There are 12 races set to take place Saturday at the CIAC state championship cross country meet at Wickham Park and two, in particular, stand out. The Class LL boys race will likely be a battle between Xavier, Staples and Hall for the team title, and the individual race is full of top runners like three-time SCC champion Drew Thompson of Fairfield Prep, as well as Joe Pearl of Manchester and Hall’s Trey Cormier, who battled at the CCC meet. On the girls side, the Class SS race will be very competitive with Shoreline Conference champion Haddam-Killingworth and NCCC champion Canton. Somers sophomore Kylie Raymond, the NCCC champ, and Shoreline champ Kelsey D’Amico of H-K will square off in the individual race.
Here is a look at the meet:
GIRLS: CLASS LL
Time: 1 p.m.
Runners to watch: Jenna Zydanowicz, Hall; Kate Hedlund, Manchester
Teams to watch: Glastonbury, Greenwich, Hall, Danbury
A note: Glastonbury was the runner-up last year and has had a strong showing all season, with a pack of five seniors including Alex Ross (the team’s top runner at the CCC meet) leading the Tomahawks to a CCC championship. Zydanowicz and Hedlund are both sophomores who stopped playing soccer to run this year. They finished 1-2 at the CCC meet.
Time: 11:25 a.m.
Runners to watch: Morgan McCormick, Wilton; Meredith Bloss, Guilford, Katie Wiser, Pomperaug.
Teams to watch: Pomperaug, E.O. Smith, Guilford
A note: Pomperaug is the defending Class L champion and has a top freshman in Wiser, who won the SWC title. McCormick won the individual title last year. Guilford won the SCC title and Bloss was the individual winner at the SCC meet. E.O. Smith finished fourth overall at the CCC meet.
Time: 10:20 a.m.
Runners to watch: Bethany Ottowicz, Watertown
Teams to watch: Avon, East Lyme, RHAM
A note: RHAM is the defending champion and could challenge again. Avon, which finished third at the CCC meet, was the runner-up last year and, led by senior Sara Leavens, has a shot at winning the title. East Lyme won the ECC championship.
Time: 9:15 a.m.
Runners to watch: Elizabeth Stockman, Rocky Hill; Kathryn Bonanno, Ellington; Kayla Cohen, New Fairfield.
Teams to watch: Nonnewaug, Ellington, Weston.
A note: Ellington, the runner-up to Tolland at the Class M meet last year, finished second in the NCCC championship meet Saturday and Bonanno, a sophomore, was third. She was fifth in the Class M meet last year as a freshman behind four seniors. Stockman, a sophomore, finished third at the CCC meet.
Time: 3:10 p.m.
Runners to watch: Kylie Raymond, Somers; Kelsey D’Amico, Haddam-Killingworth; Liv DiStefano, East Hampton.
Teams to watch: Haddam-Killingworth, Canton, Old Saybrook
A note: Raymond, a sophomore, won the NCCC championship in 18:59.88 and is the favorite. D’Amico, who won the Shoreline Conference title, will be in the mix, as will DiStefano, a sophomore who finished second at the Shorelines. Canton won the NCCC team title; H-K was the Shoreline champ and Old Saybrook was the runner-up.
Time: 2:05 p.m.
Runners to watch: Angela Saidman, Immaculate.
Teams to watch: Immaculate.
A note: Immaculate is last year’s Class SS champion and was the runner-up to Pomperaug at the SWC championships. Saidman was second to Wiser at the SWC meet.
BOYS: CLASS LL
Time: 1:35 p.m.
Runners to watch: Drew Thompson, Fairfield Prep; Trey Cormier, Hall; Joe Pearl, Manchester; Brendan Murray, Cheshire; Ben Seiple, Staples.
Teams to watch: Staples, Xavier, Hall
A note: This could be one of the best races of the day as FCIAC champion Staples, last year’s defending Class LL champion, and SCC champion Xavier should go at it, with Hall in the mix. Thompson is the three-time SCC champion and was the runner-up last year in Class LL. Cormier and Pearl duked it out at the CCCs last week, with Cormier beating Pearl to win. Both are experienced on the Wickham course.
Runners to watch: Eli Nahom, New Milford
Teams to watch: Pomperaug
A note: Hall, third in Class L last year, moved up to Class LL so Pomperaug, last year’s runner-up, should be the favorite. Nahom, a junior, is the defending champion.
Time: 10:55 a.m.
Runners to watch: Anthony Golino, New Fairfield
Teams to watch: Brookfield, Weston, East Lyme.
A note: Barlow is the defending champion but lost its top two runners to graduation. East Lyme won the ECC championship. Golino, a junior, was third last year in MM.
Time: 9:50 a.m.
Runners to watch: Killian McNamee, Tolland; Heath Oliveiri, East Catholic
Teams to watch: Tolland, East Catholic, Suffield
A note: Tolland, the defending champion, is the favorite to win once again. East Catholic was last year’s runner-up. Tolland was the CCC meet runner-up with East Catholic finishing fourth overall. McNamee, a sophomore, was third in the CCC meet and Oliveiri, a junior, was fourth. Suffield is the NCCC team champion.
Time: 3:45 p.m.
Runners to watch: Taylor Ney, Coventry; Andrew Meredith, Jonah Spector, Daniel Schumann, Haddam-Killingworth; Maximillian Sparks, Canton
Teams to watch: Haddam-Killingworth
A note: Meredith, Spector and Schumann went 1-2-3 at the Shoreline championships and H-K won with 18 points. The Cougars are also the defending Class SS champions. Sparks, a senior, won the NCCC championship and Ney, a sophomore, was fourth.
Time: 2:40 p.m.
Runners to watch: Silas Olsen, Lyman Memorial; Ken Little, Derby.
Teams to watch: Lyman Memorial
A note: Lyman Memorial is the defending champion and Olsen finished third at the ECC meet, where his team was the runner-up. Little is the NVL champion.