This time last year, St. Anthony's cross-country runner Patrick Ginty just wanted a chance. After transferring from Smithtown High School following his sophomore year, Ginty was forced to sit out all championship races during his junior season, as per CHSAA rule.
But the wait was well worth it. Ginty finished first in Sunday's CHSAA boys cross country championship at Sunken Meadow State Park, finishing the 5-kilometer race in 16 minutes, 37 seconds.
"Sitting out last year was really hard," Ginty said. "Getting to run with my teammates really meant a lot."
Ginty's individual finish helped secure St. Anthony's second consecutive team championship, ahead of Chaminade and St. John the Baptist, second and third, respectively, in the seven-team race.
"It shows the excellence of our program," coach Tim Dearie said. "We graduated four key guys from our varsity [last season]. The younger guys know that it's their time to step up each year and they do it seamlessly."
Dearie said that he was proud of the way his team ran in tough, windy conditions. "The conditions definitely affected the day," he said. "It wasn't a day to worry about fast times. It was really a strategic race and the kids ran it that way."
The boys weren't the only team from St. Anthony's to take home a team title. The St. Anthony's girls, led by second-place finisher Delaney Worth, also won their second consecutive CHSAA title.
"It's always been a total team effort," St. Anthony's coach Delia Hopkins said.
The individual portion of the CHSAA girls championship was a sizzling sprint to the end. In a race in which the first four all crossed the finish line within a minute of each other, Kellenberg's Jazmine Fray took first in the 5k race in 19:29.
"It was a great race," Hopkins said. "There were four kids really battling to win."