THOMASTON - After spending a good portion of the summer in charge of the Heery Summer Series, race director Mark Olsen was able to keep a sharp eye on many of the runners. Pleased with what he saw, Olsen is now poised to watch the hard work of those runners in his fall position as head coach of the Thomaston High School cross country team, which opened the 2019 season with a tri-meet at Housatonic Regional against the hosting Mountaineers and Wamogo.
“We have reason to be very optimistic about the 2019 season,” said Olsen. “ The teams are small in numbers but big in talent.”
Leading the charge for the Golden Bears will be junior Maegan Desmarais, who was the class of the Berkshire League as a sophomore, winning the league championship race by an eye-popping 11-second margin as THS finished third as a team.
Running with confidence, Desmarais set the pace for Bears as they finished a strong sixth at the CIAC’s Class ‘S’ meet in late October.
Joining Desmarais in those post-season chases were Briana Grecco, a senior who was sixth in the league meet and followed with a top 20 finish as the CIAC race, and junior Kiersten Sundell, who crossed the line 10th at the league race and in the top 25 in the state meet.
Bolstering the returning depth are juniors Emily Andrade, coming off an outstanding junior varsity season, and Rachel Foell, who ran strong in the league meet last season.
Olsen is also eager to see incoming freshmen Kiera Fainer and Payton Mozelak, both of whom ran well at the Heery Series.
Also new to the team is senior transfer Cedreya Lanier.
The Bears are one of the league favorites along with Nonnewaug which also brings back most of their team from last year’s squad, which finished right behind the Bears.
At the league scrimmage, held last week, the girls dominated.
The scrimmage is just an elaborate practice but if the girls can stay healthy, they look to have a very good year.
“Currently, there are only eight members on the team,” said Olsen. “ “It may very well be enough.”
After a fourth place finish at the Berkshire League meet at a 13th place at the Class ‘S’ meet, the Golden Bear boys bring back three runners with B.L. and CIAC meet experience as well as two of their top junior varsity performers from last fall and a pair of promising newcomers to the ranks.
The state meet veterans are senior Jake Field and juniors Joseph Buchanan and Keegan Daigle; all also finished among the top 35 runners in the crowded league meet field.
After leading the Bears’ junior varsity team last fall, taking their talents to the varsity are seniors Pat Chesanek and Preston Ross; they are joined by fellow senior Tyler Bond.
Freshmen Connor Foss and Kian Reyes will look to impress Olsen as they run jay vee and maybe take the next step up.
The boys also field a team of eight; Olsen believes they will also be competitive in the league.
“Early on I would make Terryville and Northwestern the favorites in the league,” said Olsen. “After the top two, there are many candidates for third of which we are one.”