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    Wednesday, August 17, 2022

    The Day's All-Area Girls' Cross Country Runner of the Year: Bacon Academy's Jordan Malloy

    Bacon Academy senior Jordan Malloy won two Eastern Connecticut Conference cross country titles during her career and added a second-place finish this year behind Woodstock Academy's Linsey Arends. Malloy followed that with a third-place finish in Class M, earning all-state honors. She was named The Day's 2021 All-Area Girls' Cross Country Runner of the Year. (Sean D. Elliot/The Day)

    Growing up, Jordan Malloy wanted to be on Broadway. She attended the Greater Hartford Academy for the Arts for a time during middle school and she can still be found singing alto for the talent-laden Bacon Academy Carolers during their December barnstorming tour of the region.

    Her favorite musical to have seen in person is Wicked. Her favorite Christmas song to sing with the carolers is The Holly and the Ivy.

    But it was during the sixth grade that Malloy ran a mile in her physical education class and turned in the second-fastest time in the school, beaten only by one boy. She soon realized something.

    "I liked running even a little bit more than singing," Malloy said. "Early in my life I didn't take running as seriously. Seventh grade was the first time I ever even joined a team. ... I wasn't terrible at running. I came back to school in Colchester. I realized I did want to run and sing. Singing is still my passion with running."

    Malloy, a senior at Bacon Academy, is The Day's 2021 All-Area Girls' Cross Country Runner of the Year.

    She is a two-time Eastern Connecticut Conference cross country championship, winning her first two seasons competing for the Bobcats. As a freshman, she upended defending champion Mady Whittaker of Montville for a four-second victory. The following year, Malloy beat Woodstock Academy's Linsey Arends by a second in a sprint to the finish, becoming the first repeat champion at the league meet in more than a decade.

    This season, a year after the postseason was canceled due to COVID-19, Malloy finished second in the ECC to Arends, then finished third in the Class M state championship in 20 minutes, 29 seconds, earning all-state honors and advancing to the State Open.

    Arends' comments about Malloy following the ECC championship meet at Norwich Golf Course seem to be an indication of how highly regarded Malloy is in the cross country community.

    "Jordan and I, I would say we're 'frenemies,'" Arends said. "We're rivals but I consider her a close friend because we've been running against each other for so long, even if she beats me or I beat her, I know that we're rooting for each other despite the fact that we want to win.

    "Jordan is an amazing runner and I think everyone can recognize when their competition is just as good as them and that you have an even match. It's so special to run cross country with so many amazing girls. She is such a great winner and a gracious person in general. She's not egotistical. She's humble. She's kind. It just makes you feel good, even when she beats you. It's like, 'She's such an amazing person.' You can't get mad about that."

    Malloy signed a letter of intent to run beginning next season at Stonehill College in Easton, Mass., a team which has qualified for the NCAA Division II championship for 21 straight seasons. The Skyhawks finished second this year at the NCAA Division II East Regional and in the Northeast-10 Conference.

    Malloy, who received a partial scholarship based both on athletics and academics, plans to major in anthropology with a minor in environmental studies. She went to work at Provider Farm in Salem during the pandemic and calls her family "outdoorsy," in general, as the Malloys also like to hike and ski.

    Bacon Academy grad Andrew Janus is member of the men's cross country team at Stonehill and invited Malloy to visit.

    "It wasn't even my top choice," she said. "But once I met the team ... I went on an official tour there and I was able to watch them practice, I got to see the athletic facilities, I ate dinner with the team. Coach (Karen) Boen was really amazing."

    Malloy didn't achieve everything she hoped for this season, exactly. She ran her personal best time for 5,000 meters last season, finishing a dual meet with Waterford at Harkness Park in 19:19. Her best time this season was 19:28.

    But she remains grateful.

    "I'm still very happy we could run at Wickham (Park, home of the prestigious Wickham Invitational, as well as the state championship meets and State Open) again. We had ECCs. I love my team and my coaches. It was great to be back with everyone," Malloy said. "I didn't get a PR this year but that's OK; I still have college."

    Malloy is a two-time ECC 1,600-meter champion in outdoor track and has two third-place finishes in the Class M state championship indoors in the that event.

    "I think when I won ECCs freshman year I gained some more confidence," said Malloy of the moment she burst onto the scene in the conference, that day calling the win a dream come true.

    "I think (my goal is) definitely just being consistent with my workouts. I've matured a lot more mentally and also physically. ... I'm very grateful for having that honor to win ECCs two times. It's a little bit sad it's my senior year. I'm happy I have some more running in high school."

    v.fulkerson@theday.com

    Bacon Academy's Jordan Malloy finished her career with a pair of ECC cross country championships, adding a second-place finish this year. Malloy is also an avid singer - you can find her this holiday season making several appearances in the community with the Bacon Academy Carolers. She was named The Day's All-Area Girls' Cross Country Runner of the Year for the second straight season and she signed a letter of intent to run in the future for Division II standout Stonehill College in Easton, Mass. (Sean D. Elliot/The Day)

    The Day's 2021 All-Area Girls' Cross Country Team

    Player of the Year - Jordan Malloy (Bacon Academy)

    Maya D'Aquila (East Lyme)

    Kennedy Holsapple (East Lyme)

    Clare Inyang (Ledyard)

    Sophia Jones (NFA)

    Izzy Paggioli (East Lyme)

    Maya Suarez (Montville)

    Aranza Torres (East Lyme)

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