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HKHS Cross Country Boys & Girls Win State Championship!

By Matt Diglio, Coach

On Monday, Nov. 1, 2021, the Haddam Killingworth High School Boys and Girls Cross Country teams traveled to Wickham Park in Manchester to compete in the Class SS State Championship meet.
Coming off their victory at the Shoreline Championship the previous week, the boys entered the meet as the favorite but knowing they would face some tough competition running against Griswold and East Hampton.  On a very muddy and challenging course, the boys had an outstanding day and came away with the team victory as they scored 52 points to easy outdistance runner up East Hampton who finished with 87 points.  This is the 11th overall state title overall for the boys cross country team and their 5th in the past 7 seasons.  Leading the way for the Cougars was senior tri-captain Caleb Freeman who won the individual title to be state champion and earn All State honors for the 2nd consecutive season.  Freeman crossed the line in a time of 17:03 to come away with the 17 second win over the second place finisher.  Following him across the line was junior Alex Lara who finished 9th overall in time of 18:06 and senior Andrew Hedges who placed 11th in a time of 18:12- both boys also earn All State accolades by virtue of their top 12 finish.  Rounding out the scoring for H-K were a pair of freshman, Jack Cozean and Colton Merola, who placed 16th and 19th overall in the race to lock up the team victory.  Seniors Evan Baird 19:03 (27th) and Tyler Robinson 19:10 (28th) also contributed to the team title.
Not to be outdone, the H-K girls cross country team also coming off a Shoreline title last week entered the Class SS meet as the favorite team but knew it would be a battle with a tough East Hampton squad.  The girls ran a tremendous race in challenging conditions to secure the team title as they scored 50 points- 11 points ahead of rival East Hampton who finished in 2nd place with 61 points.  This is the 2nd consecutive state title for the girls team, their 4th championship in the past 6 years and their 5th overall in program history.  This is also the 3rd time in team history that both the boys and girls teams won a state title in the same year, joining the 2015 and 2017 teams in accomplishing this challenging feat as they were the only boys and girls program in the entire state to accomplish that feat this year.  Leading the way, as she has all season long, was junior Isabel Berardino who placed 4th overall in the race in a time of 21:18 to earn All State honors for the 2nd consecutive year.  Closely following on her feels were senior co-captains Brianna Minervino who placed 6th (21:31) and Ava DiMatteo 8th (21:46)- both girls also earned All State honors based on their performances.  Also running outstanding races and contributing to the team victory was sophomore Sydney Adelberg 16th (22:31) and junior Chloe Lacoss who in her first ever cross country season continued to impress as she placed 18th (22:53) to secure the team win.  Freshman Keira Sehl-Albert 29th and senior Charlotte Selmer 44th also raced well to help the team come away with the state title.
By virtue of their performance at the state championship, both teams qualified for the State Open Championship meet which is being held on Friday, November 5, 2021 at Wickham Park.
*The boys and girls cross country team would also like to thank the Haddam Fire Department who volunteered their time to provide a fire truck escort to the team buses on their trip back from the meet through the center of town and into the school parking lot.  Attached is a picture of the winning teams on the fire truck.
 Photos courtesy of Yvette & John Minervino.

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