Cross country: Trumbull Lady Eagles sixth at State Open

The Trumbull High girls cross country team added to its outstanding season with an impressive sixth-place finish at the State Open meet on Friday afternoon at Wickham Park in Manchester.

With their sixth-place finish, the Eagles earned a spot in next weekend’s New England Championships, which will be held in Belfast, Maine. It will be Trumbull’s first appearance as an entire team in the New England Championships since 1999.

“It was humid and unseasonably warm, but we rose to the occasion,” Trumbull coach Jim McCaffrey said. “Four points separated sixth and seventh place overall. We made a race plan, we fought hard, and the girls get all the credit for overcoming some tough variables in the race.”

Twenty teams and 176 runners participated in Friday’s State Open. Glastonbury won the title (80 points), followed by Danbury (128), Pomperaug (136), Guilford (153) and Haddam-Killingworth (219). Trumbull (236) finished just ahead of RHAM (240) to earn the state's final spot in the New England Championships.   

Each New England state may enter six teams (7 runners each) and any other individual placing in the top twenty-five positions in its state meet.

The Eagles, who had previously finished third in the FCIAC meet and fifth in the Class LL state meet, also finished ahead of FCIAC-rivals Greenwich (9th), Wilton (11th) and Fairfield Ludlowe (15th).

Sophomore Ally Zaffina continued her impressive running, following up on her 11th place finish at last week’s Class LL state meet with a 17th place finish at the State Open.

Zaffina finished the 3.1-mile race in 20:15, eclipsing the THS sophomore record (by three seconds) she set last week.

“Ally had an amazing effort today,” McCaffrey said. “She broke her own sophomore record with another great run.She has been consistent and reliable all season.”

Freshman Kiki Grant was the second finisher for Trumbull, completing the race in 21:04, good for 46th overall.

Grant’s classmate Calyn Carbone was the Eagles’ third finisher, placing 76th in 21:34.

“This team is special. When you look at our three championship races, we have had different scorers in each race,” said McCaffrey. “Freshman Calyn Carbone is a great example of this — she was sixth on the team at the FCIACs, fifth at the LL meet, and now, third at the Open. This speaks to our depth and unselfishness. We run as a team, and we succeed as a team.”

Junior Maggie LoSchiavo finished in 98th place (22:01) and freshman Brenna Asaro placed 121st (22:28).

Seniors Lianne Iassogna (136th) and Ashley Storino (143rd) rounded out the Trumbull contingent.

“I’m excited that we qualified for New Englands,” McCaffrey said. “However, what makes me even more excited is that our top five runners today consisted of three freshmen (Grant, Carbone and Asaro), a sophomore (Zaffina) and the leader of our team, a junior, Maggie LoSchiavo, who showed a lot of perseverance, and was key to us finishing in the top six.

“That being said, our two seniors, Ashley Storino and Lianne Iassogna have been amazing mentors to this team. These young ladies quietly and unconsciously bring this team together, all while pushing themselves and their teammates to get better every single day.”

The 83rd annual New England Interscholastic Girls Championship race will be held on Saturday, Nov. 11, at 11:30 a.m. in Belfast, Maine.

While McCaffrey has been pleased with the team’s results this season, he has been more impressed with the team’s approach and camaraderie.

“Walking into Wickham Park today, I couldn’t help but be happy with how loose and calm our team was — we are a team that doesn’t take ourselves too seriously, but we know how to put work in,” he said. “In the end, we like each other, we look out for each other, and we keep our egos in check.  Keep an eye out for us.”