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Another memorable cross country season in the books

Kevin Duff, News-Times
Published 11:16 pm, Monday, January 4, 2010
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Another cross country season, another addition to the New Milford trophy case.

The Green Wave boys cross country team won its eighth consecutive SWC title and followed that up with a Class L championship, a second-place finish in the State Open and a sixth-place finish in the New England meet.

This season, however, the New Milford boys weren't the only ones racing past the competition.

The Green Wave girls claimed an SWC title of their own and took a surprise second-place finish in the Class LL championship.

Even coach Tom Marks -- who noted that New Milford used to be known for its girls cross country teams, not it's boys -- was surprised by the finish.

"Honestly, coming into the race I was hoping we`d be able to sneak into the top eight," Marks said after the race. "I never thought we`d come in second. I`m so proud of all the girls."

New Fairfield had a successful season on both sides as well.

The Rebel girls took home the Class M title despite being down their No. 2 and No. 5 runners -- Mary Simons and Cacique Richardson -- in the Class M meet.

On the boys side, John Raneri enjoyed the most successful individual season of any area runner in a long, long time.

The New Fairfield senior coasted to victories in the SWC, Class MM, State Open and New England championships before placing fourth and Northeast Regionals and 35th at Nationals.

"Physically, he's the strongest runner I've ever seen," said New Fairfield coach Tim Murphy. "There's other runners who are long and have that natural distance-run ner body, but John will out-muscle them. He's got gears that other kids don't have."

Danbury boys cross country, which had won three consecutive Class LL crowns, failed to make it a four-peat in 2009. After winning the FCIAC championship, the Hatters placed third in Class LL and eighth at the State Open.