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Staples' Wynne captures New England cross country title

Updated 6:43 pm, Monday, November 12, 2012
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Staples High senior Henry Wynne continued his dominance in cross country this fall by winning the New England championship on Saturday at Twin Brook Recreation Center in Cumberland, Maine.

Wynne, the FCIAC, Class LL and State Open champion, finished in a time of 16 minutes and 12 seconds, beating out runner-up Trevor Cawley of Cumberland, R.I., who finished in 16:14.

"It's awesome," Wynne said of the win. "It pays off, the whole season. It's just the whole season coming into one big race."

Wynne navigated a slippery course and fell on a turn with 250 meters left, allowing Cawley to pass him momentarily. Wynne, however, quickly returned to his feet and stormed back in front with a strong final kick.

"The course was a very tight course, a lot of quick, sharp turns," Staples head coach Laddie Lawrence said. "There were no major hills, a little up and down kind of thing so it would interrupt your stride a lot. It was extremely muddy, none of which favored the kind of running stride that he has.

"But he took control of the race fairly early."

With a New England title, Wynne has won every race he's competed in this fall, from the regular-season meets through the postseason. He is the first from Staples to win New Englands since Tom Sheeran did so in the late 1980s, Lawrence said.

"I went into the season knowing that I had a few people to compete with after last year," Wynne said. "Jake Feinstein, especially, from Newtown, he was one of my top competition last year. ... I knew he was going to be a good runner again so I was just looking out for him and a few other guys. To win every race is just awesome. It just shows how much the summer training and all the training we've done pays off."

Other boys regional runners who finished among the top 25 to earn all-New England honors were Feinstein (fourth, 16:26), Christian Alvarado of Fairfield Prep (ninth, 16:37), Trevor Hopper of Ridgefield (11th, 16:39), Logan Fulton of Joel Barlow (16th, 16:49), Mitchell Russo of Newtown (20th, 16:53) and Mickey Kozak of Danbury (22nd, 16:54).

Bishop Hendricken of Rhode Island won the boys team title with 85 points, while Staples finished in ninth with 317 points.

Behind Wynne for the Wreckers were Oliver Hickson (89th, 17:46), Patrick Nolan (92nd, 17:48), Peter Elkind (17:58), Marcus Russi (182nd, 18:34), Brad Payne (188th, 18:38) and Sam Cohen (238th, 19:17).

In the girls competition, Staples freshman Hannah Debalsi was the top regional finisher in 11th place with a time of 19:32. Other regional finishers among the top 25 were Laura Hergenrother of Ridgefield (18th, 19:47), Anne Johnston of Darien (19th, 19:48) and New Fairfield's Gabrielle Richichi (20th, 19:50).

"(DeBalsi) started right behind the girl who had won the New Hampshire state meet. She got out fast so Hannah was able to get out pretty well too," Lawrence said. "At the mile mark she was 20th, she moved up to 12th at the two-mile mark and 11th by the finish line."

Barrington of Rhode Island won the girls team title with 75 points.

dbonjour@scni.com; 203-255-4561 ext. 114; twitter.com/DougBonjour

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