MANCHESTER — The Naugatuck boys and girls cross country teams made a good showing in last Saturday’s Class L state championship meet at Wickham Park. The boys finished fifth among the 24 teams and 164 runners and the girls placed 14th out of the 20 teams and 137 runners in the field.
Junior Dan Schumacher, the NVL champion, finished in an impressive 10th place in 16 minutes, 44 seconds — a full 30 seconds better than last year for the three-time State Open competitor.
Senior Madison Beasley paced a very young girls squad and qualified for the State Open for the first time, finishing in the top 20 with an 18th-place finish of 20:57 to beat her time of last year by close to 4 minutes.
“Talk about a tale of two runners,” Naugatuck coach Bill Hanley said. “Dan qualified for the State Open as a freshman and sophomore and now has done it in his junior year. Last year as a junior Madison battled with shin splints. She was our fifth runner and finished at 24:44. This year she was our first runner at 20:57 and by virtue of that finish time she was named the NVL Outstanding Senior. The icing on the cake was qualifying for the State Open.”
Darien won the boys Class L championship with Hall finishing second, South Windsor third and Pomperaug fourth. The Naugy boys finished fifth with Schumacher leading the way with a 10th-place 16:44. Brody Hale finished fourth in 17:35 and Graden Beasley was 31st in 17:50. Breaking the 20-minute barrier was Tyler Hayward in 18:17 for 46th place and Mark Zamani in 19:12 for 85th place. Freshman Brandon Thomas finished at 20:24 and James Dorosh came in at 20:34.
“To have three runners come in at under 18 minutes was a nice accomplishment for the team,” Hanley said. “The rest of the crew ran hard and finished well allowing us to take the fifth spot as a team.”
Wilton won the girls Class L championship with Pomperaug racing to second. Mercy was third, E.O. Smith fourth and Darien fifth. Beasley led the girls with an 18th-place finish in 20:57 with Courtney Morin finishing in 24:00, Lauren Stankiewicz in 24:57 and Heyi Cheng in 25:09. Meghan Wright clocked in at 25:34, Liz Trumbley at 25:40 and Jill Orts at 27:30.
“Although the paths of Dan and Madison were very different, their racing styles were similar,” Hanley said. “Both of them didn’t get caught up in the excitement of the start as they settled into the pack. They went to work in the second mile as they both past runners on the hill and held their form coming to the finish.”
The State Open will get underway Friday at Wickham Park. The boys race will feature 358 runners with the girls race showing 182 runners.