Ridgefield Boys Cross Country preview: Off-season training pleases Kovalsky

Chuckie Namiot, front, and Ethan MacKenzie, behind Namiot, are the top returning runners for the Ridgefield boys cross country team.

Chuckie Namiot, front, and Ethan MacKenzie, behind Namiot, are the top returning runners for the Ridgefield boys cross country team.

Dave Stewart / Hearst Connecticut Media

Despite having a young, senior-less squad last year, the Ridgefield High boys cross country team recorded top-10 finishes at all three postseason meets.

But even though none of Ridgefield’s scoring runners graduated, there are still some absences this fall. Three of the Tigers’ top-six runners are either injured or not competing, leaving openings in the starting lineup.

The biggest loss is senior Chip Coffin, who will miss the season with a knee injury. Coffin led Ridgefield at all three postseason races in 2018, finishing fourth at the FCIAC championships, ninth at the Class LL meet, and seventh at the State Open.

With Coffin sidelined, Ridgefield’s top returning runners are senior Ethan MacKenzie and junior Chuckie Namiot. McKenzie was 21st at FCIACs, 39th in Class LL and 73rd at the State Open last year, while Namiot placed 22nd at FCIACs, 37th in Class LL and 62nd at the State Open.

“Ethan MacKenzie was in our top five every time he raced last season,” said Ridgefield head coach Bryan Kovalsky. “Charles Namiot [is] a junior who trained really hard this past summer.”

Also back are junior Charlie King and senior Leo Rector, both of whom contributed last year. King was 37th at FCIACs and 66th in Class LL, and Rector finished 43rd at FCIACs.

“Charlie King was one of our middle-distance leaders [during the spring outdoor track season] with a 4:24 mile time,” said Kovalsky. “Leo Rector factored into our top seven cross country runners last year.”

Another returnee is junior Chaz DellaCorte, who finished 50th at last season’s FCIAC championships.

“[He’s been] a consistent contributor to our team for the past two years,” said Kovalsky about DellaCorte.

Seniors Trevor DeMarco and Charlie MacArthur, juniors Liam Carcich and Riley Courtney, and sophomores Jon-Paul Karpf and Ethan Snyder are looking to join the Tigers’ top seven.

“The coaching staff and the athletes are really excited about the training that seems to have taken place over the summer,” said Kovalsky. “Most of the boys seem to be in the best shape of their lives.”

That training has Kovalsky thinking his team might not take a step back this fall.

“We were seventh at the State Open last year, and I would guess that we will be around there again this year,” he said. “It looks like -defending champion] Staples and [runner-up] Danbury are the teams to beat in the FCIAC.”

Notes: Ridgefield opens the season next Monday (Sept. 9) at home against Wilton, Trinity Catholic, and Stamford.

In addition to Coffin, junior Ryan Crist (32nd in FCIACs, 63rd in Class LL) and sophomore CJ Lauretani (47th at FCIACs, 55th in Class LL, 65th at the State Open) are not running this year.