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Staples Runner Wins With a Kick at the Finish

WESTPORT, Conn. – Staples junior Henry Wynne trailed Danbury's Nick Carlsen by just a stride as they approached the final 300 meters of Tuesday's Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference cross country race at Staples High School. It was right where Wynne wanted to be.

Using the speed that made him one of the state's top runners in the 1,600 last spring, Wynne easily overtook Carlsen and won the 5K in 16:12. Carlsen took second in 16:18 and Darien's Charlie Baird was third in 16:33.

Wynne's victory was the highlight for Staples, which lost to Danbury, 24-37, and to Darien, 20-41. The Wreckers did beat Norwalk, 19-40. In the girls race, Courtney Mullen finished sixth overall in 18:39 in the 4K to lead Staples. The Wreckers girls beat Norwalk, 16-47, but fell to Darien, 19-40, and Danbury, 24-32.

Wynne has quickly distinguished himself in the early going of the cross country season. He finished second in the Haddad Windham Invitational Saturday in Willimantic, and then easily outkicked Carlsen in Tuesday's meet. Wynne is picking up after a strong spring season, when he finished second in the State Open in the 1,600 and ran on the Wreckers' victorious 4 x 800 relay team.

He followed his plan perfectly in Tuesday's race. "I was hoping I was right with him coming onto the track,'' Wynne said. "I thought if I stayed close to him getting to the track [for the final 300 meters] I could outkick him."

That's precisely what happened. Now it appears Wynne is one of the challengers for the league individual crown at New Canaan's Waveny Park in October. "I hope to be up there,'' Wynne said. "I've been watching Fairfield Warde's Harry Warnick, so I know he'll be tough to beat."

The rest of Staples' top five included William Byrnes (eighth, 16:58), Dean Hefnaway (18th, 17:56), Marcus Russi (20th, 17:59) and Patrick Nolan, 24th, 18:09.

In the girls race, Caroline Smith (eighth, 18:41), Alex Popkin (ninth, 18:45), Georgia Kursten (16th, 19:19) and Kellen Smithson (19th, 19:54) rounded out the Wreckers' top five. Complete results are available online .

Contact Tom Renner at trenner@mainstreetconnect.us.

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