WESTON, Conn. The Weston High School boys cross country team has seen the departure of several talented runners over the past two years. Like the college football powerhouses who reload year after year, the Trojans have replaced those runners and have a team that could challenge for its third Class SS state championship in four years.
"If all our varsity guys stay healthy, I think we'll be in contention,'' coach Marty Ogden said. "In the past, we've had three good guys and then some solid fourth and fifth guys. This year, Matt Bolin has emerged and is running with our top three. That changes the whole dynamic."
Weston proved it was a state contender when it won the small schools division of the Wilton Invitational early in the season. David Stankiewicz led Weston, followed by Noah Krassin, Brad Demarco, Bolin and Will Glaser. Only 1:32 separated the top five Trojans.
"The legacy those runners left is to work hard and push yourself,'' said Krassin, referring to 2010 graduates Steve Piscatelli and James Bloom and 2011 grad Stephen Vento. "There was one race where when I was literally pushed halfway. They wouldn't let me slow down. We're trying to have the same influence on this year's freshmen."
It's working, too. Freshman Cole Clark was Weston's fifth runner in a meet Tuesday at Bethel. Demarco missed the race with an injury, as Weston went 2-1 with wins over Bethel and Notre Dame while falling to New Milford.
Weston won Class SS titles in 2006, 2008 and 2009. Last year, Weston wrestled with injuries and replacing some stalwarts from the '09 champions. The Trojans finished eighth in Class SS, with only Vento (11th) and Stankiewicz (14th) cracking the top 20.
This year's team looks much stronger and deeper, and all of its top runners are underclassmen. The victory in the Wilton race was a good indicator of Weston's ability to run as a pack. "That wasn't exactly a race,'' Krassin said. "We focused as working as a team. That's the only way that you're going to do well at states."
The Trojans will compete in the South-West Conference championship meet Oct. 20 and the Class M championships (it moved to a different division this year) on Oct. 29. Competing against some of the larger schools in the SWC is a challenge. The Trojans, who are knocking on the door to get ranked among the Top 10 in the weekly state coaches poll, have shown the depth and ability to contend for a state crown.
"The guys were under the fire last year and they had to run a lot of varsity races,'' Ogden said. "Even though they're sophomores and juniors, they have a lot of experience."
Contact Tom Renner at email@example.com.
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