Hall High Runs the World

Hall+Boys+Cross+Country+after+getting+2nd+place+at+State+Opens.+Josh+Fernandes%2C+the+5th+man%2C+was+the+hero+of+the+race.+Hall%27s+coach+Jeff+Billing+commented+that+%22despite+not+having+run+a+good+race+all+season%2C+he+%28Josh+Fernandes%29+gave+the+team+everything+he+had+today%2C+and+with+his+performance+vaulted+us+from+4th+place+%28which+Hall+has+finished+multiple+times%29%2C+to+2nd+place+-+the+best+finish+in+school+history+and+our+first+trip+to+the+%27stage%27+at+the+awards+ceremony.%22
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Hall High Runs the World

Hall Boys Cross Country after getting 2nd place at State Opens. Josh Fernandes, the 5th man, was the hero of the race. Hall's coach Jeff Billing commented that

Hall Boys Cross Country after getting 2nd place at State Opens. Josh Fernandes, the 5th man, was the hero of the race. Hall's coach Jeff Billing commented that "despite not having run a good race all season, he (Josh Fernandes) gave the team everything he had today, and with his performance vaulted us from 4th place (which Hall has finished multiple times), to 2nd place - the best finish in school history and our first trip to the 'stage' at the awards ceremony."

Hall Boys Cross Country after getting 2nd place at State Opens. Josh Fernandes, the 5th man, was the hero of the race. Hall's coach Jeff Billing commented that "despite not having run a good race all season, he (Josh Fernandes) gave the team everything he had today, and with his performance vaulted us from 4th place (which Hall has finished multiple times), to 2nd place - the best finish in school history and our first trip to the 'stage' at the awards ceremony."

Hall Boys Cross Country after getting 2nd place at State Opens. Josh Fernandes, the 5th man, was the hero of the race. Hall's coach Jeff Billing commented that "despite not having run a good race all season, he (Josh Fernandes) gave the team everything he had today, and with his performance vaulted us from 4th place (which Hall has finished multiple times), to 2nd place - the best finish in school history and our first trip to the 'stage' at the awards ceremony."

Joshua Fernandes, Sophia Bolio, and Mitchell Palczewski

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Hall athletes putting in extra work after practice

Why do you run? Senior captain Frankie Lynch’s reasoning has changed a lot over the years and her times have reflected this. “Originally, I wanted to get in shape for field hockey and lacrosse, sports I was planning to play my whole life. However, I got into the season and ran every day after school, and it became the best part of my day. I love the mental feeling of exhaustion, the community, and I love the feeling of beating my dad,” Lynch said. She feels this motivation to run is common among runners and has driven Hall’s running teams to great success over the past two years.  

                                        Boys Cross Country

Both the boys and girls were strong competitors this past cross-country season. The boys’ team, having been heralded as the best team in Hall running history, ran harder than ever, losing just one dual meet during the regular season. At the Central Connecticut Conference Championship, the varsity team won their division and came in second overall. In the following 3 weeks, they followed up that runner-up performance with two more second place finishes at the Class LL and State Open Championships, before heading up to Manchester, New Hampshire, to compete in the New England Championships, where they placed fourth overall.

They had several individual wins at these championship meets, as Miller Anderson and Trey Cormier, two highly touted senior prospects, won both the Class LL and New England Championship races respectively. “It was honestly unbelievable,” said Cormier, who was injured in August. “I was hoping to be in form for the state meets. As I raced more and more, I got better. My summer [training] base was still there. I just needed to do some different kinds of races, get my confidence back.” Looking forward, these two will play a huge role in Hall’s challenge to win a third straight indoor state title.

                                         Girls Cross Country

The girls’ team came into the season with a lot of expectations, as they were coming off a surprising second place finish in Class L in outdoor and returned four of their top five varsity runners. Their season started off on a hot streak, beating several teams ranked ahead of them and jumping up to the number one ranked girls team in the state, but their team got bit by the injury bug and could never recover enough to compete for the state championship. Despite the injuries they faced, however, they still placed a remarkable sixth in Class LL and tenth at State Opens.

Jenna Zydanowicz fought her way to an outstanding fifth place finish at State Opens, qualifying for the New England Championships. Jenna, a junior, won Hartford Courant Runner of the Year for girls cross country for the second year in a row and is considered by many to be the missing piece the team needed to contend. “In junior year, Jenna joined and we came together and the puzzle started to fit… we finally made the [State] Open,” said senior captain Frankie Lynch.

                                  Indoor Track

The indoor season is shaping up to be another good one for Hall, as there is now a record 203 (and counting) kids signed up to try and lead the team to its third straight boys state title and its first girls title. This season will be a bit more challenging the last however, with the teams moving from Class L to Class LL. “The level of competition is definitely going to be going up. The toughest team to beat is obviously Danbury,” said senior captain Jason Farrell.

Lynch agreed with his sentiments, claiming that “This year we’re [Class] LL, which is going to be a hard fight against Glastonbury and some other really great teams. We’re going to have to train even harder.”

The move up to Class LL was a bit of a surprise for a boys’ team that dominated Class L last year and a girls team that got a surprising fourth last year. Luckily, both teams bring back key pieces from their state teams last year, as the boys return an impressive distance core and the girls return two Class L champions in Olivia Bowes (long jump) and Taryn Smith (high jump). If these athletes are able to perform to their potential, Hall could be on the podium again this year despite the increase in competition.

                       Looking Towards The Future

Moving past the big guns of the team, consisting of mostly seniors, the underclassmen could be a surprise to many this year and prove that the future is bright for the program. The freshman boys’ cross country team went undefeated within the state of Connecticut this year, and the girls won the freshman Wickham Invite as well, and both are looking to continue their success on the track. Sam Aronow, one of the top freshman boys, said “I like the team, the culture, and practice in general. I don’t know much about the indoor track team, but I’m definitely trying to get better at longer distance runs and stay in great shape.” Make sure to keep an eye on the development of the freshman and sophomore athletes, as they will soon be the ones fighting for points at state championships.

The Hall boys freshman team went undefeated en route to a CCC Championship

One thing is certain: Hall will be a serious contender this year in the state, although it won’t be easy. The Class LL Championship will be held on February 9th and the State Open will be held on February 16th at the Floyd Little Athletic Center in New Haven, Connecticut. Farrell knows it’s a tall task but assures “the coaches are really hunkering down on team effort in practice. They are dependent on the upperclassmen to give off a championship vibe and it is crucial for everyone to buy into that vibe. It will take an entire team effort, but I know we can do it and walk away with some hardware in February.”