By PHIL BRODSKY
Orange Live Sports Writer
When Fairfield Prep defeated the Amity boys cross country team 28-29 last week, it ended the Spartans’ 25 race winning streak. Prior to that loss, Amity’s previous defeat was to Cheshire in October, 2009.
Following the setback, Amity Coach Bob Orgovan said, “Prep has an excellent runner in Luis Alvarado. He’s one of the top three runners in the state but he sat out this race due to an injury. With Alvarado out of action, I thought we had a much better chance to win, but they still beat us by a point. That proves they were the better team this race. Their course was wet and slippery, but that was no excuse. Both teams ran on the same course under the same conditions.”
In Alvarado’s absence, the Jesuits were led by Andrew Thane, who completed his 2.9 mile home course in 15 minutes, 38 seconds. Shae Belenski was close behind with a second place 15:42. Orgovan was quick to admit that, in addition to Fairfield Prep winning the race, the big factor in the final outcome was the Jesuits also taking third and fourth place. Brian Dunleavy (5th—15:54), Anthony Barletta (6th—15:56), Andrew Barkin (7th—15:58), Michael Yuan (9th—16:06), Brian Mosher (10th—16:10), and Connor Dunleavy (11th—16:13) were Amity’s remaining top runners.
“We had hoped Shae would win the race, but he was four seconds off. Like I said before, it was a close race but the better team won” added Orgovan,”
On Saturday, Amity participated in the annual Wickham Invitational in Manchester. Running in the 15 team Championship Race, Orgovan’s boys came in fourth with 108 points. Darien won the 3.1 mile race, followed by New Milford (113), Xavier (116) and Amity. The individual race winner was Henry Wynne from Staples High of Westport. His winning time was 16:22.
“Wynne ran a damn fast race,” Orgovan said. “He may end up the Connecticut Champ.”
Amity’s top finishers were: Barletta (24th—17:44), Brian Dunleavy (25th—17:49), Yuan (26th—17:50), Connor Dunleavy (31st—17:52), and Mosher (41st—18:03).
Due to a minor leg problem, Orgovan chose to hold Belenski out of the race, in order to avoid any chance of worsening his injury and being forced to miss the upcoming conference and state meets.
It should be noted that third-ranked Danbury and fourth-ranked Fairfield Prep did not run at Wickham Park as they were running elsewhere on Saturday.
Amity went into the Fairfield Prep race, Amity had been ranked third in the state. Following the loss to the Jesuits, it is now expected that the Spartans will slip down one or two slots in the next poll. Orgovan felt that running without Belenski his team would slide to No. 6.
On Tuesday, Amity hosts Cheshire and Shelton in the annual race for the Housatonic Division championship in a 4 p.m. start at the Fitzgerald Trail in Woodbridge. All three teams go into that race without a Housy loss.
Below are photos from the Wickham Invitational in Manchester on Saturday and the meet against Prep. (Photos by Jacqueline Barletta)