WEST HARTFORD — Conard’s Gavin Sherry and Chloe Scrimgeour took home individual titles at the CCC Division A championships while the Simsbury girls team completed its revenge tour and the Hall boys battled to a team title Wednesday.
The CCC-A Division was split into two groups: Windsor, Bloomfield and Northwest Catholic in one group and powerhouses Simsbury, Hall and Conard in the other, with the results being merged at the conclusion of the meet.
Gavin Sherry, a junior, finished the course at Hall High School in 15:23 and Scrimgeour, a senior in her first season, finished in 17:54.
Gavin Sherry won a CCC title for the third straight season, having won overall CCC titles in 2018 and 2019.
“I am really happy to get this win,” Sherry said. “This season was a weird one, but it is satisfying to get the win and I feel really good about it.”
Sherry, who swept the CCC, Class LL, State Open and New England championships a year ago as a sophomore took home all the hardware he could this season.
With no postseason beyond conference championships, Sherry will not get the chance to further solidify his reputation as the best runner in the state in larger meets.
“It is sad to me because I really loved running on Wickham and having the big state meets,” Sherry said. “That is what I live for and having that taken away really sucks.”
Sherry was followed by his twin brother Callum (15:23), who earned a second-place finish ahead of Hall junior Walker Beverly (15:53) in third and Simsbury freshman Luke Davis (16:32) finishing fourth.
Despite the top two finishes by Conard individuals, the Hall boys team battled to take the CCC-A title.
“We’re excited. We are lucky we have Conard and Simsbury in our region,” Hall boys coach Jeff Billing said. “They are two of the top 10-15 teams in the state along with us, so it is nice that we get to have some good competition.”
Five Hall boys finished in the top 10, led by third-place finisher Walker Beverly and fifth-place finisher Amruth Niranjan.
“Beverly is in just his second year of cross country after transitioning from football and sprinting,” Billing said. “He just keeps getting better and better. He is a pleasure to coach, he works hard every day and loves competing. He leaves it all in the tank and was with the trainer after the race totally gassed. That’s what this sport is all about.”
Niranjan, a senior captain, left his legacy at Hall in the team’s final in-state meet as he earned a PR.
As a freshman, Niranjan completed his first 5K in 27:40 with his best time that year being over 24 minutes. His sophomore year he improved to 21 minutes and in his junior season he was nearing 18 minutes, according to Billing.
In his final race as a senior, Niranjan completed the 5K in 16:43, nearly 11 minutes of improvement since his first race.
“He has epitomized what our program is,” Billing said. “We have a huge team. We have 134 boys and we get a lot of kids who have never run before. When you see a kid like Amruth as a captain and the number two runner, knowing where he came from, I think it is inspirational for all of his teammates.”
Conard senior Chloe Scrimgeour led the pack with a time of 17:54, jumping in front at the starting line and never looking back.
“In this race I was just focused on place,” Scrimgeour said. “We wanted to do as well as we could as a team so I came out and tried to stay where I was. I had hoped to be a little faster but I am still happy with pulling through with a win and helping out the team.”
The feat is made even more impressive by the fact that this was Scrimgeour’s first cross country season and only the second 5K race of her career.
Scrimgeour was a soccer player in her freshman through junior fall seasons and a basketball player in the winter season through her sophomore year. Last winter, Scrimgeour sprang onto the running scene after switching from basketball to indoor track.
The switch proved to be the right choice as she won both New England’s and the State Open for the two-mile run.
The success paired with plans to run cross country at Georgetown next fall led to Scrimgeour dropping soccer and fully committing to running.
“Since then I was training for Nationals, and then we didn’t have Nationals,” Scrimgeour said. “I started working really hard for a potential cross country season and I am so happy we got to do some races. My training has paid off and I have seen a lot of improvement.”
Scrimgeour will not have the opportunity to compete on the state-wide stage, but would have likely had a shot at finishing among the top runners in the state.
“I’ve never ran at Wickham Park and I have heard many stories,” Scrimgeour said. “There are also girls from other conferences who I think would have given me a lot of good competition this year. I think everyone is a little upset, but everyone is in the same boat.”
Despite Scrimgeour’s effort, Conard finished third in team placement behind Simsbury and Hall.
The win was sweet for Simsbury, which finished second to Hall in CCC’s and in the State Open in 2019.
Simsbury edged its rival even with Hall’s Katherine Sanderson finishing second overall (18:37), Nora Holmes (18:59) finishing third and Mia Healer (19:57) placing fifth.
Olivia Birney (19:16) was the first Simsbury runner to cross the finish line and finished fourth overall. Behind her Simsbury held down sixth-through-ninth placement as well as 11th and 12th finishes.