Manhasset's Kayleigh Caggiano wasn't quite sure if she was doing it right.
Four hundred meters into yesterday's Nassau girls cross county Class II championship at Bethpage State Park, she began seeing competitors start to fall behind. Did she go out too hard? Was she going to hit a wall in the final mile?
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It was, appropriately on Halloween, a frightening thought.
"I honestly didn't think I would be able to pull through," Caggiano said.
But the senior was soon pleasantly mistaken. She was not only doing it right, she was doing it best.
Caggiano won the 5K race in 19 minutes, 22.42 seconds. Great Neck North's Samantha Law was second in 19:25.98.
Caggiano ran her personal record (18:53.35) at the Brown Invitational earlier this month. The performance gave her tremendous confidence entering the postseason.
"It let me know that I could actually do it," she said of the Brown time. "I can break 20 minutes and be up with these girls that are getting first and second at these state meets. I got the confidence that I could go out, run with them and do well."
Caggiano's victory helped Manhasset win the team title with 47 points. Catherine Matteo, Caggiano's training partner, was the next highest Manhasset finisher, placing fifth in 19:52.59.
Syosset's Reilly Siebert helped her team win the Class I title by taking the individual crown in 18:29.20.
"My plan was just to go out easy the first mile, stay with the front girls, and once we got up the hill, just go and work on running a fast time," Siebert said.
The sophomore said she felt "really good" at the one-mile mark and went out on her own shortly after.
"My breathing was under control and I felt like I could keep going faster," Siebert said. ". . . Around the one-and-a-half mile mark, I stopped feeling everyone's footsteps behind me. I knew that I was by myself and could keep going."
Port Washington's Maria Kogan was second in 19:04.25.
Syosset scored 30 points in the win with freshman Melissa Esswein finishing fifth in 19:31.09. The Braves also took finished seven through nine.
Cold Spring Harbor's Daniela LoCastro continued her dominance of Class III, winning her third consecutive title, this time in 18:22.40. Locust Valley's Roisin O'Neill was second in 19:46.66.
"I wanted to go out hard and try to keep a lead," LoCastro said. "I wasn't sure if people were going to come with me, but I wanted to get out fast because there were a lot of girls and I didn't want to be stuck behind a wall."
North Shore scored 22 points and won the class for its ninth consecutive county title, coach Neal Levy said. The Vikings took third through sixth, including Emma Rivera, who took third in 20:09.38.