A pair of cross country runners, Bristol Centralâ€™s Alex Sirko, a senior captain, and Nate DeAngelo, a sophomore, are this weekâ€™s â€śAthlete of the Weekâ€ť picks.
Sirko, the daughter of Gia and Jason Sirko, only started running her freshman year, but became a team leader and an all-conference pick last year and is on course to do the same or better this fall.
â€śAlex is a really focused runner,â€ť Bristol Central coach Tamara Stafford-Kirk said. â€śShe has come a long way since her freshman year and has stuck it out. She is a great leader for our girls team. She is hard-working and leads by example in training and racing. Our girls team is very fortunate to have such a great role model as one of our leaders.â€ť
Last week Sirko finished fourth overall and second on her team at the Middletown meet. Earlier in the season, Sirko captured the last race to be held at the Rockwell Park course on Sept. 19, posting a time of 24:05.7 as she and her teammates topped both Platt and Plainville, 15-50 and 15-48, respectively.
Two days later she ran with schoolmate Ian Kreciglowa in the combined three-mile boys/girls race to finish third at the Camp Sloper Relays. At the Stratton Brook Invitational, she led the Rams with a 13th place finish.
Sirko talked about her goals this fall.
â€śI want to get all-conference again and just overall lower my times, because they havenâ€™t been what I wanted,â€ť Sirko said. Â â€śIâ€™m going to try to break my times on [today] against E.O. Smith. I was ranked number one on the team last year.â€ť
In 2017, the Rams captured both the city and CCC South Patriot Division titles, and they hope to duplicate those accomplishments this season.
â€śI want our better times and to work together in the races,â€ť Sirko said. â€śTo have a better pack. We won the conference title last year and I think we can do it this year. We have new girls now and they are all stepping up, so I think we can win the conference again.â€ť
When asked about advice that sheâ€™d give the younger runners, it was all about having fun, Â listening and learning.
â€śIâ€™d say to listen to your coaches,â€ť Sirko said. â€śTrust the program and just enjoy it because it goes by so fast. The four years went by so fast for me.â€ť
Her plans for next year are somewhat up in the air. She plans on college, maybe CCSU, and would like to run at the next level if possible. And as far as studies, she is currently contemplating something in the field of social work.
â€śIt all depends on where my path takes me,â€ť Sirko said.
DeAngelo, the son of Scott DeAngelo and Nicole Churchill, started running in the seventh grade, so this is his fourth season also. Heâ€™s currently had the most success on the team this season, a group thought to have a shot at a state title this fall after capturing one in 2010.
He finished first in the last race at Rockwell Park to open the season, with a time of 18:21. He later placed first with Jose Ramirez in the combined boys competition at the Sloper event and was second overall and first for the Rams in last weekâ€™s Middletown meet.
Earlier in the season, he came in ninth overall and second on the team at the Stratton Brook Invitational.
â€śNate is a very gifted runner and when he gains confidence and gets stronger he is going to impress us even more,â€ť Stafford-Kirk said. â€śAs a sophomore, he has stepped up his training and his confidence is growing. I am very excited to see what Nate does for us, not only this season but over the next couple of years.â€ť
And, in being where he is today, DeAngelo has set his sights on goals which he will most likely reach.
â€śMy goal for this year is probably to get a sub-17 [minutes] at Wickham [Park] and that would be either the championship race this Saturday, the CCCâ€™s, Class L and hopefully the State Open,â€ť DeAngelo said. â€śMy best time is 16:49 and that was Thursday. That was my first time under 17:00.â€ť
Last year the Bristol Central boys team equaled the girlsâ€™ success in winning both the city and CCC South Patriot crowns.
â€śThis year itâ€™s to get top two at Class L and go to the State Open,â€ť DeAngelo said. â€śWe have such a good team and weâ€™re all close in time with our top five boys. Weâ€™re a good overall team, we have a couple of juniors and the future looks good. Next year we will have four of our top seven returning.â€ť
When he began the sport in middle school, DeAngelo found it easy and natural for him, because it runs in the family and he was the best on the team from the very start.
â€śIt was good, it wasnâ€™t too hard,â€ť DeAngelo said. â€śIâ€™m good at it, I enjoy it. You get out and relax. My dad used to run track at Bristol Central and then in college. Heâ€™s the one who got me into it. He thought Iâ€™d be good at it, I was skinny and had the body for it.â€ť
Contact Bob Montgomery at or by calling 860-973-1808.