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Meet 3&4: Menounos paces the field in final 2 meets

The Woodstock Academy boys cross-country team saw its regular season come to an end with a pair of meets.

The Centaurs finished the season on Friday with a pair of victories, 22-35 over Fitch and 17-46 over Windham.

Woodstock Academy finished the regular season with a 5-3 overall record and 1-2 in Division I of the Eastern Connecticut Conference.

That record is not final, however, as the league championship meet also figures into the regular season standings.

Sophomore Christian Menounos was again at the front of the pack as he crossed the finish line in 17:50 which was 25 seconds better than Kaiden Chandler of Fitch.

Vince Bastura (18:24) finished in third with Colton Sallum (19:05) in fifth. Charles Caggiano and Joel Koleszar placed seventh and eighth for the Centaurs.

The Centaurs opened the week with their only home meet of the season.

Woodstock Academy and Norwich Free Academy battled to a 28-all tie at the Pomfret Recreation Complex.

There is a tiebreaker and that went to the Wildcats who put in their sixth runner before the Centaurs did.

It was the first time the Centaurs got to run competitively on their new course.

“I like it,” Menounos said. “It was a lot of fun, a challenging course and I was happy with my time and the result.”

Menounos established the record on the new course as he put together a 16 minute, 51 second performance to take first overall.

“I take pride in that,” Menounos said of the record. “My teammates have been pushing me all year and we’ve been waiting for 2 ½ weeks to race. It was nice to just go there and drop a (personal record) on the course.”

Bastura celebrated Senior Day with a second-place finish in 17:32.

“Vince made the move,” Woodstock Academy coach Peter Lusa said. “I think (Ethan Manfredi of NFA) went out a little fast and got gobbled up by time. Vince was lagging behind, passed him and stayed ahead of him. I was really worried that we were going to get first, they would go two and we would go three, but 1-2 really helped.”

Sallum finished third for Woodstock Academy and fifth overall, Caggiano placed ninth and Koleszar 11th.

With the regular season over with, it’s off to the Eastern Connecticut Conference championship meet at the Norwich Golf Course for the boys squad.

“I’m feeling good and the boys are, too,” Lusa said. “We’re in a different place than we were when we went against Griswold- the kids are stronger. I’m sure Griswold is stronger, too, but it will be fun to see where we come in.”

East Lyme and Griswold are the teams to beat.

Lusa is hopeful that Menounos and Bastura could finish inside the top 10 in the championship race.

“We have a lot of tough teams so we have to go in with a good mindset and try to place in the top three teams,” Menounos said. “I remember the course and I like it. I know there is a big hill at the end but it’s one of my favorite courses.”

Menounos, in his first ECC championship meet last year, finished 20th while Bastura was 14th overall.