Boys cross country preview: Some big holes must be filled

cross-country-shoe920As the 2013 season approaches the Weston High boys cross country team must concern itself with a couple of things in particular.

The Trojans must soon get up to speed. With their first meet not until next week they still have the opportunity to decrease their times.

They must also fill a few holes in their top seven spaces. A number of experienced runners have graduated since last year.

Aside from these concerns things appear to be looking up for the team, which officially began practice more than a week ago. Much of the team was busy training on its own over the summer and went to running camp.

“It was a really good bonding experience,” said first-year head coach Brendan Rickert.

An assistant indoor and outdoor track coach at Weston, Rickert succeeds Marty Ogden, who led the team for nine seasons and several state championships before leaving to coach at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield.

Rickert inherits a program that had much success in recent seasons. Placing first in the Patriot Division of the South-West Conference, the Trojans finished with a 13-1 record, their lone loss coming against eventual league champ Newtown.

The Trojans would take third overall at the SWC finals before capturing first at the Class M meet, their fourth state title since 2006, and finish 13th at the State Open to end the season.

They will have a lot of work to do to match or surpass such success, having graduated a number of key runners since last year. Three are former captains Will Glaser (All-SWC second team) Noah Krassin (All-SWC second team) and David Stankiewicz. All were among Weston’s top seven last year.

Weston is also without seniors Sam Augustyn, who moved out of the area, and Henry Tracy, who transferred to another school. Matt Proctor, a frequent top-five finisher for Weston last season, also moved.

To help fill in these gaps the team will count on several experienced runners from last season, including senior captain James Murphy. An All-SWC selection, he was 11th overall at the league meet and was sixth in Class M to earn All-State status.

Classmate and captain Henry Morris, another varsity runner from last year, is also back. Rickert also expects seniors Connor Gorkin and Trammell Saltzgaber to factor into the scoring.

Back from the junior class is Cole Clark. Other juniors include Brian Babyak and Barrett Fitzgerald.

Rickert also expects a couple of sophomores and freshmen to factor into Weston’s top seven this season.

The SWC should have several strong teams this season but not a clearly dominant one. New Fairfield will be strong but Brookfield, New Milford and Newtown should be good as well.

Weston will soon have the opportunity to see how it stacks up against the competition when it opens the season at home on Tuesday at 4:30 p.m.

“I’m looking forward to the competition,” said Rickert. “It’s wide open.”

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