Around the Island

Island cross country runners take top spots at 5K

Shelter Island High School cross country athletes took the top three spots for the men running Saturday’s 5K. Kal Lewis, 17, posted a 15:40.43 time to break the tape for the second consecutive year.

He was followed by Tyler Gulluscio, 16, who ran the course in 17:46.59 and Domingo Gil, 18, who posted a time of 18:15.2.

While the teammates were happy with their showing, they were quiet victors. Shelter Island School Athletic Director Todd Gulluscio said the 5K generally falls before a team meet and it’s typical of most of them to jog the course, saving their all-out runs for the regular meet. That was not the case this week with no meet scheduled.

The boys gave it their all on Saturday for one of the Island’s most beloved charities, benefitting those suffering breast and women’s cancer and finding cures.

BEVERLEA WALZ PHOTO Kal Lewis flying to the finish to take first place.

Kris Sanderson, 32, of Sag Harbor placed first for the women runners with a time of 21:00.44. She was the 15th runner across the finish line at Crescent Beach, followed by Gemma O’Brien, 40, of New York City taking second among the women with a time of 23:21.59. Ruby Villani, 12, of Mattituck finished third among the women with a time of 23:27.44.

Stacey Kehl, 26, was the first Shelter Island woman across the line with a time of 23:49.05.
Islander Louise O’Regan Clark, 53 —the perennial winner in her division — was the top walker with a time of 34:40.55.

It was a perfect day for racers with a bright sun in the sky but cool enough to keep the racers comfortable on the course.

Race Director Mary Ellen Adipietro said, on her 20th anniversary at the helm of the race, the real winners were the three organizations that profit from the event — the North Fork Breast Health Coalition, the Coalition for Women’s Cancers at Stony Brook Southampton Hospital and Lucia’s Angels.

“We’ll be here just as long as it takes” to find a cure, Ms. Adipietro said. “We just want to help people.”

Dr. Frank Adipietro greeted runners at the start on West Neck Road next to the Shelter Island Country Club golf course. Along with Mike Rauh, who called the times for participants at the finish line, Dr. Adipietro echoed his wife’s words that they’ll be working the race until there’s a cure.

Charlie Dlhopolsky, 50, of New York City said he’s been running this race for more than 15 years, originally because it was a beautiful course, but later it took on a meaning in his life when his mother-in-law and sister had breast cancer diagnoses.

Former Shelter Island School superintendent Christine Finn was present, greeting friends and saying it’s nice to be back on the Island to join some former colleagues on course.

Charlie Sanders of Greenport pronounced it a perfect day, and John Van Laere of Yaphank agreed, noting the clear, mild autumn weather.

“You’re looking great out there, folks,” Dr. Adipietro pronounced, calling the race “humanity at its best.”

Former Planning Board chairman Paul Mobius won the caregiver’s award that goes to one who shares love and kindness in coming to the aid of a special person in need. He told the crowd that when he married his wife, Dorothy, 63 years ago, she said she would take care of him forever.

“I said the same and that’s what I’m doing,” he said. Their grandson Miles presented him with the award.

Linda Zavatto was awarded a prize for bringing in the most money, more than $8,000, while Towny Montant placed second, with his Flamingo Team raising $1,500. Ms. Zavatto said she began raising funds for the effort 16 years ago to honor her mother who succumbed to breast cancer. Mr. Montant, who lost his wife to breast cancer eight years ago, encouraged people to get screened.

The team with the most members were a group calling themselves “Ben’s Friends,” to honor the late Ben Jones, who died in 2018. Team Heaven Can Wait placed second.

A group of EMS workers were on site “just in case,” with Jim Preston describing their work as “hours of boredom punctuated by moments of sheer terror.” On Saturday, there was no sheer terror.

A full rundown of 328 runners and 124 walkers is available on the website with course times for each.