The Trumbull High girls’ cross country squad, under the direction of head coach Jim McCaffrey, has been a FCIAC juggernaut evidenced by its impressive 44-5 dual-meet record over the past three-plus seasons.

For all the wins, there is something about losses that has fueled McCaffrey’s Eagles, especially in this unconventional 2020 season. Today, Trumbull fell to FCIAC East region rival Fairfield Ludlowe 24-31 exactly one week after the Eagles triumphed over the Falcons.

Ludlowe placed three of the event’s top five runners to claim the victory, led by winner Anna Keeley (18:42).

“Our team is young, and I think a lot of girls realized the impact of the match ups from the top runner to the last scoring runner,” McCaffrey said. “A point swing can come from anywhere. We will need our underclassman to support our upperclassmen and vice versa.”

Junior Kali Holden paced Trumbull with a second-place finish, finishing the 3.1-mile course in 19:42.

Senior Calyn Carbone placed fifth overall in 20:49, while junior Evelyn Marchand was sixth (20:55).

Senior Keira Grant was eighth (21:29), while classmate Brenna Asaro (22:04) and sophomore Abigail Poplawski (22:18) were 10th and 11th, respectively.

“Today gives us more information,” McCaffrey said. “Sometimes a loss is just what a good team needs to be great. Immediately after the race, the girls picked themselves up and cooled down. By the end of the cool down run we were already planning for next week.”

The Eagles now set their sights on their final dual-meet of the season, next Tuesday, Oct. 27 at rival St. Joseph.

A win by the Eagles against the Cadets will ensure at least a tie for the FCIAC East Region regular-season title. Trumbull will then prepare for the FCIAC East Region race on Nov. 4 at Waveny Park in New Canaan.

“Success is appreciated with contrast,” McCaffrey said. “Even a small race like today will help us grow. While this loss hurts our record, it strengthens our goals. We will come to the Divisional Championship ready to earn the win. We will have targets, a race plan, and be ready to put ourselves in the best position to come out with a championship for this team.”