The races are called, by cross country athletes, coaches and fans, “Divisions.”
Divisions are held on the famously — or infamously — difficult 5K course at Sunken Meadow State Park in Kings Park. The meet is a necessity because without it, runners are not permitted to compete in state qualifiers (States”) held at the same location, a week later.
Moreover, it’s a marker in the season that indicates an amplified level of competition, as well as heightened stakes.
There are titles to be either won or lost.
The championship races at Divisions are particularly intimidating since they are comprised of the top five members from each team, in tandem, so they are exceedingly crowded due to the fact that all teams race at the same time regardless of division or whether or not they are in direct competition with one another.
In the boys championship on October 26, a cool, gray day, Islander Kal Lewis’ race was finished in only 16 minutes and 32.42 seconds after the starting pistol sounded. Lewis took second place overall, and first for Division IV. The sophomore was only 10 seconds behind Northport senior Isaiah Claiborne, a Division I school.
The Island’s Joshua Green held his own at 17:20.78. Behind him was Jonas Kinsey at 18:46.61, Brandon Payano at 19:15.83, Domingo “Junior” Gil, 19:22.83, Jack Lang, 19:32.29 and Tyler Gulluscio rounding off the boys team at 20:02.76.
In the girls championship race, Lindsey Gallagher ran a 20:09.81 and ranked 13th overall, but first for Division IV, Following Gallagher, was her younger sister, Emma at 21:59.75; Francesca Frasco was the next Islander to cross the finish with a time of 25:47.45; and Lauren Gurney and Isabella Sherman finished at 28:46.00, and 29:34.00 respectively.