The Jonathan Law boys cross country team took on the Stratford Red Devils, the Blue Devils of West Haven High, at one of Milford’s crowned jewels, Eisenhower Park, on Friday, Oct.  5.

The legendary Eisenhower Park 5K course is defined as a true cross country course, with racers facing rocky terrains, nooks and crannies, in addition to it’s perfectly manicured new trails and even the occasional horse from the nearby stables.

The race took place on an impeccable day, sunny skies, comfortable temperatures, and virtually no wind. Clearly it was the best day of the fall season. And, for a short time this day the quiet wilderness of the park would be filled with excitement of the many fans that gathered to take in the action.

Each team’s top racers were evenly matched, with Law’s Mike Loschiavo the favorite coming in.

Sixty-six runners toed the line as the opening blast went off.

Law’s Loschiavo and Tyler McKenna-Hansen, along with West Haven’s Sebastian Villanueva and Stratford’s Elijah Brown led the charge.

A short distance away were Law’s Dan Wasserman and West Haven’s James Weber. The next three would be from Law’s Nick Shugrue, Charles Wang and Amir Elhelw.

Stratford’s Paul Duncanson kept pace and stayed in the top 10 going into the one mile mark.  Later on in the race he and Elhelw would challenge each other down the stretch.

With one mile to go it was clearly Loschiavo’s race, as he expanded his lead over McKenna-Hansen.  

Villanueva stayed strong throughout, extending a lead over fourth place Brown.  

Wasserman, Weber, Shugrue and Wang stayed the course while Duncanson and Elhelw battled for the ninth spot.  

Sneaking his way into the top 15 was Stratford’s Joshua Kydes who continues to shine in his rookie year.

The finish saw Loschiavo in first place at 17:22. McKenna-Hansen in second at 17:26. Third went to Villanueva.  Brown was fourth, with a season best of 18:44.

Wasserman placed  fifth at 19:07. Sixth saw Weber (19:28) outlast Law’s Shugrue (19:32). Eighth place went to Wang at 19:37.

Ninth and tenth place would see a long sprint by Duncanson and Elhelw. Many in attendance headed to the finish line as these two gutted it out in the stretch. Also at stake would be overall team scoring.

A last second burst saw Elhelw get the nod in ninth place with a time of 19:42.  

It was Duncanson’s first career top 10 finish in a well earned time of 19:44.

Law’s Luke Pleimann was 11th at 19:51.

The next close finish was between Kydes and Law’s James Marino. Marino outlasted Kydes taking 12th in a time of 20:24. Kydes at 20:26.  

The next five finishers came from Platt. Simon Nadiff led his team with a time of 20:37. Jaggar Art at 20:51, Ken Banfietti at 21:00, Andres Garcia at 21:03 and Brandon Kling at 21:04.  

Keeping things interesting between Stratford and West Haven was Hunter Axelrod with a 21:32 finish.

With three already finished for Stratford and five in for Platt, the team scoring between these two teams was far from over and both teams rallied behind those who still would make the difference.  

Stratford’s Tanner Mitchell, in a career best, managed a time of 22:39.

Teammate Kevin Gabriel was Stratford’s fifth place finisher at 22:42.

He was followed by SHS senior runner Julian Pilla at 22:45.   

Race officials, now at the scorer’s table, were tasked with tallying up the final scores.The score would be tight between Stratford (29) and Platt (30).

Stratford picked up its second win of the day by beating West Haven, 26-31.

Final scores on the day: Law 21, West Haven 41; Law 15, Platt 50; Law 18, Stratford 44; and Platt 18, West Haven 36.