Trumbull’s Kali Holden adds All-New England to cross country resume

Trumbull's Kali Holden, eighth in top row, was one of 25 runners to earn All-New England honors.

Trumbull's Kali Holden, eighth in top row, was one of 25 runners to earn All-New England honors.

Trumbull Athletics / Contributed photo

Trumbull High senior cross country captain Kali Holden focused all season on being one of the top runners in the state. She can now add New England to that list.

Holden competed in the New England Cross Country Championship on Saturday in Thetford (VT). She earned the spot after finishing sixth at the State Open race.

Holden completed the challenging 3.11-mile course at Thetford Academy in 20:23, a 6:33 pace, good for 21st place in a field of 259 runners. The 21st place earned her All-New England recognition, something that Trumbull head coach Jim McCaffrey was confident Holden would be able to achieve.

“Many runners call it a victory to make New Englands,” McCaffrey said. “While Kali was honored to be there, but she had one mission: All-New England honors. She ran a determined, aggressive, and a strong race.”

He explained: “The start is key on the Thetford course. It narrows so quickly. When we ran the course on Friday, we decided a fast start was important. Kali was in the lead pack entering the narrows and first loop through the trail and this set the tone for her. At the 3K mark, she was covered in mud having just run through the wet and sloppy field portion of the course, she looked like she was hurting, but shook it off and brought herself back into the race. Coming through the 4K she was in the top 30 and finished strong.”

Holden also becomes the third runner under McCaffrey to earn All-New England honors, joining former Eagle standouts Kate Romanchick (2016) and Alessandra Zaffina (2019).

Holden’s performance on Saturday was also significant in a few different ways; she was the first runner from the FCIAC to finish the race, and sixth fastest among all of Connecticut’s participants.

A four-time All-FCIAC honoree and two-time All-State selection, Holden finishes her scholastic career in the conversation as one of the top girls’ cross country runners in THS history.

“I have always said Kali was strong,” McCaffrey said. “It is just who she is; and that strength helped her accomplish some amazing things in her career.”