On Friday, Nov. 8, the Shelter Island varsity boys and girls cross country teams ran at the Section XI Cross Country County Championships at Sunken Meadow State Park.
And the boys team, for the fifth year in a row, brought the county title back to Shelter Island.
The day brought us our first real winter blast, with temperatures in the mid-30s and winds steady at 15-20, with gusts up to 30. But wait. It’s not winter yet. A sport known for being really raw at times, that weather stuff doesn’t matter in cross country because the race must go on. But with the wind chill around 25 degrees, it was brutal for runners and spectators alike.
The Shelter Island boys raced first in the Class D race. It was essentially Shelter Island versus Southold for the county title. Southold made big gains over last season, recruiting a whole new crop of fresh, young and fast talent. The Settlers gave the Indians a run for their money, but in the end, the Indians defeated Southold 24-31, successfully defending their Class D county title.
Twelve athletes from each class advanced to the State Championship. This win advances the top seven from the boys team to the New York State Public High School Cross Country Championship with the top five Southold performers going as individuals.
Scoring for the Indians, senior Kal Lewis took first place in 16:40.82, a full two minutes ahead of the second place finisher. Junior Tyler Gulluscio took third in 19:05.87; senior Jonas Kinsey took fourth in 19:27.56; junior Domingo Gil took sixth in 19:46.83; and junior Nicholas Mamisashvili took tenth in 20:20.92. The remaining Indians ran as follows: sophomore Pacey Cronin 20:34.59; and junior Jason Green 21:15.22,, a new personal record (PR).
The Shelter Island girls raced next for the Class D county title. The girls county title was on the line as well, a title they have held for four years in a row. The competition was made up of Pierson’s team and some individuals from Southold and Greenport. The Pierson/ Bridgehampton girls team moved up to Class C last season because their enrollment grew. This year they dropped their cross country affiliation with Bridgehampton to lower their enrollment numbers and dropped back into the Class D bracket again.
Going into the race, Pierson was favored to win. But that did not stop the lady Indians from giving their best. Scoring for the Indians, senior Emma Gallagher took fifth place with her season’s best of 24:47.56; sophomore Ariana Carter took eighth in 26:01.50 (PR); freshman Madison Springer took tenth place in 26:45.95 (PR); seventh grader Jennifer Fabian Santos took eleventh place in 27:02.18 (PR); and sophomore Olivia Overstreet took thirteenth in 27:49.16 (PR). The sixth Indian to cross the finish line was eighth grader Sophie Clark who ran 34:35.10 (PR).
The girls did truly run their hearts out like no other race this season, and have much to be proud of, but the Pierson team won in the end by a score of 23-33. Pierson’s top six (they only had six) will advance to States as a team. Advancing as individuals to the State Championships are Emma Gallagher and Ariana Carter along with three Southold athletes.
The last and final race of the 2019 cross country season will be the State Championships held at SUNY-Plattsburgh on Saturday, Nov. 16. A mere 25 miles from Canada, all the athletes from Suffolk County are headed for the North Country, or, shall I say, the far North Country and whatever weather it brings us.
The Plattsburgh forecast right now calls for temperatures in the low to mid-20s, which our day at Sunken Meadow prepared us for. The Plattsburgh course is a super flat and fast 5K, but there will be some snow falling throughout the week that may make things a little more interesting.
We shall see when we get there. Wish us luck.