The Shelter Island School boys and girls cross country teams finished league play undefeated on Tuesday, beating Port Jefferson and coming away champions of Suffolk County’s League VIII.
On Port Jeff’s 2.8 mile home course at Sunken Meadow State Park Tuesday the boys battled every inch of the way. Going into the race, both teams had undefeated records of 3-0, but the Indians came out on top, 26-29. A team effort, many of our boys overcame considerable distances to gain positions in the latter stages of the race.
With less than a mile to go in the race, the Royals were leading by a narrow margin. Digging deep, Will Garrison was passed two Royals and Jack Kimmelmann passed another to even the score. Nearing the finish line, there was incredible drama as Jason Green fought off a late surge at the finish line to beat a Royal by only two tenths of a second.
Jonas Kinsey also had to fight off a Royal in a shoulder-to-to shoulder 250 meter sprint to the finish to best his opponent by only a second, sealing the Indians’ victory. Scoring for the Indians were Kal Lewis taking 1st (15:04), Green taking 3rd (15:43), Garrison taking 5th (15:54), Kimmelmann taking 7th (16:22) and Kinsey taking 10th (17:23). The remaining Indians completed the team’s performance as follows: Darien Hunter (17:48), Michael Payano (18:35) and Liam Adipietro (19:34).
Not to be out done, the girls team finished their league competition with a perfect 4-0 record, also capturing the league championship. The girls outran the Lady Royals by a score of 17-48. After narrowly missing the championship last year in only their first year of competition, the girls team continued to work hard, earning this championship through dedication and team building. Scoring for the Indians were Lindsey Gallagher taking 1st place (18:33), Caitlin Binder taking 2nd (18:59), Emma Gallagher taking 3rd (19:39), Francesca Frasco taking 5th (21:36) and Lily Garrison taking 6th (21:37).
The remaining Indians ran well; Elizabeth Cummings took 7th (22:06) and Olivia Yeaman took 10th (24:03), followed by Lauren Gurney (25:32) and freshman Justine Karen (25:38) running her first cross country race.
With these championships, both the Shelter Island boys and girls, the youngest teams in their leagues, have accomplished a feat that hasn’t been achieved in over 15 years.
Earlier, on October 8, both teams raced at Red Creek Park in Hampton Bays at the Westhampton Cross Country Invitational. All our freshman and middle school athletes competed in freshman races on a 1.55 mile course. Our older athletes competed in 5K races.
In the boys freshman race, Lewis ran well ahead of the pack and took 1st place (8:10), 8th grader Adipietro placed 5th (9:51), 7th grader Tyler Gulluscio placed 9th (10:22) and 8th grader Walter Richards placed 10th (10:36). In the girls freshman race, Emma Gallagher dominated her competition and took 1st place (9:34), Garrison placed 5th (11:05), Cummings placed 7th (12:41) and Gurney placed 10th (12:53).
The upperclassmen raced next in 5K races. The boys placed 2nd out of 6 teams. All the Indians earned new personal records (PR), besting their Red Creek times by 30 seconds or more.
Our girls’ team raced next among 57 athletes, but The Indians didn’t score as a team because only four girls raced, and the minimum to score as a team is five. Lindsey Gallagher, with her strongest cross country performance yet, placed 1st (20:39 PR), with Binder placing 5th (22:56 PR). Frasco placed 13th (24:01) and junior Yeaman placed 41st (28:35), both besting their previous Red Creek times by more than 45 seconds!
With our league competition behind us, our teams are more committed than ever to season-ending training preparing to place well in the Division Championships as well as the Class D County Championship, which will take place on Tuesday, October 27 and Friday, November 8, respectively.
Next week’s race, the Division Championships, will have both teams matched up against much larger Class C schools including Babylon, Center Moriches, Mattituck, Mercy, Ross and Southampton. Wish our Indians health and good luck!