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Darien, Ridgefield Runners Win Regional Cross Country Crowns

Ridgefield's Austin Gilbert won the Nike Cross Nationals Northeast championship Saturday. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Ridgefield Running Company
Darien's Alex Ostberg runs to victory in the FootLocker Northeast Regional championships in New York on Saturday. Photo Credit: Photorun.net
Staples' Hannah DeBalsi, No. 22 in blue, runs with the leaders Saturday at the FootLocker Northeast Regional championships on Saturday in New York. Photo Credit: Photorun.net

FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. -- Runners from Fairfield County won individual titles Saturday in the most prestigious high school cross country regional championships.

At the FootLocker Northeast Regional championships at Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx, N.Y. Darien’s Alex Ostberg won the 5k race in 15:17.8. He won by a comfortable 16 seconds over runner-up Luke Petela of New Jersey. Ostberg committed in October to run for Stanford University in college.

Ridgefield’s Austin Gilbert won the Nike Cross Northeast championship at Bowdoin Park in Wappingers Falls, N.Y. Gilbert ran 16:01 on the 5k course, winning by one second over Blaise Ferro. Gilbert will run at Harvard University next year.

In the girls race at FootLocker, Staples junior Hannah DeBalsi finished second in 17:50.5. Brianna Schwartz of Pittsburgh won the race in 17:35.

Two Fairfield County runners had near misses in the boys races. Darien's Armstrong Noonan finished 12th at the FootLocker race, where he ran 15:48.6. The top 10 advance to nationals. Noonan was three seconds from the 10th place runner. Ridgefield's Gabe Altopp finished ninth overall, in 16:25. He missed qualifying as an individual by just 13 seconds. As a team, Ridgefield finished ninth.

Gilbert, Ostberg and DeBalsi advance to the national championships. Gilbert will race on Saturday, Dec. 6, at Glendoveer Golf Course in Portland, Ore.

Ostberg and DeBalsi will race Saturday, Dec. 13, at Balboa Park in San Diego. Ari Klau of West Hartford and Gabrielle Richichi will also run in the FootLocker nationals.

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