After establishing itself as the class of Suffolk last season, Sachem East returns the necessary runners to continue their reign in girls cross country. Alexandra DeCicco is the defending Suffolk Class A Champion, running the Sunken Meadow 5K in 19 minutes, 13.55 seconds at the State Qualifier last October. Valerie Romero finished fifth at the qualifier, running a 19:45.53.

This season, DeCicco has picked up right where she left off. She won the 2.5 mile run at the Villa Bears Invitational on Sept. 19 at Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx in 15:10.10. The senior also finished ninth in 18:36.85 in the Division I race at the Queensbury Invitational at Queensbury High School last weekend. Romero was 12th in 19:03.06 and Rachel Ruggiero was 17th in 19:37.12.

Bay Shore also will compete for the top prize in Suffolk. Jasmin Reyes won the Varsity A race in 20:14.73 at the Bob Pratt Invitational on Sept. 19. Bridget Kanaley was second in 20:50.31. The teammates also took the top two spots in the Suffolk Coaches Invitational Varsity B race. Reyes won in 19:57.25. Kanaley was second in 20:04.58.

Shoreham-Wading River was the best in the county at the Suffolk Division Championships last year. Katherine Lee, who went on to win the New York State Class B Public School Championship in Nov, was the top runner at Divisions, finishing the Sunken Meadow 5K in 19:02.17. The Wildcats also won the Class B title at the Suffolk State Qualifier. Lee won in 19:15.38 and Alexandra Hays was second in 19:39.13.

Lee won the sophomore 5K race at the Jim Smith Invitational in 20:30.33 earlier this month at Sunken Meadow State Park. Running the same course, Hays finished third at the Suffolk Coaches Invitational in 20:20.59 last weekend.

Mattituck won Class C at the state qualifier. Melanie Pfennig, a junior, ran a 20:31.41. Pierson, who took Class D, returns Hannah Jungck. The junior was second (21:08.96) behind Shelter Island's Lindsey Gallagher (21:05.73), who also returns.

Pfennig finished sixth in the Varsity B race at the Suffolk Coaches Invitational in 20:47.30 last weekend at Sunken Meadow. At the same meet, Gallagher finished 10th in the Varsity A race in 20:58.66.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

North Shore, a traditional Long Island powerhouse, is looking for their ninth consecutive county title. They won Class B at the Nassau State Qualifiers last November. Morgan Nerud was the top returning Vikings finisher in the rain-soaked race at 19:20.08. Stephanie Bazan and Diana Vizza weren't far behind. Entering the season, the Vikings had won their last 89 duel meets.

Vizza finished second at the Queensbury Invitational in 18:02.53. Bazan was 20th in 19:50.82. Vizza also had the second-best overall time at the Monroe-Woodbury Crusader Classic, running an 18:33.7 on Sept. 19.

Garden City's Steph Gerland returns for her senior season. She won the Nassau Class B Championship at Bethpage State Park in 18:41.84 last season. Gerland was fourth at the Monroe-Woodbury Crusader Classic in 20:24.80.

Syosset won Nassau Class A last season and finished 10th in the State Federation Championship, the highest Long Island finish. The Braves took fifth through 10th at the Nassau State Qualifier. All of those runners, Lauren Gruber, Kayla Beovich, Tracy Go, Tierney Latham, Samantha DeStefani, and Reilly Siebert return. Siebert was the top Braves finisher at the Federation championship, running a 19:19.3.

Beovich finished 10th at the Villa Bears Invitational (2.5 miles) at Van Cortlandt Park in 16:33 on Sept. 19.

Calhoun's Grace Moore has been dominant in Nassau Class A over the last two seasons. Moore won the individual title at state qualifiers in 19:25.61, over half a minute ahead of the next highest finisher.

Moore was second in the Varsity A race last weekend, running a 20:08.45.

Elina Leandrou returns for Oyster Bay, who took home the Class C title last year.

St. Anthony's finished second at the CHSAA Intersectional Championships in November. Gianna Mincone returns after placing eighth at Intersectionals (2.5 miles) in 16:21.01. Nicole Pikulik ran a 22:16.26 at the NSCHSAA League Championships. Pikulik ran a 16:38.65 in the 4K run at the Xavier Invitational this weekend. Colasacco was 15th in 16:55.61.

Deirdre Lewin, Sarah Newman and Julia Bryant return to Kellenberg to defend their NSCHSAA league title. Lewin was seventh in the Varsity A race at the Six Flags Wild Safari Invitational last weekend, running a 19:33. Bennett took eighth in 19:35.