Cross country: Brown, Duffy lead Stratford Red Devils

The Stratford High cross country team traveled to Brookfield High to take on the Pomperaug Panthers, Immaculate Mustangs and the host Bobcats on Wednesday.

For Stratford it would be their third race in ten days.

Runners were faced with the ever ascending steep hills of the famed Tulip Tree Forest, located directly on the campus. What looked like a thing of beauty to spectators was certainly a challenging 5K course for the field of 102 finishers.

The dominate forces of Pomperaug, Immaculate, and Brookfield took control midway through this one. The order of finish through the first 20 finishers still showed it was any team’s meet.

Ryan Duffy and Elijah Brown made strong starts for Stratford but were outnumbered as the race went along.

Pomperaug’s Robert Moore and Immaculate’s Ryan McNerney came down the home stretch stride for stride racing for the line. With the crowd and teammates urging each runner on, Moore had enough at the end finishing first at 16:52. McNerney was next at 16:54.

The next four spots came down to Pomperaug’s Zachery DiMeglio, Immaculate’s Patrick Cropsey, and Brookfield’s Jadon Parris and Stephen Finck.

Cropsey pushed through for third at 17:16, with DiMeglio, Parris and Finck not giving up at all for the fourth spot. In the end DiMeglio took it at 17:33.

This race’s seesaw battle saw Brookfield take spots five and six, with Parris at 17:34 and Finck at 17:35.

Brown was Stratford’s first finisher at 19:45. Duffy managed a 20:15 finish.

Stratford’s Paul Duncanson continues to impress with a 21:05 finish.

Wil Das cruised across the line at 21:35.

With less than a 300 meters to go, Stratford’s Rory Cooper for the second race in a row got involved with Immaculate’s Parker McKenzie as both darted for the line. Cooper overtook McKenzie and held on for a time of 21:55.

Other finishers for Stratford were Julian Pilla at 22:39, Tyler Heffern at 23:12, Tanner Mitchell at 23:47 and Kevin Gabriel at 26:32.

Final scores on the afternoon were Brookfield 15 Stratford 50, Immaculate 15 Stratford 50, Pomperaug 15 Stratford 50, Pomperaug 21 Brookfield 34, Pomperaug 25 Immaculate 30,  Immaculate 24 Brookfield 37.

Stratford’s Derek McKane was a last minute scratch due to injury. Juan Alvarez is out indefinitely with an injury.

Stratford will next compete at the South-West Conference championships at Bethel High School on Wednesday, Oct. 18.

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