2003 Green Wave boys' cross country
2004 Green Wave boys' cross country
As with any others of New Milford High School’s many state championship teams, the 2003 and 2004 editions of the Green Wave boys’ cross country team combined talent, coaching and a special unity of spirit to achieve their goals.
What those runners and their coaches did, however, was to take it to a level never previously accomplished in Green Wave sports annals, and they did it back to back seasons.
Co-coaches Michael Abraham and Chris Bacich had guided the 2002 Green Wave to a state class ‘L’ title and then were bolstered the next autumn by the arrival of transfer Ben Danton, who had raced to a state ‘M’ individual gold medal before departing for New Milford.
Even having absorbed several key departures due to '03 graduation, coaches Abraham and Bacich sent a deep, hungry and cohesive pack into competition in the fall of 2003 and the Green Wave came up aces nearly every time.
Such was the NMHS dominance that the Green Wave took six of the first seven places during a South-West Conference championship meet romp, six of the top 13 spots en route to a state ‘L’ title and six of the fastest 34 at the state open race.
A week later, even with Ben Danton off his game somewhat, the core group of Patrick Viklund, Nick DeCrescenzo, Ben Danton, David Hunt, Michael DeCrescenzo and Reid McEwen proved up to the task to bring home NMHS sports’ first ever New England team championship. Anthony Socotch completed the NMHS pack.
The Green Wave totaled 90 points compared to Ledyard's 121 and Danbury's 161.
The next fall, with Ben Danton and Reid McEwen among those lost to graduation, coaches Abraham and Bacich simply called on the Green Wave’s amazing depth to once again race to an undefeated regular season and romp in the SWC and state class ‘LL’ events.
The state open proved to be more of a hurdle than expected as Guilford outran the Green Wave, but that setback seemed to emotionally re-charge coaches Abraham and Bacich’s pack. Rested, eager and seemingly oblivious to several inches of snow cover on the familiar Wickham Park course in Manchester, the Green Wave rose to the occasion to again claim a New England championship.
Nick and Michael DeCrescenzo, Patrick Viklund, David Hunt were repeat top seven runners from the previous year, and John Reilly, Anthony Vento and Anthony Socotch lent their ample contributions to the '04 cause. The Green Wave raced home with 87 points, outlegging Londonderry (101) of New Hamsphire and state rival East Lyme (183) Guilford, which had stunned the NMHS runners just a week earlier in the state open race, was well back in sixth place with 212 points.
A fitting climax to two seasons of brilliance, that second New England race was described by coach Bacich as ‘what may have been the most exciting moment in NMHS sports history.”
Green Wave student-athletes who contributed in one way or another to the New England championships:
Class of '04: Nate Beatty, Brian Cox, Ben Danton and Reid McEwen.
Class of '05: Nick DeCrescenzo, Steven Duda, Frank Etzler, Joshua Hinman, David Hunt, Aaron Lavender, John Reilly and Patrick Viklund.
Class of '06: Michael DeCrescenzo, Ryan Rebstock, Anthony Socotch and James Torres.
Class of '07: Ryan Cheng, Anthony Vento, P.J. Arnold, Ryan Drost, Mark Grinberg, Andrew Lavender, Mike Marotti, Brian Morris and Aaron Simmonds.
Class of '08: Kyle Anderson, Dan DeCrescenzo, James Hastings, Edin Mesanovic, Frank Stewart, Michael Viklund and Dan Watson.