Girls cross country: Trumbull seventh at New England meet
Coming off a successful 2017 season that saw them earn a berth to the New England Championships, the Eagles set out to convince its FCIAC and state rivals they were, in fact, a team to be reckoned with in 2018.
This fall, Trumbull, under the direction of FCIAC Coach of the Year Jim McCaffrey, raced out to a 14-1 dual-meet record, tying for the league’s West Division crown.
At the FCIAC meet, the Eagles finished second behind champion Danbury, and then finished fifth at the Class LL state meet.
Placing fourth at the State Open clinched Trumbull's second straight berth to the New England Championships — a first for the program.
The 84th annual New England Championship meet was held at Derryfield Park in Manchester, New Hampshire on Saturday.
Running against the best individuals and teams throughout New England, the Eagles were up to the task, finishing seventh out of 28 teams, fourth among Connecticut’s six entries.
“I couldn’t be more proud of these girls; plain and simple,” McCaffrey said. “They have bought into our system, trusted their training, and have found ways to replicate great performances the entire fall season.”
The Eagles’ seventh-place finish is their best at a New England Championship meet.
In 1999, Trumbull finished 12th and the 2017 squad finished 16th.
Champlain Valley (Vermont) won the New England title with 78 points, followed by Rhode Island’s LaSalle Academy (149), Immaculate of Danbury (187) and South Kingston (R.I.), who had 207.
Three FCIAC teams finished fifth, sixth and seventh — Danbury (208), Ridgefield (273) and Trumbull (274).
Coincidentally, the three teams had also finished in a three-way tie for the FCIAC West 2018 regular-season title.
Derryfield Park’s 3.1-hybrid mile course, one of the most challenging in New England due to its changing elevations, was wet and muddy for the 28 teams and 261 runners on a cold and blustery November afternoon.
“The course conditions definitely influenced the race, but our girls overcame those challenges by running straight through them,” McCaffrey said. “Half of the starting line had six inches of mud.
“Our attitude has been our biggest strength. In our meet preparation, we made it a point to find the easier parts of the course so the girls could visualize positives, instead of just focusing on the difficult parts.”
Junior Alessandra Zaffina led the way for Trumbull, finishing 26th with a time of 19:33, narrowly missing All-New England honors. Her time was the third-best by a Trumbull runner at the New England championship race.
Classmate Emily Alexandru ran a strong race, finished second on the team and 85th overall with a season-best 20:36 time.
Senior co-captain Maggie LoSchiavo also ran a fine race, finishing 115th in 20:58. LoSchiavo, a three-time All-FCIAC honoree during her high school career, rolled her ankle in the first 800 meters of the race yet was able to finish the race third on the team.
“What a leader Maggie has been for us,” McCaffrey said. “She has adapted and thrived throughout her high school career. She rolled her ankle in the first part of the race, but you never would have known it. She is so tough. She executes, and runs in the moment. She has helped create our identity.”
Sophomore Calyn Carbone finished 119th (20:59) and freshman Kali Holden was 132nd (21:08) to round out the Eagles’ scoring.
Junior Sabrina Orazietti (176th, 21:45) and Rebecca Margolnick (180th, 21:49) also competed for Trumbull in the race.
In addition, five other team members, based on their performances during the season, practiced and traveled with the team to the New England meet: senior co-captain Regina Misercola, juniors Megan Becker and Julianna Zaccagnino, and sophomores Brenna Asaro and Ina Rahalker.
The Eagles’ have one more race this fall, the Nike Northeast Regional Race on Saturday, Nov. 24, at Bowdoin Park in Wappinger Falls (N.Y.) where the top teams from Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Maine and New Hampshire will compete.