Today marked Senior Day for the Greenwich High School girls cross country team and what better way was there to celebrate the special occasion than winning a division title?
That’s exactly what the Cardinals did today at their home course – scenic, spacious, Greenwich Point – as they swept their meet against Danbury, Wilton and St. Joseph to clinch the FCIAC West Division regular season championship.
With its runners tightly packed and finishing third to seventh, Greenwich finished with a team score of 25 points, placing ahead of Wilton (45), Danbury (75) and St. Joseph (109) at sunny Greenwich Point.
Stephanie Busani, Kaitlyn Lisjak and Amelie Daplyn are Greenwich’s senior captains, who along with the squad’s group of seniors, have provided leadership throughout the season. The four-team meet was the seniors final appearance at Greenwich Point.
“It was a little bit sad,” Busani said. “As I was coming up the hill, I was like, this is the last time I’m going up this crazy hill. It was a little bit nostalgic thinking back on the years, but it was nice.”
Said Lisjak: “It was a little bittersweet, because it was the last time I’ll run the course as a Greenwich cross country runner. It’s filled with memories, but all the memories have been good ones. It’s a hilly course, it’s a tough one, but it’s one that we embrace, we love it.”
Danbury senior Stephanie Quieroz won today’s 3-mile race at Greenwich Point, registering a time of 18:20.52. Emily Mrakovcic from Wilton was the runner-up (19:21.19) and Greenwich sophomore Esme Daplyn finished third with a time of 20:12.66. Daplyn has been one of the Cards’ top competitors throughout the season.
“My legs cramped up about halfway through,” Daplyn said. “There was really great competition from Stephanie from Danbury, they are really great girls. I think I took it out a little fast, but I’m glad I finished and our whole team did really well. We all wanted to come together and do well on Senior Day.”
By posting a 3-0 record on the day, the Cardinals finished with a regular season record of 13-2 to clinch the FCIAC West Division regular season title.
“We’ve had a really good season,” Esme Daplyn said. “I think coming from last year when all the meets were very different and all the meets were dual meets, we’ve all taken advantage of these bigger meets and being able to spend time together as a whole team. Having practices together every day after school. It’s a testament to the captains this year of how they have joined this team together, after a difficult past year.”
“Our girls have been running well all season and it’s nice to see that when meet day comes they are able to step up and perform,” Greenwich coach Evan Dubin said. “The girls have been running well. They put a lot of hard work in over the summer and they came in prepared to do well. Hopefully we’ll continue our success in the postseason.”
Anna Weiksner, a senior, finished fourth in the race for Greenwich, crossing the finish line in 20:13.72. Cardinals teammates Chloe Eberwein, a sophomore (20.14.94), Lisjak (20:21.08) and sophomore Lillian Shropshire (20:26.41) placed fourth to seventh, respectively, for Greenwich.
“We ran in a really tight pack today, it was super exciting and very encouraging and see everyone do so well,” Lisjak said.
Cardinals senior Abigail Sullivan was ninth in 20:41.26, while teammate Ava Eberwein, a sophomore, finished 11th (20:57.18). Junior An Suzuki placed 15th (21:02.91) and Victoria Liu, also a junior, was 16th (21:09.76).
Sophomore Katy Wouters posted at time of 21:29.06 (17th place) and junior Kelsey Roth clocked in at 22:08.24 (23rd place) for Greenwich, which has performed well in each meet this fall.
“I definitely think it’s been a little tough to bounce back from last year, because everything was a little bit crazy with COVID, but to have real races with multiple teams have been really good,” Busani said. “The team has been really strong and they have pushed themselves and given it their all and I’m really proud of everyone.”
Indeed, the captains have embraced their significant roles this year as seniors.
“It’s been a lot of fun, it has been nice to share my running knowledge with the other girls and this is a real inviting team so it’s great,” Busani said.
Lisjak is in her fourth season on the team, which she has looked forward to competing on each season.
“It’s kind of weird being a senior knowing I’m not going to be here next year, because we see so many seniors and so many runners come and go as a team,” Lisjak said. “Every year we have become stronger and stronger and closer and closer as a team.”
“Senior year has been great, we love all the girls and it’s a really fun way to end my running career as a high schooler,” Lisjak continued. “Everyone on the team is so fun, we enjoy getting together to run after school and on weekends. It’s a really fun community of runners.”
Greenwich’s next challenge is a big one, as it will compete in the FCIAC Cross Country Championships on Oct. 20 at Waveny Park in New Canaan. The Cardinals are one of numerous teams that will by vying for the team title.
“I’m really excited with the girls that we have, I know we are going to give it our best effort,” Esme Daplyn said. “We’re all really excited and we are going to spend this week getting our mindsets ready and getting everyone together.”
“Next week, we’re looking to continue our momentum and have all our hard work during the season and the summer pay off,” Lisjak added.