Illnesses, a tough course and two solid teams worked against the Staples girls cross-country team at Ridgefield Tuesday.

Staples lost 18-45 to Ridgefield and 23-33 to Fairfield Warde, but beat Bassick 15-50.

The team moved to 8-5 after its performance on the 3.11-mile course.

"Tough meet for us," Lady Wreckers coach Kristin Scott said. "Warde and Ridgefield are very talented [again] this year and we just couldn't match up. The girls are working through head colds and we're looking forward to the next nine days of non-competition to rest and train."

The Ridgefield Lady Tigers swept the meet and grabbed the first two spots with two juniors behind meet-winner Sarah Guillaume (20;17.1) and Caroline Carr (20:46.9) took second. Staples sophomore Caroline Koenig took third with a time of 20:47.6, but had a chance of beating Carr and taking second.

"At the end, I was second, but she [Carr] passed me with three meters left," Koenig said. "She had a good kick and got in front of me. I had blisters on my arches and I didn't run my best."

Koenig recognized where she fell behind Carr.

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"I think I did well uphill and flat areas, but going downhill was tough and they passed me," Koenig said. "It was their course and they are used to it."

Caroline Smith (22:18.9) was next for Staples and placed 15th overall.

"The course was very hilly and we weren't used to it," Smith said. "We focused up the hill and took advantage of the flat parts of the course and tried to get places back."

Alex Popkin (22:22.7) was next for the Lady Wreckers and took 16th. Junior Georgia Kursten (22:46.2), who's niche is the 800 meters in track and is new to cross country, continued to improve and placed 19th. Courtney Mullen (23:26.8) rounded out the scoring for Staples and took 23rd.

Kellen Smithson (23:38.9), Caroline Corbally (23:45.3), Alex O'Kane (24:14.3), Eliza Duvall (25:21.5), Rebecca Konowitz (25:49.4) and Caitlin McDonald (26:10.8) also competed for the Lady Wreckers and finished 25th, 26th, 31st, 40th, 42nd and 44th, respectively.

"I was a little surprised with Ridgefield's strength," Smith said. "I didn't expect much and I wanted to improve. A lot of girls felt better [about their performances] and it's more important to gain experience than the wins and losses."

Not having freshman Paige Murray, who was out sick and has consistently been in the team's top three, also hurt.

"It would have been helpful having Paige because she's a consistent runner but our team still ran well today," Smith said.

Despite not faring well in the standings, Staples left Ridgefield feeling good about its performance.

"I'm really proud of our team," Smith said. "We have strong people and hope to make State Open this year."