After Northport's disappointing showing last weekend in Rhode Island, Brigid Brennan and Jackie Thorne vowed that they'd never let their cross-country team experience the bitter taste of defeat again.
If the Tigers keep running as they did Tuesday, they could hold true to their word.
Brennan took fifth overall in 19:28.4 and Thorne finished 10th in 19:52.7 as Northport won both the overall Suffolk team crown and the Division I title Tuesday in the Division Championships at Sunken Meadow State Park.
The Tigers totaled 74 points. Miller Place, the Division III champion, took second with 97 points on the 5-kilometer course.
It was a very different result than its previous outing for Northport, which finished seventh at the Brown Invitational on Saturday in Warwick, R.I.
"I think Brown definitely motivated us," Brennan said. "We saw we could be beaten."
Brennan said she learned a few things Saturday that she applied to Tuesday's race.
"We decided to take it out a little slower so that we'd feel stronger later in the race," Brennan said. "Last race, I just reflected on the race and realized I had to do something new."
But that doesn't mean that things were easy for the Tigers. Miller Place's trio of Tiana Guevara (18:49.7), twin sister Talia Guevara (19:11.5) and Laura Nolan (19:11.6) went 1-2-3, and the Panthers' five-runner average time of 19:56.72 was second all-time in Suffolk history.
"We always knew we were really close together and we always knew that this year would be the year where we'd be one of the top five teams in the county," Tiana Guevara said. "To come 1-2-3, though, I didn't actually believe it."
But all five of Northport's scorers finished in the top 22 to help seal the title. And with the Tigers eyeing a berth at states, the win was a morale booster.
Said Thorne: "It gives us confidence as a team that we know we can do it."