Trumbull girls cross country team second in state

Trumbull's girls cross country team were state runners-up in Class LL.

Trumbull's girls cross country team were state runners-up in Class LL.

Contributed photo / Trumbull High Athletics

The Trumbull girls’ cross country team added another milestone to an already successful 2019 campaign. After finishing second at last week’s FCIAC championships, coach Jim McCaffrey’s Eagles came away with a second-place finish at Saturday’s Class LL meet.

The runner-up finish is the Eagles’ best since winning the Class LL state title in 1999. In addition, Trumbull qualified for next Friday’s State Open race. It will be the Eagles’ fourth consecutive State Open berth — a record for the program.

On Saturday, Trumbull competed without one of its top runners, senior and first team All-FCIAC honoree Emily Alexandru. However, once again, the Eagles depth showed. Trumbull placed five runners in the top 30, and seven in the top 50, totaling 97 points, behind only Hall of West Hartford (77). The Eagles placed well ahead of Ridgefield (119), who won the FCIAC title a week ago.

Senior tri-captain Alessandra Zaffina led the way for the Eagles with a sixth-place finish (19:28) in the 3.1-mile race. Zaffina earned All-State honors for the third consecutive year — the first time a Trumbull female runner has achieved such recognition.

Sophomores Kali Holden and Evelyn Marchand ran solid races, finishing 17th (20:28) and 19th (20:29), respectively. Senior Rebecca Margolnick also ran a tremendous race, finishing 25th with a time of 20:36, while junior Keira Grant was 30th overall (20:54). Seniors Megan Becker and Carolyn Cardell also ran fine races, finishing 42nd (21:13) and 49th (21:28), respectively.

The Eagles’ combined time of 1:41.55 was the third-best total of the 115 teams that competed on Saturday.

“What a big race for this team,” McCaffrey said. “All season, our depth has been our strength, and today, with Emily out, our girls really stepped up.

“I challenged them to not be scared to succeed today. I also challenged them to break the race in half and once they got through the hardest part of the course to look at it as another starting line. Our finishing splits showed that they listened.”

The State Open will be held on Friday, Nov. 1, at Wickham Park in Manchester. The girls’ race starts at 2:45 p.m.