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The Darien High girls cross country team placed fifth with 143 points, just one point behind fourth-place conference foe Wilton, in the Class L championship race held Friday at Wickham Park in East Hartford.

“Our fifth place was a marked improvement from last year's 12th place,” said coach Steve Norris. “Our average time improvement was 70 seconds. Five of our seven runners were new to state meet competition.”

Mairead Clas continued her stellar freshman campaign, earning All-State laurels by placing fifth overall at 19:43, a mere one second behind New Milford senior runner Kathleen Delaney. Freshman Claire Daniels, also of New Milford, which placed three of the top five runners, won the race in 18:56.

“(Clas) posted the second best freshmen time of the day over all six size divisions.,” said Norris, adding that the freshman will run in the state open championship on Friday, Nov 2, at Wickham Park.

Senior Penn Boucher finished 16th overall at 20:53, Bella Swan was 29th at 21:27, senior Sophie Hill was 39th at 21:52, junior Noelle Kennedy was 54th at 22:37, freshman Julianne Teitler was 59th at 22:48, and senior Amalia Madariaga was 69th at 23:14.

Norris said that Boucher ran 2 minutes faster than last year, just missing advancing to the State Open meet.

“Swan ran her best race of the season,” said Norris, “and Hill improved her time by 18 seconds from last year.”

While edged by Wilton, Darien did top fellow conference rival New Canaan, which placed seventh at 159 points. E.O. Smith won the event at 76 points, followed by Guilford (80), New Milford (83) and Wilton.

Darien actually placed fourth when ranked by time. The Wave’s team time was 1:46.32, edging out Wilton by less than a second.