Ridgefield girls sixth at New England regionals
With about half a mile left in Saturday’s New England girls cross country championships, Ridgefield’s top-two runners, Gabby Viggiano and Tess Pisanelli, ran past head coach John Goetz.
“I had been counting the runners in front of them, and so I yelled out their places to them,” Goetz said. “Gabby was 38th and Tess was 42nd.”
After hearing their coach’s update, Viggiano and Pisanelli went to a higher gear, catching and surpassing a host of opposing runners. Both finished in the top-25 overall, earning All-New England honors and helping Ridgefield finish sixth in the team standings with 273 points.
One point behind the Tigers were Trumbull and Pinkerton (N.H.), which both had 274 points. Based on the tiebreaker, Trumbull finished seventh and Pinkerton was eighth.
Viggiano was 21st overall with a time of 19 minutes, 24 seconds for the 3.1-mile race, which was run on a wet, muddy course at Derryfield Park in Manchester, N.H. Pisanelli followed in 25th place with a time of 19:29.4.
“Tess passed a Trumbull runner in the final 100 meters to get the last All-New England spot and also give us sixth place,” said Goetz. “We would have dropped to eighth if the Trumbull runner had finished ahead of her.”
Champlain Valley (VT) was first with 78 points, followed by La Salle Academy of Rhode Island (149 points), Immaculate (187 points), South Kingstown, R.I. (207 points), Danbury (208 points) and Ridgefield.
“To have three schools (Ridgefield, Immaculate, Danbury) that are within 10 miles of another finish in the top six shows the quality of runners in this part of Connecticut,” Goetz said.
Katie Langis (110th, 20:55.4), Rory McGrath (134th, 21:08.7), and Elizabeth Jasminski (167th, 21:35.5) also contributed to Ridgefield’s team score.
“I was hoping for a top-10 finish, so I will definitely take sixth place,” said Goetz. “The weather and course conditions were awful, but our girls were not intimidated. We went up there Friday night and did a practice run and I think that helped them get a feel for the course and know where the muddy spots were.”
Notes: Elizabeth DeMassa (171st, 21:37.5) and Samantha McLemore (201st, 22:12.5) also competed for Ridgefield.
Champlain Valley’s first-place finish was its fifth since 2003 and first since 2016. Earlier this season, Champlain Valley won its 10th consecutive Vermont state championship.
Twenty-eight teams competed at the meet, which included squads from Connecticut, Maine, Vermont, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire. Teams qualified based on their finishes at state championship meets.
Kate Wiser of Pomperaug won the individual title with a time of 18:04.1. She was more than four seconds faster than runner-up Sophia Reynolds of Merrimack Valley (N.H.), who was second in 18:42.4.