DARIEN, Conn. The Danbury High School boys cross country team has been the gold standard for many years in the Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference. But Darien showed Tuesday it might be on the verge of changing that.
The Blue Wave beat the Hatters for the first time since 2004 with a resounding 20-41 victory at Staples High School. Led by senior Charlie Baird, Darien placed five runners across the finish line before Danbury's second runner. Darien's top five runners were bunched within 23 seconds.
"Danbury's a great team with a great program,'' Baird said. "When you beat them, you know you've done something right."
Staples' Henry Wynne won the 3.1-mile race in 16:12, followed by Danbury's Nick Carlsen in 16:18. Baird came in third in 16:33, followed by Michael Johnston in 16:34, Alex Ostberg in 16:36, Michael Coe in 16:50 and Marshall Kuffman in 16:56.
At the midpoint, the race between Danbury and Darien seemed tight. The Hatters, who have won six straight conference championships, are known for their ability to dominate the second half of a race. This time, Darien dominated in the final half of the race. Darien dismantled Danbury at its own game.
"That's what we talked about before the race,'' Darien coach Tyson Kaczmarek said. "You can't win a race in the first half. You have to be patient. We weren't the favorite, so we had nothing to lose."
The victory over Danbury was only the second in Kaczmarek's nine years as the team's coach. Darien has lost just one dual meet over the past four years, and each time it was to Danbury.
Tuesday, the Blue Wave also took care of Staples, 20-41, and Norwalk, 15-48. And although the race was won Tuesday, the training that allowed the Blue Wave to achieve it took place in the searing summer heat in July and August. It was worth it for Baird and the rest of the senior class at Darien who had never beaten the Hatters.
"I was doing that training with races like this in mind,'' Baird said. "I was thinking about it all the time. We came out today and did every thing right."
Contact Tom Renner at firstname.lastname@example.org .
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