WATERTOWN - After getting their competitive legs under them at the Stratton Brook Invitattional, the Watertown High School cross country boys and girls team began their NVL season with a quad meet against Torrington, Wilby and WCA at Veterans’ Park on September 14. Prior to the meet, the first of five against league competition, coach Brian LaFontaine, who has enjoyed considerable success during his tenure, discussed the prospects for the 2021 Indians.
The Indians are heading into the season with strong goals and hope to be at their best going into the NVL and State meets.
“We have a great leadership presence in seniors Andrew Warren, Keith Acuna and Cristian Welcome, who have been working hard and have seen many positives already develop already,” said LaFontaine.
Junior Alex Cole (All NVL - Iron Division) returns and is coming off an excellent sophomore year where he was Watertown’s top runner. Classmates Matt Creter (All NVL - Iron Div), Nick Basile and Michael Allen all have looked strong in early practices and should be key factors in the teams successes this year.
“Warren, Acuna and Welcome have also been running well and will be counted on to be big factors in scoring for us this year,” said LaFontaine.
Juniors Ian Metcalfe, Tristan Enquist, Greg Stroehle, Zach Goetz and Sam Falotico as well as sophomores Julian Guerrera and Drew Clements are all returning and have looked great as they hope to build off their successes from last season.
“We have also gotten a boost from some talented freshman as Sebastian Creter, Omer Mustafi, Dan Matozzo, Mark Albino, Charles Stroehle and Nathan Fenn; they’ve all shown the ability to be great contributors both in this season and beyond,” LaFontaine pointed out.
“Overall, the boys are excited to have the opportunity to compete and continue to build with the hopes of meeting their goals by building towards some big runs at the championship meets later this year,” LaFontaine said.
The WHS girls have also been hard at work with the hope of finding success on the course this fall after an abbreviated season in 2020.
Seniors Morgan Hodorski, Sara Mustafi, Julia Caligiuri and Natalie Nascimento have done a great job in the early season providing the team with great leadership.
“The strong work ethic of the seniors has also led to some positive early season results and will be a key factor in the teams success this year,” said LaFontaine.
Sophomore Lana Kolpa (All NVL - Iron Div) and freshman Lilly Khouri have gotten off to great starts and should provide WHS with a strong one-two punch on meet days.
“Juniors Karina Deros and Angela Sali have been running well and should also play key roles while freshman Christina Mattei has also shown great promise,” said LaFontaine.
“Overall, the team has a positive outlook and are looking to get strong efforts from everyone, being ready to peak when the calendar turns to October, when the big meets happen.”
Watertown’s teams traveled to Stratton Brook State Park on September 11 to kick off their season.
On the girls side sophomore Lana Kolpa and freshman Lilly Khouri led the way with outstanding runs to both finish in the top 40 in the 16-team field.
Seniors Natalie Nascimento, Morgan Hodorski and Sara Mustafi all had good runs as they all saw their times improve.
Said LaFontaine, “Angela Sali had a big race as she set a new personal record while classmate Karina Deros also had a strong run.”
In the boys races, junior Alex Cole (18:31) had a great day as he moved up all race long placing 5th overall over the challenging course.
Matt Creter (19:58), Michael Allen and Nick Basile crossed the line next for the Indians, “and all of them ran well,” said LaFontaine.
Warren had a very good day as he rounded out the scoring for the Indians, while Keith Acuna had a strong showing.
Sebastian Creter led Watertown in the JV race with a strong debut; junior Ian Metcalfe, sophomore Drew Clements and freshman Dan Matozzo, Mark Albino and Omer Mustafi also had good efforts to finish well for WHS.