Staples junior Henry Wynne is the best cross country runner in the FCIAC.
At least at the FCIAC championship he was by winning the 3.1-mile Waveny Park Course Monday with a time of 15:37, vanquishing the favorite, Fairfield Warde senior Harry Warnick (15:39).
"It's amazing," Wynne said. "I'm very, very excited I could beat him today."
Warnick defeated Wynne in the regular season and the race was close throughout before the Staples junior edged Warnick. Moreover, Wynne had one of the best times at New Canaan's Waveny Park in many years.
"The race was set up that Harry and I would lead the whole time and I was able to stay with him," Wynne said. "We were both responsible for the amazing times and in the end, I out-kicked him. I've been running great times before and Waveny is one of the most difficult courses. To know I had one of the best times feels good."
Warnick had a small lead when they headed into the woods and tried to pull away, but Wynne inched closer. They both took turns overtaking each other before Wynne made the last move at the finish line.
"Henry did great," Wreckers coach Laddie Lawrence said. "They both ran great and on any given day, it could go either way."
Wynne's performance was the highlight for the Staples boys and girls cross country teams in their quest for placing high at FCIACs. The Staples boys placed third in the 16-team field while the girls took seventh in the 15-team, 2.4-mile field.
Boys have four All-Stars
Wynne was one of four Wreckers to earn First Team All-FCIAC honors, which helped Staples score 71 points and take third with ease, outdistancing fourth-place Ridgefield (122). However, the Wreckers couldn't touch champion Danbury (54) or second-place Darien (58).
"Going in, we thought we had a chance of upsetting [second-seeded] Danbury but it didn't happen," Staples senior captain Mikolaj Kulis said.
Kulis (16:42) was the team's second runner and placed eighth overall. Moreover, he was nursing a groin injury after the last regular-season meet, which took place on Oct. 13.
"The race was fast and I was able to keep up with the top group," Kulis said. "I set my eyes on the goal and I did what I could without pushing myself too far."
"It feels incredible," Nolan said. "I thought maybe I'd get second team but it turned out to be first team and I was surprised and grateful. I gave it my all and I left everything on the course."
Russi said, "I'm really amazed. We went into the meet with high expectations. Patrick and I went out harder than we did before and we're happy to get a great result. Going in, I was hoping for a top 30 finish. Overall, the team did fantastic, especially Henry."
"We had four guys who ran great and four who did good," Lawrence said. "The problem was, we had a big gap between the first four and second four runners. We had one more guy run equivalent to our top four, we would have won. Brad is normally our No. 8 runner and ran a great race. I was hoping to place second but I'm happy with our point total."
Next up for the Wreckers are the Class LL championships Saturday in Manchester.
"We hope to finish as a wild card and qualify for State Open," Lawrence said. "If we run like we did at FCIACs, we'll make Opens."
Lady Wreckers beat Danbury
Sophomore Caroline Koenig (15:30) led the Staples girls by placing 10th overall and earn All-FCIAC honors.
"I was very happy to get a medal," Koenig said. "We started out pretty fast and I died out for the last half mile."
For most of the race, Koenig was in second place before dropping to 10th.
"Caroline tends to go out fast and I explain to her that she needs to start slower before picking it up in the end," Lady Wreckers coach Kristin Scott said. "She followed our advice and did well and finishing in 10th place is great."
Scott's team finished with 145 points and was 12 points shy of tying Warde (133) but defeated Danbury (183).
"I think we did well," Scott said. "It was nice to beat Danbury because we lost to them during the season when we were missing two of our runners, who were out sick."
Senior captain Alex Popkin (16:08) was next for the Lady Wreckers and took 23rd, earning Second Team All-FCIAC. Following Popkin were senior captains Caroline Smith (16:20) and Courtney Mullen (16:30), freshman Paige Murray (16:48), junior Georgia Kursten (16:59), sophomore Kellen Smithson (17:26) and junior Caroline Corbally (17:45) by placing 33rd, 37th, 43rd, 50th, 60th and 71st, respectively.
Next up for the Lady Wreckers are the Class LL championships Saturday.
"We need to get everyone healthy and everybody has to have a good race," Scott said.