Trumbull, Holden, fourth in Class LL girls cross country

The Trumbull High girls’ cross country team finished fourth at the Class LL state meet held Monday at Wickham Park in Manchester.

The Eagles finished with 144 points, behind champion Glastonbury (73), runner-up Hall (88) and Ridgefield (95). Trumbull also finished ahead of FCIAC rivals Greenwich (148) and Fairfield Ludlowe (184).

Despite the sloppy course conditions, the Eagles posted the seventh best time (1:46:06) among the 99 participating teams, which qualified them for Friday’s State Open championship. It will be the fifth consecutive year Trumbull has qualified for the State Open race.

“It was a great day for us,” Trumbull head coach Jim McCaffrey said. “This team has continued to get stronger and stronger as they have competed more and more this season.”

Senior captain Kali Holden, who earned All-State honors with a fourth-place finish in the 127-runner field, led the way. Holden’s 19:32 finish was her personal best at Wickham Park and ranked as the fourth-fastest time by a Trumbull runner on the course.

“Kali is a gifted competitor,” McCaffrey said. “She knows how to break down a course and a race, and she did that today in a very talented field.”

Senior captain Evelyn Marchand finished 13th (20:28), just missing All-State recognition by one place.

“Evelyn had a great race,” McCaffrey said. “She took the pressure of her role as our number two runner and owned it. She may have missed all-state by one place, but she is ranked among the top 25 in the entire state with her performance today.”

Junior Abigail Poplawski placed 27th (21:16), while sophomores Leela Kocinsky was 48th (22:17) and Bridget Walsh was 54th (22:33). Junior Gabby Pavlov finished 59th (22:48) and sophomore Isabel O’Brien was 60th (20:48) to round out the Trumbull runners.

“Our 3-4-5-6-7 runners were important for us today,” McCaffrey added. “Pop (Abigal Poplawski) ran strong and Leela really pushed herself to finish in the top 50. Bridget, Gabby and Isabel have been consistent for us all season. Today was no different as they all finished in the top of half of the race.”

The Eagles will return to Wickham Park for the State Open on Friday with the goal of earning a top six team finish, which would earn them a spot in the New England championships for a fourth consecutive time. The New England Championships will be held on Nov. 13 at Thetford Academy in Vermont.

“When I think of this program and its success, I appreciate that we find a way to know who we are each year,” McCaffrey said. “Identity is so important in cross country. Everyone has a job and when we execute great things happen.”