The Guevara twins are back at Miller Place -- and that isn't good news for those looking to run the Panthers down in Suffolk County. Tiana Guevara finished second in last year's state Class B championship, finishing in 18 minutes, 28.8 seconds. Her sister, Talia, ran a 19:11.40 at the Suffolk Division championships last year at Sunken Meadow State Park. Tiana was the only runner in Suffolk to beat Talia last year, coach Fran Sullivan said.
But what makes Miller Place so tough isn't just the existence of the tremendous twins -- it's that there are other Panthers who are nearly as good. Laura Nolan, only a sophomore, finished third overall at last season's Division championships -- giving the Division III power the three top overall times in Suffolk.
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Bayport-Blue Point, which won Division IV last season, return a solid stable of runners. Seniors Courtney and Cassie Dooley -- also twins -- will play a large role in trying to wrap up the Phantoms' fourth straight league title. Brianna Delzell returns after running a 20:31.60 at the Division championships.
Northport, looking for its seventh consecutive division championship, returns as the defending Division I champion. Brigid Brennan, Jackie Thorne, and Amelia Kuehn will lead the squad. Entering the season, the Tigers had won 35 consecutive dual meets.
Bay Shore, the defending Division II champs, returns Jasmin Reyes, Caelyn Reilly, Claire Moran, and Nia McCaslin. As a freshman, Reyes finished third in the Division II race.
Garden City has its own set of sisters. Last season, the Maroon finished fourth in the Class B race. Sophomore Stephanie Gerland ran an 18:34.5 and junior Jen Gerland ran a 19:07.6 at states.
North Shore, coming off a fourth-place finish in the federation championship, has youth on its side. Sophomore Stephanie Bazan finished the federation race in 20:00.2. Another sophomore, Monica Morra, ran the course in 20:14.2. Senior Alexandra Osman, the veteran of the group, finished the federation race in 20:15.8.
Syosset returns three outstanding sophomores -- Lauren Gruber, Kayla Beovich, and Tracy Go. Gruber won the Conference I championship last year, finishing in 19:01.9 at Bethpage State Park. Junior Meghan Galvin and Senior Rachel Quinn also return after qualifying for the state meet.
Friends is the defending Conference IV champion. Isabella Pascucci ran a 20:14.7, good for second, at the conference meet.
The battle between St. Anthony's and Kellenberg will make for an interesting fall.
St. Anthony's is the defending league and intersectional champion. Delaney Worth ran a 19:32.65 at Sunken Meadow last year. Stephanie Leo ran a 20:37.56 at last season's league championships. Shea Bohan and Gina D'Angelo finished seventh and eighth, respectively, in the CHSAA championships.
Kellenberg is looking to qualify for its 14th state Federation meet in the last 15 years. They return Jazmine Fray, one of the top runners on L.I., regardless of classification.
Fray won the league championship as a sophomore in 19:29.49 last season. She finished third at intersectionals, running a 15:15.91 in the 2.5-mile race. Fray already holds the school record at the distance, running a 15:12 at Van Cortlandt Park last year, coach Marty Brown said.
Fray isn't the only runner that makes the Firebirds a strong CHSAA contender. Daniella Joyce finished the league championship 5k in 22:13.01.
Sacred Heart returns Paige Duca, who finished second at intersectionals, running a 15:14.75.