Calhoun sophomore Grace Moore wins the Class I individual title at Bethpage State Park
Calhoun's Grace Moore isn't much for overthinking. For her, racing is simple -- just shoot to the front of the pack and stay there -- there's nothing to it.
"I didn't really have a plan," Moore said. "I just wanted first place. That's all I knew. It's pretty simple. You just run."
She clearly has the right idea. Moore, a sophomore, won the Class I individual title, finishing the championship 5K in 18 minutes, 39.5 seconds at the Nassau Class Championship Meet Saturday at Bethpage State Park.
Because of her fast start, Moore built a considerable lead early in the race and never relinquished it.
"My start was fast, but comfortable," she said. "I wasn't sprinting out, but it was fast."
It wasn't long before Moore was all alone -- not that she noticed.
"I wasn't looking behind me that much," Moore said. "I was just looking straight ahead. I kept my lead, kept going faster, and kept motivating myself."
Since no one was on her tail, Moore was charged with the task of keeping her own energy up. "I just told myself that I can't settle," she said. "I just kept pushing."
Moore was part of a youthful theme in Class I. Six of the first seven finishers were sophomores or younger. Three of the first six places went to eighth-graders.
Eighth-grader Reilly Siebert led Syosset, the Class I team champion which finished with 35 points. Siebert finished second in 19:13.3. Her teammate, sophomore Lauren Gruber, finished third in 19:33.7. Kayla Beovich, also a sophomore, finished seventh in 20:07.8.
"I love how young our team is," Gruber said. "We're lucky because we have that many more years to improve. That's really cool."
As for Siebert's race, Gruber could do nothing but gush.
"Reilly was unbelievable," Gruber said. "I am so proud of her. She is a stud. People better watch out for her. She is going to be amazing."
The Gerland sisters led Garden City to a Class II triumph. Stephanie Gerland won in 18:35.2. Her older sister, Jen, finished second in 19:18.1. Garden City scored 46 points.
"Stephanie always goes out hard," Jen said. "I usually don't go out that hard, but today I wanted to try and stay with her for as long as possible and kick at the end."
Stephanie added: "I went out fast because I had energy. By the halfway point, I had a pretty good lead."
North Shore (25 points) won the Class III team title -- its seventh straight class county championship, according to coach Neal Levy. The group, running in a pack, took third through seventh place. Alexandra Osman (20:01.9) led the Vikings.
"It was planned out," Osman said. "We're all relatively around the same time. It was just about everyone pushing each other to run faster."
Cold Spring Harbor's Daniela LoCastro won the individual title in 19:11.1. LoCastro, only a sophomore, continued the meet's youthful theme.
"I gave myself a good lead to start out," LoCastro said. "I went out hard and tried to maintain that pace for as long as I could."