The Ridgefield boys cross country team followed through on its status as a favorite when it captured the FCIAC Central Region championship on Wednesday.

In fact, the biggest obstacle between the Tigers and a title likely came off the course during the past two weeks.

“On Friday, we didn’t think we’d be allowed to race,” senior Chuckie Namiot said, referring to Ridgefield schools having shifted to remote learning in late October, putting all sports teams on the sidelines. “We were out all of last week and got back to school on Monday. Everything’s been changing really fast, so it meant a lot to actually get here.”

With seniors Charlie King and Namiot taking the top two places, Ridgefield claimed the Central championship with 23 points in the final boys race of the day at New Canaan’s Waveny Park.

King won the 5K race in 16:09.8, with Namiot hot on his heels in second place at 16:11.2.

The Tigers placed six runners in the top 10 to beat Staples, last year’s overall FCIAC champion, for the East crown. The Wreckers scored 43 points, followed by Wilton in third with 78 points.

The top five individual runners included Wilton’s Davis Cote (16:28.3) third, Staples’ Dillon Harding (16:30.1) fourth, and Ridgefield’s Liam Carcich (16:32.8) fifth.

After Carcich in fifth, Ridgefield’s scoring runners included Benjamin Mikool (16:44.8) in seventh and Matthew McDonough (16:45.9) in eighth.

Both King and Namiot said training together has helped push them to stronger performances.

“Charlie and I have been best friends since sophomore year, so being able to train together and run together has been great,” Namiot said. “Most of the time we’re right around even in the pack like we were today. We can work together training over almost any distance so that’s meant a lot. We both have a really solid training partner.”

For the two seniors, Wednesday’s race marked the end of their time with the Ridgefield cross country program.

“It’s a little weird to have it sink in, but this is our last official cross country race of our entire high school careers,” King said. “As excited as we both are for our college experience and our careers there, it’s something we’re thinking about.

“Overall, this was a good effort, a fun race and a good way to close out our season.”

Notes: The FCIAC cross country championships certainly had a different look this year, as COVID safety measures led to regional divisions for the finals. Six varsity races were held — boys and girls events in all three divisions — and no spectators were allowed for an event which usually packs Waveny Park.