GREENWICH, Conn. Greenwich senior Abigail Markowitz is running cross-country races for the first time this fall and it's hard to imagine a better start.
Markowitz, who won the Class LL 800 meters in the outdoor season in May, took the cross-country center stage Saturday by winning the Wilton Invitational. She outkicked Hillhouse's Kellie Davis over the final 400 meters to win the race in 17:16, an average of 6:10 per mile for the 2.8-mile course.
More than a few people were surprised, including Markowitz. "I had no idea what was going to happen,'' she said. "I was surprised and happy. I just went out and gave it all I had."
Markowitz settled in with the leaders early, running with the lead pack through the first mile. When the leaders emerged from a wooded section in the second mile, it became a two-girl race between Markowitz and Davis. As the lead runners turned for home, Markowitz used her superior kick to pull away for a convincing 11-second win.
"I was just hoping to run well and see what I could do,'' she said. "I didn't have any expectations."
Markowitz led a field of 122 runners against some of the top teams in the state, including Guilford, Wilton and Darien. Defending Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference champion Heather Moriarty was 15th, 1 minute and 15 seconds behind Markowitz. The race is the first major cross-country event of the season, and Markowitz's victory sends a statement that she is one of the league favorites for the championship race in October.
Elizabeth Markowitz, Abigail's sister, finished 22nd for the Cardinals in 18:49. Kana Jitsuno (20:13), Alicia King (20:22) and May Hayashida (20:23) also ran well for a tightly bunched Greenwich pack that finished second among large school teams behind New Milford. Among the teams the Cardinals beat were Danbury, Ridgefield, Ludlowe and Trumbull.
Complete meet results are on clubct.org .
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