In September of 1980, Queen’s Rock Classic “Another Bits the Dust” was racing up Billboard's charts headed to number one. Well that same month thirty two years ago, the Stratton Brook Cross Country Invitational began, and this meet certainly hasn’t “bitten the dust”.
This past Saturday, Stratton Brook State Park again hosted the 32nd annual Cross Country Invitational with over 750 high school athletes competing from high schools as far away as New Milford and Pittsfield, Massachusetts. The invitational features cross country races in two categories - small high school and large high schools - with a varsity race and JV race for each category along with a combined (small and large schools) boys’ freshmen race and girls’ freshmen race.
Suffield High School's girls and boys teams completed in the small school categories in the varsity and JV races over the tough hilly 5km (3.1 mile) course that weaves thrugh Stratton Brook State Park.
The Wildcats girls team finished third in the small school varsity race. Led by Elizabeth Rigby 17th overall, Laura Sweeney 18th, Nina Begley 19th, Monique LaBarre 22nd, Hanna Gardocki 23rd, Katelyn Corr 30th and Kellan McGann 34th. Immaculate High and Thomaston High captured first and second place respectively.
The Wildcat boys came into the race as defending small high school champions of 2011. This year, in a very close race, with just 6 points separating first to third place, the Suffield boys finished third behind Hartford Capitol and Tolland High. The Wildcats were led by Patrick Begley finishing 6th overall, followed by Jimmy Clark 9th , Ben Gee 23rd, Justin Walch 24th, Matt Guilmette 42nd, and John Urbanski 43rd. There were 82 athletes in the race.
In two very exciting races, the Suffield Girls and Boys both won the JV small school races. The varsity athletes need to watch out as the JV runners may be right on their heels.
Suffield’s Lauren Izabel won the girl’s JV race, followed closely be Erin Reynolds 3rd overall, Erin Kost 4th, Meghan Shannon 8th, Megan Morton 9th, Shayla Mattesen 10th and Kristin Shank 14th. There were 75 racers in the girls JV race.
Shawn Andrade won the boys JV race, followed by Max Morris 3rd, Kyle Laviana 5th, Owen Gee 9th, Thomas Rigby 10th, Michael Allen 12th, and Zac Guilmette 14th. There were 80 runners in the boys race.
Suffield's girls and boys race again at home on Tuesday, Sept. 25 at 4 p.m. against Ellington High and Canton High. Please come on out to Bruce Park to cheer them on.
Again, a big "round of applause" to the organizers of the Stratton Brook Invitational; 32 years of providing high school athletes with a top notch race. Best wishes for 32 more years! Full results at: