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Weston Runners Look Tough for Homestretch

WESTON, Conn. – The best thing that happened to the Weston boys cross country team this fall was injuries.  The hurt runners, for the most part, have recovered, and the ones who replaced them acquired significant varsity experience.

With the championship meets coming up over the next few weeks, beginning with Thursday’s South-West Conference championships at Bethel High School, the Trojans are in a good place. Mentally and physically.

“Most of the time we were running with sophomores and juniors in our lineup,’’ coach Marty Ogden said. “We have a freshman, Cole Clark, who has been looking fantastic. He has a lot of courage. We weren’t expecting much from him, and he’s added to our team. It makes everybody on our team run a little bit harder. They don’t want to get beat by a freshman.”

New Milford, the nine-time defending champion in the SWC, is the race favorite. Weston will be in a tight race with Newtown, Pomperaug and Brookfield for the next few places.  “It’s a great conference,’’ Ogden said. “It’s so competitive. You could finish third in the conference and still win the state meet.”

The Trojans are a likely contender in the Class M championships on Oct. 29 at Wickham Park. While not all of Weston’s runners will be in prime shape for the SWC, they should be ready for the state meet. Weston won three Class SS championships in four years between 2006 and 2009.

David Stankiewicz should be one of the contenders for the SWC individual title on Thursday. Newtown’s Jake Feinstein is the pre-race favorite. “I think David’s close enough that if Jake slips up, David has a shot,’’ Ogden said. “He’s going to have to earn it.”

Weston got a taste of big-race success earlier this year when it won the small school division of the Wilton Invitational. Stankiewicz led the Trojans, followed by Noah Krassin, Brad Demarco, Matt Bolin, Will Glaser and Michael Aaron. Demarco is the only senior. Weston also finished fourth earlier this month in the Brewster, N.Y., Invitational. Krassin was Weston’s top runner in that race.

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