Darien's Ostberg sets record at FCIAC boys cross country meet
If there was a question whether the FCIAC was the dominant conference in Connecticut state boys cross country, wonder no longer.
Darien senior Alex Ostberg ran a record-setting race and Danbury High edged Staples 58-59 for the team title Monday at the FCIAC boys cross country championship at Waveny Park in New Canaan.
"Today certainly showed that the FCIAC is the alpha male conference in the world of Connecticut state boys cross country," said Danbury veteran coach Rob Murray.
Ostberg -- who is nationally ranked -- won his first FCIAC individual title over the 3.1 mile-Waveny layout in a course-record time of 14:46.
Ostberg shattered the course-record by 28 seconds (Ridgefield's Trevor Hopper, 15:15, 2013). Hopper had broken the 2012 record set by Staples phenom Henry Wynne. Both Hopper and Wynne currently run at the University of Virginia.
"It was an ideal day to run. I just controlled what I did," Ostberg said. "The plan was to go out at a 4:40 pace. And it worked out very well. Winning my first FCIAC cross country title means a lot to me. Especially when you consider how many standouts and how deep the competition has been year after year. I ran 15:18 last year and I'm in much better shape this year."
"Alex is an All-American," fourth-place finisher Ridgefield junior Gabriel Altopp said. "So you expect a performance like this from him."
"Alex Ostberg is arguably the No. 1 boys cross country runner in the country," Danbury's Murray said. "He broke 12:00 in his recent race in Manhattan. Alex is a great role model. It was a remarkable performance."
"I knew Alex would do what he did. I just concerned myself with the rest of the field," runnerup Brown said. "I went out with the second pack. And I just used my miler speed to finish hard at the end. I still have the state meets, the New Englands and the Foot Locker Nationals to go on my calendar."
The team title came down to a single point as Danbury nipped Staples. Ridgefield (87) was a distant third followed by Darien (104), Fairfield Warde (134) and Trumbull (194).
For Danbury, it was a welcome return to glory. The Hatters won 12 of 14 FCIAC boys cross country titles between 1999 and 2013. Staples won in 2004 and Ridgefield won in 2013.
"We understood coming in how close the team race would be. We really kept our pack together (7th, 8th, 13th, 14th, 16th). That's what won it for us," Murray said. "Cross country team titles are as much about the fifth guy and the No. 1 guy. We executed our plan. Every title we win has meaning. This crown is satisfying and gratifying due to the most competitive nature of the FCIAC this season."
"I thought it would come down to a two or three-point margin. Our group (5th, 10th, 12, 15, 17) was just too far behind early," Lawrence said. "It just shows you that on any given day in the FCIAC any of the top four teams (Danbury, Staples, Ridgefield, Darien) can finish in any order. We still get three more shots at Danbury by the New England race."
FCIAC Boys Cross Country Championship
At Waveny Park, New Canaan, 3.1 miles.
TEAM SCORES: 1, Danbury 58 points; 2, Staples 59; 3, Ridgefield 87; 4, Darien 104; 5, Warde 134; 6, Trumbull 194; 7, New Canaan 209; 8, Ludlowe 216; 9, St. Joseph 232; 10, Wilton 267; 11, Greenwich 276; 12, Norwalk 375; 13, Westhill 382; 14, Stamford 431; 15, Harding 466; 16, Central 511; 17, Bassick 533; 18, Trinity Catholic 573. (McMahon ran as incomplete team).
Top 21 Individuals: 1, Alex Ostberg (Darien) 14:47 (course record, old mark 15:15); 2, Spencer Brown (Wilton) 15:34; 3, Armstrong Noonan (Darien) 15:35; 4, Gabriel Altopp (Ridgefield) 15:42; Eric Van der Els (McMahon, no team points) 15:43; 5, Oliver Hickson (Staples) 15:45; 6, Kristian Sogaard (Ridgefield) 15:57; 7, Eric Waterman (Danbury) 16:02; 8, Ryan Assel (Danbury) 16:06; 9, Will Brigman (Warde) 16:09; 10, Jake Berman (Staples) 16:10; 11, James Mas (St. Joseph) 16:10; 12, James Lewis (Staples) 16:16; 13, Ryan Fox (Danbury) 16:17; 14, Corey Mullins (Danbury) 16:18; 15, Brandon Harrington (Staples) 16:19; 16, Jack Adamski (Danbury) 16:22; 17, Ben Foster (Staples) 16:31; 18, Ian Mickool (Ridgefield) 16:34; 19, Alex Ellsworth (New Canaan) 16:35; 20, Nicholas Grew (Trumbull) 16:36; Ajax Diamandis (McMahon) 16:38; 21, Andrew Kates (Greenwich) 16:38.