By Eliot Schickler

eschickler@bcnnew.com

After facing two good teams and imperfect conditions, the Staples boys cross country team, swept a quad-meet at Ridgefield Tuesday.

Staples defeated Fairfield Warde, 23-32, Ridgefield, 21-34, and Bassick, 15-47 and raised its record to 11-2 despite missing one of its senior captains, Dean Hefnawy, who was sick, and trailed the Warde Mustangs midway through the race before making its surge.

"It was OK," Wreckers coach Laddie Lawrence said. "We didn't run a good race but we ran a solid race. Both Warde and Ridgefield were better than I thought they would be."

Going in, Staples knew Warde senior Harry Warnick would be a formidable challenge for Staples ace runner, Henry Wynne, but it didn't expect Warde to be as challenging as a team.

After winning three multi-team meets and two invitational meets, the junior Wynne settled for second place with a time of 16:37.4 to the senior Warnick's 16:22 in the 3.11-mile course.

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"He's [Warnick] a very good runner," Wynne said. "It was a tough day today, cold rainy and muggy. I don't feel I had my best race today but it was OK for the conditions."

Although Wynne settled for second, he felt good because the Wreckers edged "I'm not disappointed," Wynne said. "We're still training and I haven't peaked yet. We finished well today and ran as a group."

Captain Mikolaj Kulis (17:52.9) was the only Staples senior to finish among the team's top five and placed a strong third overall.

"I feel I did fine," Kulis said. "I was going up against an All-Stater in the mile [Wynne] and 2-mile [Warnick]. It was a tough course, and the ground was soft, so we had issues with footing."

Kulis almost fell but his ability to maintain his balance enabled him to take third place.

"I tried to counteract the forward motion and lean back a little," Kulis said.

Two juniors, Patrick Nolan (18:03.5) and Marcus Russi (18:14.8) put the Wreckers over the top by placing fourth and sixth, respectively. They trailed Warde two miles into the race before making their surge, forcing Mustang seniors Sam Warnick (18:21.2), who is Harry's brother, and Tong Liu (18:23.6), settle for seventh and eighth, respectively.

Nolan, who is normally the team's fifth runner behind Hefnawy and Russi, ran one of his best races.

"Even though we missed our No. 4 runner, Patrick Nolan picked it up," Kulis said. "I'm happy to get the win."

Ridgefield Tiger freshman Clint Corso (18:07.1) took fifth and finished in between Nolan and Russi.

"We started the race in an undesirable position," Russi said. "Warde had kids in front of us. Laddie told us midway through the race that in order to win, we had to make the big push, which Pat and I did. We passed Warde and Ridgefield runners and ended up in a good position."

Nolan said, "I just didn't want to lose to the guy, and I knew it was a big meet, and I had the potential to beat him. I was feeling really good, and I ended up having a good race. We kept the same pace and held strong. Marcus moved up a lot."

Sam Cohen (18:45.2), David Haswell (19:06.3), Brad Payne (19.12.8), Will McDonald (19:32), juniors Colin Findley (19:57.9), Chris Driscoll (20:27) and Peter Elkind (20:28), were 14th, 17th, 20th, 30th, 34th, 42nd and 43rd, respectively, for Staples. Reed Geisler (20:44.6), Reed Geisler (21:15.4), Casey Hausman (21:17.7) and Alex Ellman (21:38.4) also competed for the Wreckers.