To say that the Darien boys cross country team set the bar high with its performance last season might be the understatement of the year.
With a seemingly never-ending list of accomplishments in 2011, the Blue Wave has their hands full if they are going to repeat last year's success.
"Our varsity squad is really cohesive. Everyone works well with each other, and our younger guys are really pushing themselves and improving," Darien captain Peter Kreuch said. "If we can have an injury-free season, quality training, hard work and a good team dynamic, we'll do great things."
Darien is coming off of season in which it was undefeated in the regular season, won the Wickham Park Invitational and brought home the CIAC Class L title. Darien broke school records en route to qualifying for the 77th New England Association High School Cross Country Championship meet. In that particular meet, which was composed of New England's elite cross country squads, Darien came away with a ninth place finish out of 30 teams.
"We've had a good two weeks of really hard work. I think everyone's improving a lot and it's going to pay off in season," captain Marshall Huffman said. "We had an incredible season (in 2011). We had a really strong team and we worked well together. We made it the farthest we've ever made it so it was really impressive. This year we just need to be prepared mentally."
So what does Darien do for an encore in 2012?
"(Going undefeated) is one of our goals, but we graduated an amazing class last year. But this year we have an even more talented team with some younger guys," captain Sean Lee said. "The hard work in practice is going to pay off, and we'll see where we go from there."
"It's been a good two weeks of training. We've all been coming together as a team and with the work that's been done, I think we'll be able to perform this season," captain Brian Davey said. "We graduated some people, but I feel like we have the people to fill those roles again. There's some competition, but I think we'll have a good starting eight in the varsity races."
The FCIAC championship meet takes place on Oct. 18 at Waveny Park in New Canaan and the CIAC Class L state meet is at Wickham Park in Manchester on Oct. 27, and Darien fully expects to be in the mix at both events.
"Practice is looking great so far. Everyone is trying hard," captain Andrew Xiong said. "There are a lot of freshman that have a lot of potential. The one big goal that we have is to win states this year."