Getting past Darien and Danbury was a problem for the Staples boys and girls cross country teams Tuesday.

In the final home meet of the season, the Staples boys lost 20-41 to Darien and 24-37 to Danbury but avoided a sweep with a 19-40 victory over Norwalk to move to 5-2. The Lady Wreckers lost 19-40 to Darien and 24-33 to Danbury but defeated Norwalk, 16-47 to move to 4-3.

"Both Darien and Danbury are stronger than I expected," Lawrence said. "I'm disappointed with the results but what can you do. I was impressed with the quality of the individual results. To have eight guys [overall in the race) have times under 17 minutes is impressive."

Wynne wins 2nd straight race

Obviously, Lawrence is especially pleased with his top runner, junior Henry Wynne. For the second straight week, Wynne won the race and did so with a time of 16:12.17, chopping 43.30 seconds from his Sept. 13 winning time (16:55.47).

"I tried to stay focused and run with the leaders of the pack," Wynne said. "I knew if I stuck with them, I could beat them in the end with my kick."

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Wynne has become Staples' premier distance runner during last spring's outdoor track season and has his sights set on beating Fairfield Warde's Harry Warnick at the Oct. 4 quad-meet at Ridgefield.

"I hope to outkick him," Wynne said.

On the key to his emergence, Wynne said, "I owe a lot of credit to Laddie. All the training technique and weight lifting exercises he has us do, I got down pat."

In the Wreckers' first race, they occupied six of the top 10 positions. It was different against Darien, who finished third through seventh, and Danbury. Senior Mikolaj Kulis (16:58.74) was Staples' second runner and he placed eighth.

Danbury placed ninth through 12th as well as second, which assured the Hatters of beating the Wreckers. Senior Dean Hefnawy (17:56.39) was Staples' next runner and he was 18th.

Juniors Marcus Russi (17:59.36), Patrick Nolan (18:09.19), Sam Cohen (18:14.46), senior David Haswell (18:45.12) and sophomore William McDonald (18:53.50) placed 20th, 24th, 26th, 33rd and 36th for the Wreckers.

Mullen leads Lady Wreckers

While the Staples boys had their full lineup, the Staples girls didn't, which may have made a difference against Danbury. The Lady Wreckers were missing their top runner, sophomore Caroline Koenig (fell down a flight of stairs and bruised her tailbone), and their No. 3, runner freshman Paige Murray (bad cold and team didn't want her to get an infection).

Senior Courtney Mullen (18:39.01) displayed leadership as a captain by stepping up and leading Staples with a sixth-place finish and dropped 90 seconds from her previous time.

"It came from the training and support from my teammates and coach," Mullen said. "I'm really happy because the team worked together as a pack and put up a good effort."

Following Mullen were seniors Caroline Smith (18:41.03) and Alex Popkin (18:45.07), junior Georgia Kursten (19:19.45), sophomore Kellen Smithson (19:54.79) and juniors Alex O'Kane (20:15.14) and Caroline Corbally (20:21.26), placing eighth, ninth, 16th, 19th, 20th and 21st, respectively.

"Everyone ran fast [and stepped it up] because we were missing our first and third runners," Lady Wreckers coach Kristin Scott said. "We knew we were going to lose to Darien and Danbury no matter what and we figured we might as well run our best even if we fell flat on our faces and I was pleased with them. We would have done better with a full lineup but I couldn't ask for more."

Mullen said, "We were hoping to do better but with the loss of two runners, we went out there and tried our best. We ran as a pack and moved on. I hope we improve throughout the season."