Girls Cross Country Running Strong

Branford High School's girls cross country team has been successful this year thanks in part to freshmen runners Cyrene Nicholas (left), Maya Birney (center) and Annelise Troidle (right). Photo courtesy Kevin Connell.

By Matthew Kerrigan and Justin Julianelle The Branford girls cross country team has been destroying their opponents this year, leading to a 7th straight Oranoque division title, thanks in part to three freshmen. Maya Birney , Cyrene Nicholas,  and Anneliese Troidle are finishing in the top 5 in almost every race for the team. “They have set a bar.” said coach Kevin  Connell. "One week after another it’s like wow… they are exciting to watch. They have fun. They enjoy what they do.” But they are not the only ones contributing to the team. Senior Alex Tracy, juniors Tracy Crookston, Sophie Bysiewicz, and April Simmons, sophomore Jess Lohret, and freshman Cleo Kyriakides,  Sharon Webster, and Shannon Halloran have also been contributing to the team. A big reason why they are winning is that they’re not out there worrying if they are going to win ; they just seem to be having fun running. Their next big test will come Thursday at the Southern Connecticut Conference championships on Thursday. The best that the girls have ever finished at SCCs was 5th and this year they hope to do much better. Both Anneliese Troidle and Cyrene Nicholas said that before a big meet coming up there is pressure on them, but if it is just a fun race they don’t worry. “I enjoy running,” said  Anneliese. Anneliese ran for the New Haven Age Group Track team in New Haven where she said she got to know a lot of the good runners in the Southern Connecticut Conference like Kelly Davis of Hillhouse ,Denae  Rivers of Cross , and Precious  Holmes of Hillhouse  and learned  their tendencies as runners. She said that has given them an advantage in running. Because all three of them are only freshnen there is a  plenty of time to get better but already  being this good  makes you think the girls cross country team is in good shape  for the next couple years.  By senior year they both Cyrene and Anneliese said they both want to be winning invitationals and they want to win the SCCs this year. Coach Connell said that at big cross country meets, the team used to not be recognized by the B on their jersey. “People said' B? Who the hell is B?' …We have the potential this Thursday to really surprise and shock a lot of people who did not know we even exist." Both the boys and the girls cross country teams have the Southern Connecticut Conference championships meet this Thursday at Hammonasset Beach State Park in Madison.