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