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Cross country teams star at county championships

CHRISTINE GALLAGHER PHOTO The championship Shelter Island School cross country teams. Front row, from left, Abigail Kotula, Lily Garrison, Emma Gallagher, Caitlin Binder, Francesca Frasco, Lauren Gurney, Emma Martinez Majdisova, Lindsey Gallagher and Justine Karen. Back row, form left, Coach Bryan Gallagher, Will Garrison, Kal Lewis, Joshua Green, Jack Lang, Michael Payano, Coach Bryan Knipfing and Coach Jason Green.

CHRISTINE GALLAGHER PHOTO
The championship Shelter Island School cross country teams. Front row, from left, Abigail Kotula, Lily Garrison, Emma Gallagher, Caitlin Binder, Francesca Frasco, Lauren Gurney, Emma Martinez Majdisova, Lindsey Gallagher and Justine Karen. Back row, form left, Coach Bryan Gallagher, Will Garrison, Kal Lewis, Joshua Green, Jack Lang, Michael Payano, Coach Bryan Knipfing and Coach Jason Green.

For the second year in a row, both the boys and girls Shelter Island School’s cross country teams captured the Class D County and League 8 Championship titles. Hearty congratulations to all the members of the teams for another season of hard work and continuing success.

The boys team went 5-0 in league meets for their second undefeated season in a row. Once again, Port Jefferson was their toughest competitor. The boys 2016 winning roster included 12 athletes: senior Will Garrison; juniors Joshua Green and Jack Lang; sophomores Roi Carbajal and Michael Payano; freshmen Jonas Kinsey, Kal Lewis and Walter Richards; 8th graders Domingo Gil, Tyler Gulluscio and Brandon Payano; and 7th grader Pacey Cronin.

The girls team also went 5-0 in league meets for their second undefeated season in a row. Pierson captured the Class D County and League 8 championships in 2014 and remained our strongest rival in 2015, but this year Stony Brook was the team to beat.

The girls 2016 winning roster included 10 athletes: juniors Caitlin Binder, Francesca Frasco, Lindsey Gallagher and Isabella Sherman; sophomores Lily Garrison and Justine Karen; freshmen Emma Gallagher, Lauren Gurney and Abigail Kotula; and 7th grader Emma Martinez Majdisova.

On November 4, the Indians made their last two hour trek of the season to Sunken Meadow State Park to race in the County Championships where it’s decided who the top Class A, Class B, Class C and Class D teams are for both boys and girls in the county. At one end of the spectrum, Class A teams are the largest schools in Suffolk with high school populations well over 1,000 students; at the other end, Class D teams have high school populations of 260 or less. Only seven members of a team can represent a team at the County Championships. The boys representing Shelter Island this year were Garrison, Green, Gulluscio, Kinsey, Lang, Lewis and Payano.

The boys raced the brutal and punishing 5K course first in perfect racing conditions — temperatures in the mid-50s on a calm and dry day. At the starting gun Green and Southold’s Owen Klipstein, running shoulder to shoulder, got the race off to a fast start. As each of the Indians pushed themselves and each other, Shelter Island pulled away for a comfortable victory, taking the top four places in the race.

Many of the boys scored new personal records (PRs). Scoring for the Indians were Lewis in first (17:00.44 – PR), Green in second (17:55.98), Garrison in third (18:15.55 – PR), Kinsey in fourth (18:51.81 – PR), and Lang in ninth (19:56.31 – PR). The remaining Indians, Gulluscio and Payano ran 20:10.81, a PR and 21:46.98, respectively. The Indians scored 19 points to their Stony Brook’s 65, Pierson’s 69 and Southold’s 71. In doing so, Lewis captured the boys Class D county champion title for the second year in a row.

CHRISTINE GALLAGHER PHOTO Lindsey Gallagher on November 4 at Sunken Meadow State Park, leading the pack on her way to her third Class D Suffolk County championship title in a row, and finishing her season undefeated in league competition for the second year in a row.

CHRISTINE GALLAGHER PHOTO
Lindsey Gallagher on November 4 at Sunken Meadow State Park, leading the pack on her way to her third Class D Suffolk County championship title in a row, and finishing her season undefeated in league competition for the second year in a row.

The girls raced next. Representing the Indians were Binder, Frasco, Emma Gallagher, Lindsey Gallagher, Garrison, Gurney and Martinez Majdisova. Lindsey Gallagher led the Class D race from start to finish with a time of 21:09.50, capturing the girls Class D county champion title for the third year in a row and finished her season undefeated in league competition for the second year in a row. Also scoring for the Indians were Emma Gallagher in fourth place (22:35.62), Garrison in fifth (23:08.20), Binder in eighth (23:53.47) and Martinez Majdisova in ninth (23:58.77 – PR). The remaining Indians, Gurney (26:43.85 – PR) and Frasco (26:47.96) brought the rest of the team in well before their competition.

The Indians scored 27 points to their competitors, Stony Brook’s 44 and Pierson’s 53.

Once the races were over, each of the Island teams received their County Championship plaques amidst the many photos being taken by our hard core group of parents and fans. We’re grateful to all our supporters who attended our meets, helped to set up and break down our home course meets and do whatever it takes to support our athletes.

We got an unexpected treat as well after the awards ceremony. MileSplit, the pre-eminent high school running news organization in the country, asked our teams for a post-race video interview. The interview started out with introductions of all the team’s members, the athletes talked about what it took to get them to the Championship, the coaches expressed some thoughts and the interview ended with a fun and very playful debate of who had the better race of the day, the boys or the girls?

Next stop, “States!” Our teams will be traveling to compete on a 5K course at the Cross Country State Championships on Saturday, November 12 at Chenango Valley State Park just outside of Binghamton. We’re told the course is fairly flat, which should provide some fast times. But winter is coming — the forecast calls for temperatures in the 30s with a chance of snow showers on race day.

Wish us health and good luck!

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