NORTH STONINGTON — A pair of top five finishers helped the Wheeler boys’ cross country team earn a split Tuesday in its ECC Small Division meet against Windham and Griswold.
Wheeler beat out Windham 21-38, but lost to Griswold 23-36.
Griswold (3-2, 3-0 ECC-Small) swept the meet.
Troy Stefanski was Wheeler’s top finisher and placed third with a time of 18 minutes, 35 seconds on the 3.1-mile course.
“Troy ran a really strong race and had his best time on this course,” Wheeler coach Marc Tardiff said.
Wheeler’s home course was slightly altered for 2013 but Tardiff said that the overall difficulty of the course is the same.
Max Reck (18:45) placed fourth and came in just 10 seconds behind Stefanski.
Billy Grigg was ninth with a 20:08.
Henry Smith (13th, 20:22) and Anton Smith (15th, 21:10) were the Lions’ other two scorers.
Windham’s Jesus Osova won the race with a time of 18 minutes, but the Whippets fell to 1-4 overall and 1-2 in the ECC-Small with a pair of losses.
Next up for Wheeler (3-2, 1-2 ECC-Small) is a meet against Stonington and at Ledyard Tuesday at 4:30 p.m.
GIRLS’ CROSS COUNTRY
Lions break even
NORTH STONINGTON — Wheeler earned its second ECC Small Division win of the season during Tuesday’s three-team league meet.
The Lions defeated Windham 15-50 and lost to Griswold 19-42.
Windham only had four runners, one shy of the minimum to get a team score, so technically forfeited to Wheeler and Griswold.
But Wheeler placed first, second and third against Windham and therefore would have won even if the Whippets had had a fifth girl.
Kelsey Melinosky was Wheeler’s top runner. She completed the 3.1-mile course in 22 minutes, 27 seconds. The time is the junior’s best on her home course by 20 seconds.
The Wheeler course was tweaked slightly this year, in part, coach Diane Kodama said, to make it less confusing.
As a result, Griswold senior Alyssa Brehler established a new record of 19:31. Brehler would have broken the course record even if it had not changed, since the old record was 20:09 set by Kerri Ruffo, of Plainfield, last season in her senior season.
Brehler won handily. The second-place finisher was Meagan Perez, of Griswold, who ran 20:47.
Wheeler’s second finisher was sophomore Lea Janz. She finished sixth overall in 24:06.
Freshman Lizzy O’Gara (10th, 25:28), sophomore Kalee Lewis (12th, 26:31) and Ziwei Zheng (18th, 31:39) rounded out the Wheeler top five. The Lions (2-2, 2-1 ECC-Small) only had five runners.
Griswold, which won the ECC-Small and the Open titles last season, is now 5-0 overall and 3-0 in the league. Windham is 0-5, 0-3.
Wheeler’s next meet is Tuesday at Ledyard. Stonington also will be running in the 4:30 p.m. meet.
WILLIMANTIC, Conn. — Windham scored the first two goals of Tuesday’s ECC Small Division opener for both teams.
Wheeler (0-3, 0-1 ECC-Small) pulled within 2-1 with 9 minutes, 35 seconds left in the first half on an unassisted goal by T.J. Condon.
“He went one way and the defender went the other way. The goalie shifted to try to cut down the angle and T.J. put the ball in the opposite corner,” Wheeler coach Joe Mendonca.
Condon, who shot the ball low, had several other scoring chances.
Windham (2-0, 1-0 ECC-Small) made it 3-1 with about 19 minutes left in the game.
The Lions played well in the first half, but did not perform well in the final 40 minutes.
“I am disappointed with the way we played,” Mendonca said. “We played great against Stonington (Saturday). We have not been consistent.”
Wheeler’s inexperience is showing, Mendonca said.
The Lions are also struggling to clear the ball and that was a big factor in the Whippets’ first two goals.
Windham had 14 shots and six corner kicks. Wheeler had 12 shots and four corners.
Andrew Swift made five saves in net for the Lions.
Wheeler’s next game is Friday at Montville at 6:30 p.m.