H-K Boys Claim 7th-Straight Shoreline Title, Girls Earn Runner-up Honors
The Haddam-Killingworth cross country program enjoyed another outstanding performance when the Cougars ran at the Shoreline Conference Championships. The boys’ team finished first at Shorelines for the seventh-straight year with the girls’ team recording a second-place performance. (Photo courtesy of Matt Diglio )
The Haddam-Killingworth cross country program continued its tradition of excellence when the Cougars competed at the Shoreline Conference Championships on Nov. 6. The H-K boys’ team claimed its seventh-straight conference crown by taking first place at the meet, while the girls’ squad earned runner-up honors by turning in a solid second-place performance at Totoket Park in North Branford.
The H-K boys scored 52 points to place ahead of East Hampton and Cromwell, which both tallied 67 points, on its way to defending its Shoreline title. Senior captain Matt Jennings ran a time of 16 minutes and 17 seconds to take first place in the league race for the second year in a row. Jennings was 25 seconds ahead of the second-place finisher on his way to topping a field that featured 82 runners.
“Our team has been putting in a ton of work since the beginning of June with this goal in mind. So, we are all really excited that we accomplished what we set out to do, especially with all the obstacles that this year has thrown at us,” Jennings said. “Working through challenges as a team has made us stronger than ever, and we enjoyed being able to carry that strength into continuing our Shoreline winning streak for the seventh year in a row.”
Junior Caleb Freeman finished in fifth place overall for the race by posting a time of 17:25. Junior Greyson Merola took 11th place (17:43), sophomore Jack Insalaco finished 13th (17:55), and junior Andrew Hedges came in 22nd place (18:20) to round out the scoring for the H-K boys.
On the girls’ side of Shorelines, H-K scored 36 points to come in second place as a squad, only finishing behind East Hampton, which won the title with 30 points scored. Sophomore Isabel Berardino finished second overall by hitting the finish line with a time of 21:28 for the Cougars. Junior Ava DiMatteo finished in eighth place (22:15), senior Kathy Melgar took 11th place (22:49), junior Brianna Minervino came in 12th place (22:55), and freshman Sydney Adelberg placed 14th (23:17) for H-K.
Matt Diglio, who coaches H-K’s boys’ and girls’ teams, was pleased with how the Cougars performed at a Shoreline meet that was contested differently than in previous years. Teams competed on both Nov. 5 and 6 and Totoket Park, after which those performances were merged together to formulate the standings for the championships. H-K ran with Cromwell and North Branford when it competed in the meet.
“That was one of the more interesting aspects of this tournament,” said Diglio. “It worked out nicely for the boys, because Cromwell is a really competitive team, and they pushed our runners to work hard, but it’s difficult all-around, because you’re only racing against a limited amount of runners. At that point, you are basically just racing against the clock, and it’s tough.”
As tough as it was, Coach Diglio feels pleased that both of his teams have preserved through the challenges of an unusual fall season.
“It was a long process to get us to this meet. Overall, I’m really proud of how both teams did,” said Diglio. “The girls had to deal with a good amount of injuries, and they stepped up when they really needed to. Just having the meet and the race was a great thing for the kids. It was a bonus for us to be able to compete.”
In addition to the point-scorers, the H-K boys’ team saw several other runners compete at the Shoreline Championship. The Cougars’ pack also included junior Tyler Robinson (23rd, 18:35), senior Max Cozean (24th, 18:48), junior Evan Baird (27th, 19:02), sophomore Joe Giaccone (31st, 19:17), and senior Julian Spector (32nd, 19:20).
The girls’ team was also represented by junior Charlotte Selmer (19th, 23:56), senior Gabby Flaherty (21st, 23:58), junior Kylie Studzinski (24th, 24:13), and junior Ava Tassmer (46th, 25:50) at the meet.