State Runner-Up Chelsea Boys’ Cross Country Looks for Another Strong Season


The 2023 Chelsea Men's XC team heads to team camp next week to begin the fall campaign. This year’s team boasts a young, but solid group of runners roughly 20 strong. The summer running program has once again been successful, with an average of 15-20 hearty souls waking up for our daily 730 AM workouts.

They hope to continue a long tradition of excellence. 2022 saw them qualify for the state finals for the 21st consecutive year - the 5th longest active streak in the state - any division including both boys’ and girls’ teams. The past 6 seasons have been especially notable, finishing 1st, 1st, 4th, 4th, 2nd, and 2nd in the state over that period. The competitive goal for this year (once again) is to earn another trip to that prestigious meet and keep the string alive. And they will have their work cut out for them.

Coach Eric Swager enters his 29th year as head coach. Both Loren Thorburn and Mike Holik will take on a larger role this fall as team administrators. And, as always, they are bolstered by the best group of parents in town.

Individually, the Bulldogs are led by defending State Champion and School Record Holder Connell Alford- a senior this fall. This amazing young man finished 14th in the country at the Champs national meet in San Diego last fall, and recently did a 5k tune-up on the track in 14:53. He is primed and ready to once again set the standard.

Other seniors include Jackie Dell - one of our scorers from last year and Mo Cugliari- who hopes to contribute to the varsity squad. Luis Solarzano and Thien Nguyen round out the senior class and add an international flavor to the team.

Junior Leo Swager has been averaging over 70 miles per week training this summer and looks poised to be an all -Region performer. Other Juniors include Eric Cameron, Sam Woodard, Davion Garrison, Brant Maley, and Nate Krzysik.

The success of this squad will largely be determined by our talented sophomore group. Beckett Boos and Karl Swager both saw some varsity experience last year, while Linus Helzerman, Miles Dell, and Alex Martin made big improvements this spring during the track season. Mason Maley is now healthy and hoping to join that pack as the season progresses.

The freshmen squad also is promising! Wyeth Angus hopes to throw a scare into his older teammates, while Leo Alafita, Sam Clifton, Dylan Hodges, Cole Voight, and Jack Meehan will undoubtedly improve.

“As the years go on, I continue to be grateful for the opportunity to work with each of these athletes in a supportive setting,” Swager said. “I hope to treasure whatever time I have left with them, and revel in their improvement as athletes and young men.”

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