For the first time in six years, Weston High School will not have its full team at Friday's State Open cross country championships at Manchester's Wickham Park. Instead, the Trojans will send two runners, senior Stephen Vento and sophomore David Stankiewicz.
Weston's reign as the two-time Class SS champion ended last Saturday when Canton captured the team championship. The Trojans , beset by injuries and illness much of the year, finished eighth. The team's bad luck continued even in the state meet as one runner dropped out during the race with an injury. Vento led the Trojans with an 11th place finish, while Stankiewicz finished 14th.
"I can't remember the last time Class SS had runners make it as a wild card into the State Open,'' coach Marty Ogden said. "Class SS has become very competitive. It's the division for smaller schools, but we would've been fourth in Class M."
Ogden is hoping for a strong performance from Vento in the Open. The senior injured his Achilles in the SouthWest Conference championships, and his participation in the Class SS meet was in doubt until the start of the race. Ogden said the goal was to keep Vento healthy and have him qualify for the Open. "We thought all along he was one of the best runners in the state,'' Ogden said.
With another week to recuperate, Ogden believes the injury is healed. He's hopeful his senior can finish in the top 25 and qualify for the New England championships. "This week of training is exactly what he's capable of,'' Ogden said. "He's been working hard for six months for this day."
Ogden is hoping Stankiewicz can announce himself as one of the state's top sophomores. The coach is also looking ahead to next year. "We had one of the best classes of freshman we've ever had,'' Ogden said.
Kara Bucaro was Weston's only runner to qualify for the girls State Open. The senior finished sixth in the Class M championships.
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