Westhampton's Gavin Ehlers runs toward the finish line to take second...

Westhampton's Gavin Ehlers runs toward the finish line to take second place in the state Class B boys race at Chenengo Valley State Park on Nov. 13, 2021.  Credit: Heather Ainsworth

Runner of the Year: Gavin Ehlers, Westhampton, Sr.

Ehlers was clearly the top runner on Long Island this season – and one of the best in the state.

Ehlers placed second in Class B in 15 minutes, 54.2 seconds at the public school state championships at Chenango Valley State Park. The time was the third-fastest in the state, regardless of class.

In the Class B race, Ehlers matched up with LaSalle Institute’s Gitch Hayes – the top runner in the state – and took him to the wire.

"I felt like I gave him pretty much all I could," Ehlers said. "I had a shot at him for most of that race."

A week later, Ehlers placed fourth at the state Federation championships in 15:58.2 – the only Long Islander to place in the top 10 and one of only two in the top 20. Ehlers also won at the Suffolk State Qualifiers (16:34.98), the Suffolk Division Championships (16:24.90), and the Bob Pratt Invitational (16:39.30), all at Sunken Meadow State Park.

He placed third at the very competitive Manhattan College Cross Country Invitational in 12:33.0 at Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx.

Nassau Runner of the Year: Colin Funk, Port Washington, Sr.

Colin Funk of Port Washington wins the class A boys...

Colin Funk of Port Washington wins the class A boys Nassau County state cross country qualifier at Bethpage State Park on Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021. Credit: Jim McIsaac

Funk shined in the postseason, winning a competitive Class A race at the Nassau State Qualifier in 16:03.86 at Bethpage State Park. A week later, Funk was 16th in Class A in 16:38.7 at the state public school championships, the fastest time in Nassau that day.

Funk also earned a third-place finish in Class I (16:44.33) at the Nassau Class County Championships and a second place finish (16:48.23) in the Varsity B race at the Nassau Coaches Invitational, both at Bethpage State Park.

Amokrane Aouchiche, Mepham, Sr.

Aouchiche won the Varsity B race at the Nassau Coaches Invitational in 16:22.55. He also took top honors in the Class I race in 16:16.42 at the Nassau Class County Championships and was second in the Class A race at the Nassau State Qualifiers in 16:10.19.

Trevor Hayes, Westhampton, Soph.

He was 15th in Class B at the public school state championships in 16:49.3 at Chenango Valley State Park. Hayes finished third in Class B at the Suffolk State Qualifier in 16:46.33 at Sunken Meadow State Park.

Max Haynia, Westhampton, Jr.

Haynia was consistently second behind Ehlers on Long Island’s top team. He finished seventh in Class B at the public school state championships in 16:26.9 and was 30th at the state Federation meet in 16:45.3.

Aidan Neilson, Deer Park, Sr.

Neilson was 20th at the state Federation championships in 16:35.3 at Bowdoin State Park in Wappingers Falls, one of only two Long Islanders to finish in the top 20. He also won the St. Anthony’s Invitational in 16:34.71 at Sunken Meadow State Park.

Andrew Rosenblatt, Commack, Sr.

He was 17th in Class A at the public school state championships in 16:39.2 at Chenango Valley State Park. Rosenblatt also won the Class A race at the Suffolk State Qualifier in 16:39.08 at Sunken Meadow State Park.

Coach of the Year: Jack Ryan, Westhampton

He guided one of the best teams in the state all fall. The Hurricanes finished second in Class B and fifth overall at the public school state championships and were sixth at the state Federation championships. Ryan stepped down after the season to pursue a career in the Air Force.

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