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Kal Lewis best in New York State

Kal Lewis

Kal Lewis, known on Shelter Island as a talented high school athlete, has widened his horizons.

The Shelter Island High School  sophomore is now known statewide, taking the 2017 New York State Class D boys championship cross country title on November 11.

Lewis competed with the best athletes from across the state and won the 5K race going away with a time of 16:44.6 — 15 seconds ahead of his nearest competitor— on an upstate course in Ontario Center.

Lewis joins Janelle Kraus as one the only Shelter Island athletes to bring home a State Championship cross country title.

The championship race was run in abysmal course conditions of ice, snow, mud and pools of water and muck. Lewis’ strategy was to break fast and stay ahead of the pack, and he executed his plan to a tee.

At the 1,600 meter mark, his closest opponent, Michael Peppy of Maple Grove, was five seconds behind and at 3,200 meters Lewis pulled eight seconds ahead of him.

With a 1,000 meters to go, the Islander continued to grind it out, widening his lead.

Entering the approach to the finish, Lewis could see his dream of a state title in sight, and gutted it out through the finish line to win with that 15 second lead.

After the race, the young champion credited Coach Toby Green for teaching him race tactics and  team captain Joshua Green for pushing him all season.

Class D represents the smallest schools in Suffolk County, and doesn’t always get recognized among the big schools. Lewis has changed that.

As a freshman, he first turned heads when he broke the course record for the 1.47 mile Sunken Meadow freshman course with a time of 7:15.03, breaking the former record by over four seconds. Suffolk County athletes have been running at Sunken Meadow for more than 50 years, yet Lewis’ time is the best.

Earlier this season, he won the Brown Invitational 5K in Rhode Island, in the Small Schools race with a time of 15:27.24. For most of the season, it stood as the fastest 2017 5K time in New York. Lewis also took first place at the Tom Knipfing Invitational 5K with a time of 16:17.65.

Other notable races this season were his second place finish at the Division Championship race on the hilly Sunken Meadow State Park course with a time of 16:32.42, second only to Northport’s Isaiah Claiborne, a senior, who won Suffolk County’s Runner of the Year Award.

With that performance, Lewis broke a Shelter Island school record, which had stood for over 30 years.

This past spring, Lewis qualified and competed at the New Balance Nationals Outdoor Championships in North Carolina in the freshman 2-mile race and took 10th place with a time of 10:06.21, breaking another Shelter Island school record.

Before going to the State Championship in Ontario Center, Lewis won his third Class D Suffolk County Championship title.

Another Shelter Island athlete, senior Lindsey Gallagher, also topped off her cross country season on a high note. This year Gallagher earned All-League, All-Division and All-County Honors.

KRISTINA LANGE PHOTO Lindsey Gallagher, running second, on her way to victory at the New York State cross country championships November 11 on the upstate course at Ontario Center.
Lindsey Gallagher, running second, on her way to victory at the New York State cross country championships November 11 on the upstate course at Ontario Center.

For the fourth year in a row, Gallagher won the Class D County Championship title.

A Class D force to be reckoned with, she hasn’t lost a league cross country meet in the past three years. She’s won first place finishes in 23 of 24 league meets over her four-year career.

As a testament to her character, and the respect she has for her opponents, Gallagher was awarded the Section XI Class D sportsmanship award. Her sportsmanship was evidenced at the County Championship when Stony Brook’s number one runner, senior Miranda Harrigan, went down at the two-mile mark of the County Championship race and didn’t finish.

Lindsey immediately made her way to Harrigan where she was being treated at the finish line to ensure she was O.K.

Knowing the mental anguish that Harrigan, a fellow runner, must have been feeling not finishing the state qualifying race, Gallagher gave her the County Championship plaque to help ease her pain.

At the State Championships, Gallagher ran a 17th place finish, earning All-State honors. She joins the ranks of talented athletes such as Kevin Dickens, Toby Green, Alexis Hamblet, Vanessa Hamblet, Janelle Kraus, Kal Lewis and Tara Wilson who also achieved All-State honors in their high school cross country careers.

Running on pure heart, with her incredible kick she improved her position from 20th to 17th in the last 800 meters of the race. It was a joy to see the huge smile and glow on her face when she knew that she had achieved her goal of finally earning All-State.

Gallagher has also made her mark on her hometown’s record books, holding the Shelter Island cross country girls record for the 1.47 mile Sunken Meadow freshman course with a time of 8:47.88; our 2.5 mile home course at Goat Hill with 16:04; and she holds the number two spot behind Kraus, with a Sunken Meadow 5K time of 20:09.81.

A natural athlete with incredible range, Gallagher also holds the girls’ school records for the 200 meter dash, the 300 meter dash, the 400 meter dash, the 600 meter dash, the 1,000 meter run and the 1 mile run. In the 100 meter dash, the 800 meter run, the 1500 meter run and the 3,000 meter run, she holds spots in the top three.