Although the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy persuaded officials to postpone the State Open boys cross country championship, it did not deter Joel Barlow High’s Logan.
The ground was wet and strewn with debris, but the sky was clear as runners toed the line on Sunday, Nov. 4. It still was a good day to run as Fulton placed third overall in a field of more than 180 runners at Wickham Park in Manchester.
Top-ranked Danbury was the overwhelming favorite leading up to the race, but the contest did not play out as expected. New Milford was the team champion, amassing 112 points to second-place Xavier’s 147. Reigning South-West Conference champion Newtown was third with 167 points.
Staples’ Henry Wynne proved beyond all doubt that he is the best cross-country runner in Connecticut, taking home the race’s individual title with a swift time of 15 minutes, 49 seconds. Newtown’s Jake Feinstein was the runner-up in 15:58.
The Falcons’ lone representative at the State Open, Fulton ran an exemplary race to finish third overall in 16:22. With his result, he joined former Falcon Mike Levene as Barlow’s highest finisher at the meet.
Fulton’s third-place showing is the culmination of three years of continuous improvement. He finished 13th at the meet in 2010 and 10th in 2011.
Fulton’s successful finish came on the heels of a less-than-ideal start. Recounting his race, he said he was in approximately 30th place off the gun. Even after fighting his way up through the field over the course of the first two miles, he still languished in 12th.
Going into the final section of the course, however, Fulton “dropped the hammer” and ultimately broke away from the pack.
“It was one of my proudest races,” he said. “I’ve never turned a bad race around like that before.”
By finishing in the top t25 overall at the state level, Fulton qualified to run in the New England Championship as an individual this coming Saturday in Maine.
“Logan ran great at the Open, but the New England meet is a whole different kettle of fish,” said Barlow coach Jerry Bielizna. “We’ll see if he can match Mike’s fourth-place finish from 2008.”