Viggiano finishes first at FCIAC cross country championships

At the end of last year's FCIAC girls cross country championship race, Gabriella Viggiano was barely able to walk on her own. The physical distress was a result of a heated sprint to the finish line with Danbury's Lauren Moore, who edged Viggiano for second place behind Wilton standout Morgan McCormick.

With McCormick having graduated, Viggiano and Moore found themselves in another sprint to the finish line on Thursday afternoon. This time, though, the reward was first place, not second.

It was a battle that Viggiano won.

A senior at Ridgefield High, Viggiano had a time of 14 minutes, 39:07 seconds to beat Moore (14:39.53) by less than a second and finish first overall in the 2.5-mile girls varsity race at Waveny Park in New Canaan.

Viggiano's victory — coupled with junior Tess Pisanelli's fourth-place finish (in a time of 14:46.32) — helped Ridgefield place third in the team standings with 77 points.

The Tigers finished behind Danbury (50 points) and Trumbull (57 points) in the 12-team field.

With Viggiano and Pisanelli, Ridgefield was the only team with two finishers in the top-five overall. But the Tigers had too large of a gap between those two runners and their three other scoring runners to challenge for the title.

Ridgefield's third finisher, Elizabeth Jasminski, was 21st overall in 15:31.80. Katherine Langis (25th, 15:44.96) and Rory McGrath (28th, 15:49.80) also contributed to the Tigers' team score.

In the boys varsity race, Ridgefield had only one runner in the top-20 overall but still managed to finish fourth in the team standings with 124 points.

Staples was first with 42 points, followed by Danbury (67) and Fairfield Warde (92).

Chip Coffin led Ridgefield with a 14th-place overall finish in a time of 16:22.71 for the 3.1-mile course.

Also contributing to the Tigers' team score were Ethan MacKenzie (21st, 16:40.27), Charles Namiot (22nd, 16:41.65), Ryan Crist (32nd, 16:58.58), and Charles King (37th, 17:03.38).