John Goetz had a reason to worry Saturday morning. But it had noting to do with the competition at the Class LL girls cross country state championship meet.
“Almost all of the girls had colds,” said Goetz, the head coach of the Ridgefield High team. “Some of them said they were putting Vicks VapoRub under their noses Friday night. They were sniffling and hacking.”
In the end, however, they were also winning.
Despite not being at full strength physically, the Tigers defended their Class LL state title, finishing with 55 points to edge runner-up Glastonbury by seven points.
“I think we can run better, but the main thing is we ran well enough to win,” said Goetz. “It was a close meet. Glastonbury is a good team.”
Laura Hergenrother led Ridgefield with a third-place overall finish in a time of 19:36 for the hilly 3.1-mile (5K) course at Wickham Park in East Hartford.
Teammate Sarah Guillaume added a fifth-place finish in 19:48.
Ridgefield’s three other scoring runners were also in the top-20 overall as Caroline Carr (20:25) placed 12th, Hannah Fleming (20:46) 18th and Jeanne Jacullo (20:48) 19th.
Meanwhile, the RHS boys cross country team finished fifth at the Class LL state meet.
Ridgefield had 157 points, just one fewer than fourth-place Newtown.
FCIAC champ Danbury was first with 94 points.
Trevor Hopper was second overall with a time of 16:01 for the Tigers.
Staples’ Henry Wynne, the FCIAC champ ahead of Hopper, was first in 15:49.
Ridgefield’s Kristian Sogaard also placed in the top-10 overall, taking 10th in 16:46.
Clint Corso (23rd, 17:06), Gabriel Altopp (54th, 17:36) and McCall Keller (68th, 17:48) also scored points for the Tigers.
Notes: Hergenrother and Guillaume earned All-State honors by placing in the top-10 overall.
The Ridgefield top-seven was rounded out by strong performances from Melissa Budicini (24th, 21:03) and Molly Weeks (38th, 21:30).
Maggie McSpedon, one of Ridgefield’s top-five runners throughout the season, was sidelined with a sprained ankle suffered in the FCIAC championships.
Ridgefield’s total time for its top-five runners was 1:41:23, besting the total time the Tigers posted at last year’s Class LL meet by six seconds.
Goetz said that Glastonbury’s top runner, Kristen Arborio, was slowed by asthma problems. She finished last for Glastonbury and 40th overall.
Brianna Lenehan of NFA was first overall in 18:51.
Ridgefield will now try to defend its title at the State Open meet, which takes place Friday at Wickham Park.