The Staples boys cross country team took third at the FCIAC championship Oct. 22 with 73 points. Danbury (60) won and Darien (65) took second.

Wreckers coach Laddie Lawrence said, "Initially I was not pleased with the results because I thought we had a good chance to win the race. However, when I studied the results I was pleased. The reason is that we ran an extremely tight pack. The spread was only 11 seconds which was the best we did all year. Had Danbury`s No. 5 runner, who ran a minute and a half faster than he had all season and Darien`s No. 3 runner, who also ran better than he had all year, not have had those great races, we would have won. So basically those two runners allowed their teams to take first and second. We ran a good solid race and had those two kids not done what they did we might have come out on top. So after a final analysis I was pleased."

Senior captain Sam Zorfas said, "Coming into FCIACs, we were hoping to win it all and we were disappointed that we finished third. We did bring our "A" game though. We all ran especially well as a team, but Danbury and Darien were just simply better that day."

Going into the race, Staples knew that Ridgefield, Darien and Danbury would be its toughest competitors. Lawrence said, "I knew going into the meet that one of four teams was going to win depending on who ran well that day."

Senior captain Chase Tagen added, "It was a was a race between four teams in which Danbury ran the best."

The team saw great individual success, with the top six runners making All-FCIAC. Senior captain John Foster said, "Having six Staples runners receive FCIAC Honors is very impressive, and shows how hard we worked this season."

Lawrence added, "Having six kids make all FCIAC goes to show how good the team is. There are 30 all-county positions -- 15 for the first team and 15 for the second team. The top four teams in the county meet had 21 of those athletes on their teams which goes to show how good those teams are."

Junior Jack Roche (16:57) is the first of three Wreckers to earn All- FCIAC, finishing first for the team and 11th overall. Roche said, "I was happy with my performance. I ran faster than I did last year, and on a slower version of the course. I went out very hard in the first mile. That helped set me up for a good time. It feels great to have made First Team. I barely missed it last year, and I`m happy I was able to comfortably make it."

Following Roche was junior Ben Aldrich (17:04) in 13th place. Aldrich said, "My main goal this season was to make first team All-FCIAC, and I could not be happier achieving this goal."

Also receiving first team honors was Foster (17:05) who placed 14th. He said, "It is an honor to be All-FCIAC, being surrounded by such great runners."

Zorfas (17:06) placed 17th in the race, making Second Team All-FCIAC. He said, "I am pleased with my performance. I felt like I did my job and stuck with our pack quite well."

Senior Trevor MacLean (17:08) came in 18th place and said, "I am pleased I ran real well and ran a PR, especially being out for about four days with quad problems. I stayed up toward the front and gave it my all."

Tagen (17:34) was essential to Staples edging out Ridgefiel

Placing 28th, Tagan was able to beat Ridgefield`s sixth runner, catapulting the Wreckers into third place. He said, "I am fine where I finished I was able to displace and help the team come in third. It feels nice being Second Team All-FCIAC, after missing it by one place last year."

Sophomore Mikolaj Kulis (17:41) was seventh for Staples, 32nd overall.

Lawrence said, "The person who had the best race was the kid we put in as the eighth runner who was Mikolaj Kulis. He improved over a minute and a half and almost made all-county. Likewise there was a little disappointment because our number seven runner [junior] Matt Wormser got a side stitch during the race that prevented him from finishing. This was disappointing because he had a shot to be up there as well."

Tagen added, "I have to give alot of credit Mikolaj Kulis our seventh guy at this past meet who actually helped displace Ridgefield`s fifth guy. Without Kulis` clutch race, we would have lost to Ridgefield. Kulis did a great job and I give him a ton of credit pushing me to displace as many runners as I could during the final 500."

In addition to the Varsity success, Henry Wynne won the freshman race, followed by teammate Adam Rosenthal.

The Wreckers will compete in the Class LL state championship tomorrow at Wickham Park. Lawrence said, "We are in class LL which is recognized as the toughest class with seventy percent of the teams ranked in the state come out of this class. So it is going to be a really tough race. The toughest teams will be Xavier, Hamden, Amity, Cheshire, Glastonbary, Danbury and Ridgefield."