Highlanders Co-Host DIII New England Cross Country Championships on Saturday

On November 9, The Gunnery and Millbrook School will co-host the 2019 NEPSTA DIII Cross Country Championships at White Memorial Conservation Center, 80 Whitehall Road in Litchfield. The regional 5K is the last cross country event of the season and is expected to draw 550 runners representing 24 girls teams and 22 boys teams from independent high schools across New England.
Race times are scheduled as follows:
  • Varsity Girls 1:15 p.m.
  • Varsity Boys 2 p.m.
  • JV Girls 2:35 p.m.
  • JV Boys 3:20 p.m.

While the Highlanders have hosted in-season, dual meets at White Memorial for the past two years, this is the first time The Gunnery is co-hosting the New England cross country championships on the 4,000-acre property, which features 40 miles of trails maintained by White Memorial Foundation in the beautiful Litchfield Hills.

“It’s really such a balanced course between the flats and the hills, and it’s absolutely gorgeous, It’s a destination for people who just want to spend time outdoors. It’s a blessing that we are allowed to host such a big event there,” said Head Coach Morgen Fisher ’03, who is also The Gunnery’s Science Department Chair. 

Dozens of faculty, staff, students and parents are volunteering their time to help manage various aspects of the event, from trail clean-up, parking and registration to serving as course marshalls, handing out water, and recording bib numbers at the finish line.

“We appreciate all of our volunteers who are choosing to spend the day with The Gunnery cross country teams and help us out,” Fisher said. “We are also grateful for the support of the Litchfield Track Club, and specifically Dave Driscoll, who runs the club and is setting the 5K course, which will be utilized the following day for the Connecticut USATF Junior Olympic Cross Country Championship.”

The Gunnery Girls Varsity Cross Country Team began its fall season by bringing home the first-place trophy from the Canterbury Invitational for the first time in September. Boys varsity finished eighth out of 18 teams at that meet. “Both the girls and the boys teams supported each other and had a dynamic that was the strongest and most positive that we’ve had,” Fisher said. “They pushed each other to work hard. Separate from how successful they were, they were a nice group to coach, and it looked, from a student’s perspective, like it was a fun team to be part of.”

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Founded in 1850 by abolitionist, educator, and outdoorsman Frederick Gunn, The Gunnery is a coeducational college preparatory boarding and day school for students in grades 9 through 12/post-graduate. Dedicated teacher-mentor-coaches challenge students to reach their full potential in a home-like setting where character and citizenship are valued as much as intellect and achievement. Individualized attention and high expectations help young learners develop not only the skills and confidence they will need in college, but also the moral compass and love of learning that will serve them well in life. The school attracts ambitious, academically curious students who will both shine as unique individuals and thrive as contributing members of a deeply connected community. By the time they graduate, Gunnery students have become well rounded, grounded young adults with a sharpened sense of who they are and who they want to become.