Fall sports

Ending the regular season in impressive fashion, Greenwich boys cross country team primed for postseason meets

Photo by David Fierro: Greenwich’s Zach Jelinek finished first in the Cardinals’ race against Wilton, Danbury and St. Joseph on Tuesday, Oct. 12, at Greenwich Point in Greenwich.

The FCIAC Cross Country Championships is scheduled to take place Oct. 20 at Waveny Park in New Canaan and Greenwich’s boys team is certainly entering the much-anticipated meet with a significant boost of momentum.

Producing their best regular season in recent memory, the Cardinals enter the postseason with plenty of confidence and momentum, thanks to another impressive showing – this time on their Senior Day at Greenwich Point.

Behind senior tri-captain Zach Jelinek’s first-place finish, Greenwich went 2-1 on Wednesday, defeating Wilton and St. Joseph to end its regular season with a record of 12-3. Greenwich, which celebrated its Senior Day, was edged by Danbury, which also finished the regular season with a 12-3 mark.

“We’ve had one of the best seasons we’ve had in a while,” Greenwich coach Sean Astle said. “That’s all due to our senior captains, they’ve been real strong. It’s been a great ride for our team and they deserve it.”

Jelinek, continued his successful season, crossing the finish line first in Wednesday’s 3-mile run at Greenwich Point in 16:13.91. Michael Byrnes, a Wilton junior, was the runner-up (16:19.56), followed by sophomore Devon Rosemark of Danbury (16:20.43).

“This is my last race here ever, so it’s very bittersweet, but it’s so nice after four years,” Jelinek said. “I know all the turns, in fact, I raced exactly how I usually do.”

Jelinek is impressed with the results the team has registered in each meet this fall, as the athletes have displayed consistency, speed and stamina.

“This year we’ve had one of our best records,” Jelinek said. “We have a strong base, with our younger kids stepping up and our older guys are reaching PRs. One of our co-captains is having the best season of his life and it’s great to see us improving after COVID – and we keep on improving.”

“We have a sophomore and he is our second guy, he is great,” Jelinek continued. “So, I have a lot of hope for the future of the team.”

Photo by David Fierro: Greenwich’s runners begin their 3-milke race against Danbury, Wilton and St. Joseph.

The standout sophomore Jelinek referred to is Christian Zawislack. Zawislack finished fourth in Wednesday’s race, posting a time of 16:31.87. Dylan Scappaticci was fifth for Danbury, clocking in at 16:39.71. Greenwich’s next best finish came from senior tri-captain Quinn Collins, who placed eighth in 17:02.41.

“I had a decent race, I was behind two people the entire time and at the end I was able to pass them in the woods, which is nice, because my coach always says never lose at the end, so I did my best,” Collins said. I was able to beat two people on the hill.”

The meet also marked Collins’ final competitive race at Greenwich Point.

“Running here, over time I’ve enjoyed this course, I have so many memories running here,” Collins said. “This was a great win for Greenwich High School and we had a good race. Being captain during COVID is a little hard, but my main job is encouraging the team to run and do their best every single race.”

Quinn Collins is a senior captain on the Greenwich High School boys cross country team.

Robert Enslein, a senior tri-captain placed 11th overall with a time of 17:13.60.

“I’m proud of our team with how we performed today,” Enslein said. “We beat Wilton and St. Joe today, so we went 12-3, so I’m very proud to see us do that. For me, it’s been a bounce back season, because I was injured last season and maybe ran one race, so it’s nice to be back.”

Enslein was especially appreciative of Wednesday’s regular season finale at Greenwich Point.

“It was very surreal, just working four years for this and knowing this was the final home meet,” Enslein said. “It was nice seeing everyone run well. I’m proud of our team with how we performed today.”

Charles Noble, a junior, finished 19th for Greenwich in 18:31.38, while teammate Aubrey Niederhoffer, a sophomore, was 20th (18:48.47). Chase Nizielski (18:51.89, 22nd place), Dylan Jelliffe (19:43.33, 29th place), Peter Lane (19:51.89, 30th) and Yuta Hioki (19:53.43, 31st) were among some of the Cardinals’ other competitors at Wednesdays’ successful meet.

Robert Enslein is a senior captain of the Greenwich boys cross country team.

“All three captains, they really set the tone every day at practice and it translated into our meets,” Astle said. “Our seniors are the best. We want to honor them for putting in four years of hard work. They find pleasure in pushing themselves every day and and they’ve earned it.”

The season has been enjoyable, particularly for the seniors.

“This is our first season back from COVID for cross country and it’s so fun to be going to other places and racing in Invitationals, so it’s been great,” Jelinek said. “Next week is FCIACs and I’m very excited. We had two injuries, but we have great guys stepping up and I’m hoping to get a top-5 spot.”

Greenwich senior tri-captain ZJ Jelinek crossed the finish line first in Wednesday’s race at Greenwich Point.

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