Boys' Cross Country - Varsity
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On a hot and humid day, the boy’s varsity XC program traveled to New Milford to compete in the Canterbury Invitational. The heat and the course itself, a difficult one with a half-mile hill at the beginning of the second mile, made times obsolete, as the boys went out to compete and get a race under their belt with a handful of runners new to the varsity program. The captains, Ben Roberts and Calvin Palmer, led the way for Taft, coming in finishing first and second for the team. Roberts battled with a talented and well-trained front pack and ending up in seventh place overall with a time of 17:08, earning himself an individual top finisher trophy that was given to all the top 10 competitors in each division of the race. Palmer, who finished 21st overall, ended up taking seven seconds off his course time from last year, despite the heat. Newcomer Isaac Lennon had a great debut, finishing third for Big Red, 38th overall, edging out Barrett Wong by two seconds. Barrett, a senior in his second year running varsity, looks poised to have a breakthrough year, as he shred over 90 seconds from his course time from last year. Both runners look poised to have big individual seasons and stand to make huge contributions to the overall success of the program. Also scoring for Taft was Philip Huang. Philip, who was brought up to the varsity team midseason last year, is looking to pick up where he left off, as the senior is geared up to finish his Taft XC career with some personal records. Despite the difficulty of the course and the unfavorable running conditions, Philip finished 45 seconds faster than he did in his debut last year, setting himself up for a strong season. Marcus Valenta was the final Taft finisher, coming off an shin splint injury and wanting to get his varsity career underway. Although he didn’t score for the team, he showed grit and determination, making a statement to his teammates and competitors on his physical and mental toughness. As Marcus continues to recover from his injury, he will continue to be an increasing contributor to the team. As a team, Taft boys’ finished 6 of 10 teams with an average time of 18:56.