FAIRFIELD, Conn. – Fairfield Warde’s Cate Allen is a fast learner. She’s pretty swift with her feet, too.
The junior runner, competing in her first year of cross country, captured the Class L championship Saturday at Wickham Park in Manchester. Allen, who won the Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference championship, finished in 19:36 on the 5-kilometer (3.1-mile) course.
The Mustangs finished fourth as a team, while Warde’s boys took second. Aidan Fiol took second overall in 16:54 for Warde.
Allen, a former soccer standout, battled with Kaleigh Roberts of Mercy for most of the race, according to coach Tim Foster. Allen pulled ahead with about 300 meters remaining and won by eight seconds.
“I wasn’t so surprised that she won, but impressed,’’ Foster said. “When you’re going up against such talent on a tough course for the first time, it’s impressive to win the first time out.”
Foster believes Allen can come back on Friday and run well in the State Open. She had the seventh fastest time on the day among the six class championships.
“She’s been working hard all season,’’ Foster said. “She can handle this level of racing.”
Caroline Keough finished 14th for Warde. The other scorers included Hannah Dougherty (23rd), Kelly Powlishen (29th) and Roey Mappa (39th).
The boys team finished with 93 points, just six behind meet winner Darien. E.O. Smith took second with 89.
Nick Gans (eighth), Connor O’Day (18th), Henry Minot (30th) and Kyle Byrne (35th) were the other Fairfield scorers.
Foster is hopeful that both teams will qualify for the State Open. He has never had both of his teams qualify for the Open in the same year in his six years as coach.
“Hopefully we’ll get both teams to qualify,’’ Foster said. “We had a great day.”