Runner of the Year: Ana Markovina, Jericho, Jr.
Not only could the rest of Nassau not catch up with Markovina, they could barely see her. The junior was dominant, leaving the field looking for her and not finding her until they approached the line. She was already there and, in some cases, already starting her cool-down.
Markovina won the Sectional Nassau championship — a race that pitted the best runners in Nassau against each other, regardless of class — in 17 minutes, 59.23 seconds on the 5-kilometer course at Eisenhower Park in East Meadow. The time was over half-a-minute faster than the field.
A week earlier, Markovina was even more dominant on the Eisenhower Park course, winning the Nassau Class II title in 17:58.76, 1:29.53 ahead of the field.
Markovina said she spent the summer and fall refining the way she raced, and it clearly worked.
"I used to get very exhausted, lose a lot of confidence in myself, and just give up," she said. "But I [re-shaped] the way I run. I keep my head up, work hard, and don’t give up. I think positive now. I know my ability. I just run and try to have fun and run a good time at the same time."
Jackie Amato, Westhampton, Sr.
She plays lacrosse in the spring, but Amato scored on the cross country course in the ‘fall season’. She won the Suffolk Class B championship in 15:20.97 on the 2.5-mile course at Sunken Meadow State Park.
Julia Bell, Ward Melville, Jr.
She was third in the Suffolk Class A championship, clocking a 15:33.28 on the 2.5-mile course at Sunken Meadow State Park. Bell was second in the Division I championship in 15:50.39 and helped Ward Melville win the team title.
Nicole Conklin, Syosset, Jr.
She was a key part of Syosset’s Nassau Class I team championship. The junior followed that up with a fourth-place finish at the Sectional Nassau championship, running a 19:14.56 on the 5k course at Eisenhower Park.
Greta Flanagan, Oyster Bay, Sr.
The senior was second in the Sectional Nassau championship in 18:35.22 on the 5k course at Eisenhower Park. On the same grounds a week earlier, she was second in the Nassau Class II championship in 19:32.49.
Zariel Macchia, Floyd, 8th grader
She took the reigns as the top runner in Suffolk and literally ran away with them. The middle schooler won the Suffolk Class A championship in 14:49.90 on the 2.5-mile course at Sunken Meadow State Park. She also won the Division I championship in 15:00.52.
Alexandra Stasichin, Massapequa, Sr.
She dominated the Nassau Class I championship, winning in 18:20.96 on the 5k course at Eisenhower Park, 47.68 seconds ahead of the field. The senior was third in the Sectional Nassau championship in 18:38.87.
Grace Weigele, Whitman, Sr.
She finished second at the Suffolk Class A championship, running a 15:12.05 on the 2.5-mile course at Sunken Meadow State Park. She was second in the Division II championship in 15:25.23.
Coach of the Year: Neal Levy, North Shore
When it was time for North Shore to go up against all Nassau schools, regardless of class, they delivered. Using their patented ‘team running’ strategy, Levy’s group won the Sectional Nassau championship with 52 points. They also won the Nassau Class III championship, their 15th consecutive class county championship.