Lions, Lawmen excel in Class MM cross country

It proved to be a very productive fall for both the Jonathan Law and Foran High boys cross country teams.

With veteran coaches leading the way, Dick Jeynes at Foran and Charlie Phillips at Law, the Lions were able to come up with a 13-3 dual-meet record, the best Jeynes has had at the school in 12 years.

Law runners were 9-7 and, for the first time in years, five Lawmen broke the 20-minute mark in last Saturday's CIAC Class MM meet held at Manchester's Wickham Park.

Foran placed eighth in the meet; Law placed 11th.

Two Foran runners, Jack Ardrey and Kevin Preneta, had times good enough to qualify for this Saturday's State Open meet which will also be held at Wickham.

Ardrey covered the hilly, 3.1-mile course in 17:24.

Preneta was timed in 17:34.

The best performance turned in by a Law runner came from Ryan Wasserman, who led the Lawmen with a 23rd place finish.

A senior tri-captain, Wasserman ran a 17:58.

Thomas Garbardella's of 18:47 placed him 51st.

Next was Tyler McKenna-Hansen, who was 66th in 19:10.

Michael Loschiavo was 69th in 19:15 and Matt Marino 81st in 19:30.

"We were hoping for a better finish than eighth," said Jeynes, who, prior to this year, had two 12-win seasons. "Unfortunately, one of our better runners (Mark Fitzpatrick) hurt himself in the Platt Invitational meet the Monday before. After being looked at by a doctor, it was determined that he had a calf stress. He went out and tried to do his best on Saturday, but, basically, he hobbled around out there.”

Foran's season included that victory in the Platt Invitational and a win over Hand of Madison as the Lions battled both the Tigers and Guilford for the Southern Connecticut Conference's Hammonasset Division title. Guilford beat Foran, 23-35, in the three-way meet, but the Lions trimmed the Tigers, 16-45 to finish 3-1 in the division.

Jeynes said: “Our kids just worked hard all season long. They accomplished what they did by putting in the time and the effort. This was a great group of kids."

Both teams also ran well in the SCC meet held on Oct. 20 at New Haven's East Shore Park.

Foran came in eighth and Law was 11th.

Law was led in the SCCs by Wasserman, who turned in his best career time of 17:46.

Wasserman was followed by McKenna-Hansen in 53rd (18:08). Gambardella was 64th in 18:27.

"I saw improvement all year long," Phillips said. "We got better and better as the season progressed. Our individual times showed it both in the SCC meet and at the Class MM state meet. We got consistent and that was one of the reasons for the success that we had."

Both Jeynes and Phillips have close to 50 years each in coaching.

Jeynes spent most of his time in baseball, before turning to cross country in 2005.

Phillips was a long-time boys basketball coach at Law.

Foran finished eighth in the SCC field, led by Ardrey's 18th-place individual finish of 17:04.

Foran had 226 points while Law had 311.

A senior, Ardrey, who has already received two scholarship offers, plans to run in college.