New Canaan Boys Cross Country: Run, Rams, Run!


In his lone year as an assistant for the New Canaan boys cross country program in 2012, Bill Martin coached a squad that totaled 22 boys. Now entering his third season as head coach of program, Martin was delighted to see (approximately) 60 boys ready to go for the 2015 cross country season.

New Canaan Cross Country head coach Bill Martin directs traffic at last year's FCIAC Championship meet at Waveny Park. Credit: Terry Dinan

New Canaan Cross Country head coach Bill Martin directs traffic at last year’s FCIAC Championship meet at Waveny Park. Credit: Terry Dinan

“The numbers are great,” Martin told “The team has tripled in the last three years, which is always a good sign. We graduated two of our best runners (Alex Ellsworth and Spencer Lyman) last year. Both boys made All-FCIAC, 2nd team. And as a team we finished fifth in the FCIAC, which was a pretty good showing. I think we can do better but it takes a bit of time.”

Ryan McGough, Aidan Buck, and Patrick Blasco were three of those 22 runners back in 2012 when they were neophytes to both the cross country program and the high school. Now all seniors in 2015, and the only ones who have competed all four years, the three will look to lead the Rams to both FCIAC and state prominence.

As far as sophomores and juniors go, Martin is confident that he has a few who are on the inside track to crack the team’s top seven and help this year’s squad go far.

“Looking for a lot from Michael St. George, a junior this year, who was one of the team leaders, athletically speaking, last year,” said Martin. “Then rounding out the top six or seven, we have Abhinav Pal, junior Max Koschnitske, sophomore and Alex Urbahn who’s a sophomore. Henry Asker is another sophomore, and he’ll probably finish in our seventh or eighth spot, at this point.”

Those gentlemen plus the quality depth that the program has in 2015 give the Rams a valiant chance at competing with the top of the heap in the FCIAC, a league that’s never short of elite-level talent.

Scenes from last year's FCIAC Championship at Waveny Park. Credit: Terry Dinan

Scenes from last year’s FCIAC Championship at Waveny Park. Credit: Terry Dinan

“Perenially, it’s usually Staples, Ridgefield, Danbury, followed closely by Darien, Wilton and then us,” Martin described when asked about the FCIAC landscape. “So we round out that top five or six. The interesting thing about the FCIAC is that we’re probably, in cross country distance speaking, one of the best leagues in the country. We [the FCIAC] sent five teams to the New England championships last year, which you qualify for through your state championships. All five of those teams finished in the top-10, two of which went one, two – Ridgefield one, Danbury two. So we don’t have to search far and wide to run against the best competition that’s out there for the high school level – it comes to us every week.”

But while the Rams will have their work cut out for them to get to the top of the mountain, Coach Martin’s confidence in his team stems from knowing that a vast majority of these athletes have, and always will, put in the necessary work to be incredibly prepared for any competition.

“On the up note, 10 of them went to cross country camp over the summer, which to me is always a positive thing. Because when I first started here as an assistant cross country coach four years ago, they didn’t even run six days a week. So it’s a team culture change, and now they all are a bit more in tune with the expectations of having me as a coach. The numbers are very exciting. 40 boys participated in the preseason camp with [girls cross country] Coach Brown. And having 60 people is always exciting.”

NCHS Boys Cross Country Schedule:

Tue., 9/15 vs. Trinity Catholic, Stamford, Trumbull, Brien McMahon – Waveny Park, 4pm
Sat., 9/19 Wilton Invitational – Wilton High School, 9:30am
Tue., 9/22 @ St. Joe’s, Wilton, Ridgefield, Trinity Catholic – St. Joseph High School, 4pm
Tue., 9/29 vs. Trinity Catholic, Staples, Fairfield Warde, Fairfield Ludlowe – Waveny Park, 4pm
Sat., 10/3 Brewster Invitational – Brewster High School (NY), 8:30am
Tue., 10/6 @ Greenwich, Danbury, Darien, Trinity Catholic – Greenwich Point, 4pm
Tue., 10/13 vs. Trinity Catholic, Westhill, Norwalk, Bridgeport Central – Waveny Park , 4pm
Wed., 10/21 FCIAC Championship – Waveny Park, 2pm
Sat., 10/31 CIAC Class L Championship – Wickham Park, East Hartford, 9:50am
Fri., 11/6 CIAC Open Championship – Wickham Park, East Hartford, 2:45pm
Sat., 11/14 New England Championship – Thetford Academy (VT), TBA

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