While the fall season is far from over, Cheshire High School cross country teams felt a sense of finality on Sept. 24. Before running in their final home meets at Cheshire Park, senior boys and girls were introduced to the crowd and thanked for their contributions to the programs.
“It hasn’t sunk in yet that this is my last home meet,” said Brendan Mellitt, a boys’ senior tri-captain with Parker Arai and Charlie Pettit. “I’ve been running here (Cheshire Park) for the last six years. I’ll miss it next year.”
After the starting pistol sounded, the Rams honored their leaders with a pair of sweeps. Cheshire defeated Branford (boys, 17-44; girls, 19-42), East Haven (15-50, boys; 15-48, girls), and Sheehan (22-37, boys; 25-33, girls) to raise their records to 6-1, 2-0 in the Housatonic Division.
Mellitt made history in lowering his course record from 16:32 to 16:15 to remain unbeaten (3-0) in dual meets this year.
“I wanted to set a new record in my last time on this course. It felt great to accomplish that goal,” said Mellitt.
Junior Ryan Farrell came in second (17:06). Senior Francis Simpatico earned fourth (17:44) and sophomore Robert DiNatale nabbed seventh (18:03). Senior Owen Fiore (18:23), Pettit (18:27), and Arai (18:35) took 10th through 12th.
All five senior boys are running varsity this year.
“It shows how hard we work. Everybody has stepped up,” said Arai.
CHS girls entered their home finale short-handed with sophomore Meghan Georgescu and junior Brooke Daddio being held out of the lineup with injuries. While Sheehan junior Lizzie Brown (20:39, course record) and sophomore Arianna Amodio (21:33) claimed the top-two spots, Cheshire used depth to still win the meet.
Sophomore Olivia Ferraro (21:34), freshman Alex Palladino (22:51), and senior Kristina Benga (22:52) claimed the third through fifth positions. Juniors Cate Bedard (23:24) and Liz Addesso (23:54) came in eighth and ninth place, respectively.
“Winning this race shows that we have a lot of good runners who work hard,” Ferraro said.
Ferraro felt that it was difficult not running with Georgescu, a fellow top runner on varsity.
“She is my best friend and we always push each other in practice and meets,” explained Ferraro.
Benga has enjoyed running with fellow seniors Nancy Che, Abby Dziura, Brianna Collins, Rachel Diglio, Sophia Gessman, Audrey Kiesling, Miranda Geyda, Juliana Mariani, and Juliana Petronio.
“Whether you are on varsity or JV (junior varsity), it is good to know we have girls who care about each other and want to get better,” stated Benga, a tri-captain with Kiesling and Petronio.
On Saturday, the Rams run in the Nonnewaug Invite starting at 9 a.m. On Oct. 7, Cheshire teams face Shelton (host) and Amity for Housatonic titles at 3:45 p.m.
CHS boys last won division crowns in 2001-02.
“It is very important to win that title,” said Pettit. “It is one of our big goals for the season.”