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Champions four years in a row, cross country teams take county title

The winning girls cross country team after the State Qualifiers race November 1. From left, Madison Springer, Ariana Carter, Olivia Overstreet, Coach Bryan Gallagher, Emma Gallagher, Kaitlyn Gulluscio and Sophie Clark.

In an extraordinary accomplishment of dedication, heart and commitment to their sport, their coaches and each other, the boys and girls Shelter Island varsity cross country teams have taken the Class D county championship title for the fourth year in a row.

The boys champion cross country team, post-race at Sunken Meadow. From left, Jonas Kinsey, Domingo Gil, Nick Mamisashvili, Pacey Cronin, Michael Payano, Kal Lewis, Tyler Gulluscio and Coach Toby Green.

Section XI, the Suffolk County Athletic governing body, scheduled the Cross Country State Qualifiers (aka County Championships) at Sunken Meadow State Park for Friday, November 2.

The grim mid-week forecast for Friday called for high winds, heavy rain and a chance of thunderstorms — a possible deal breaker. But the weather system moved slower than predicted and we were able to get in all of our races before the storm arrived Friday night.

The Sunken Meadow 5K course is one of the most brutal courses in the state. The girls were the first to race it. Junior Emma Gallagher took second place with a time of 23:52.44 minutes; freshman Ariana Carter third in 28:27.67; freshman Olivia Overstreet fourth in 30:36.21; 8th grader Madison Springer fifth in 35:46.13; 7th grader Kaitlyn Gulluscio sixth in 42:21.00; and 7th grader Sophie Clark seventh in 42:34.00.

In losing six out of seven girls from our championship team the last three years running, big congratulations are due this totally revamped and very young team, who kept our winning tradition alive.

The boys were up next. Junior Kal Lewis led the field by well over a minute, posting a first place finish in 17:23.26, successfully defending his Class D individual championship title for the fourth year in a row. Sophomore Domingo Gil came in second with 18:45.03, a personal record (PR), junior Jonas Kinsey third in 19:08.61; sophomore Tyler Gulluscio fourth in 19:12.47; senior Michael Payano seventh in 20:25.47; sophomore Nicholas Mamisashvili eighth in 20:34.82 (PR); and freshman Pacey Cronin eleventh in 21:36.90 (PR).

The next and final races for the teams are the State Championships this Saturday, November 10. For the first time in nine years, Suffolk County will be hosting the championships at Sunken Meadow, so all our local teams will have “home court” advantage.

The Suffolk teams have raced the course many times and know exactly what to expect from the misleading flat and fast start to the gut-wrenching duo of Snake (aka Hernia and Cardiac) Hill.

The girls Class D championship is scheduled for 9 a.m.; the boys Class D championship scheduled for 11 a.m.

Lewis will be defending his Class D state championship title against very strong competition.

The more fans we can get to cheer us on, the better. As any runner knows, when you think you’ve pushed yourself to the limits through mid-race and on to the finish, thinking there is nothing left, it’s amazing what the cheers of friends, family and a hometown crowd can do for that much-needed surge of energy.

We hope to see you Saturday!