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Fairfield Prep Runners Aim for State Open Crown

FAIRFIELD, Conn. – Fairfield Prep has won one State Open cross country championship in its history. The Jesuits have a chance Tuesday to add a second one, but it’s not going to be easy.

Prep, which won the State Open in 1997, captured the Class LL crown Oct. 30 at Wickham Park. That victory makes them a favorite for Tuesday’s race at Hammonasset Beach State Park in Madison. Several Fairfield County teams, including Darien and Danbury, will be among Prep’s most difficult challengers.

“We have a shot,’’ Prep coach Bob Ford said. “We have to go out and improve upon what we did last week.”

Senior Connor Rog won the Class LL title by 20 seconds over Newtown’s Jake Feinstein. Rog won in 15:50 on the 5k course, followed by Feinstein in 16:10 and Staples’ Henry Wynne in 16:13. One of Rog’s top challengers is expected to be Fairfield Warde’s Harry Warnick, whose time in winning the Class L title was 15 seconds behind Rog.

Prep placed four runners in the top 13 at the LL meet, with Christian Alvarado (fifth), Patrick Corona (11th) and Michael Whelen (13th). Scott Ball was Prep’s fifth runner, in 51st place.

“What helped us is we had four kids in front of the No. 1 runner from other schools,’’ Ford said. “That’s solid. Michael ran a great race. He doesn’t get nearly enough credit. They have high expectations, and they’re very high achievers. They are very self-motivated.”

Fairfield Warde will compete in the girls race, which will also include Fairfield Ludlowe's Heather Moriarty.

The boys race begins at 1:45 p.m., with the girls at 2:30. The race was switched to Hammonasset after the October snowstorm. Damage at Wickham made the course unavailable for the race, which had been scheduled for Nov. 4.

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