The guard has changed resoundingly in Nassau Class A cross country, and it’s Manhasset, a newcomer to the group, who rules the roost. Fresh off a dominant performance in the Nassau Class II championship last weekend, Manhasset continued their stranglehold on the county with a double take-worthy performance at the Nassau State Qualifier Saturday at Bethpage State Park.
Manhasset put six runners under 17 minutes and took three of the top four places en route to a 26-point victory. The win, coming in its first year in Class A, will send the Indians to the public school state championships, scheduled for Nov. 11 at Wayne Central High School in Ontario Center.
Aidan Caggiano won the 5-kilometer race in 16 minutes, 24.21 seconds. John Cyprus was second in 16:25.10 and Ryan Watson was fourth in 16:30.08. Syosset’s Justin DePinto wedged into third with a 16:29.86.
“In terms of competition, you had teams like Syosset, who is a really young squad and, I feel like, is up there with us where we rank in the state, just in terms of the talent,” Caggiano said. “It’s definitely a different level than Class B, for sure. It’s not much of a difference of an [individual] field, it’s just more of a team thing.”
Caggiano said Manhasset basically passed on the regular season, choosing instead to train for big performances in the postseason. So far, that strategy is yielding tremendous payoffs, with Manhasset’s confidence sky-high heading into next weekend’s public school state championship.
“Cross country is all about momentum,” Caggiano said. “It’s all about getting into a rhythm with your races. The more consistent you are, the more your trend goes upward. I feel like, race after race, I’m gaining more confidence and I’m getting better.”
North Shore won the Class B team title (43 points). Jack Rosencrans won the race in 16:16.80, the fastest time of the afternoon and his personal best at Bethpage.
Much like last weekend’s Class III championship, Rosencrans had to battle Seaford’s Jason Linzer down the stretch. Shortly after the pack had left the woods, Rosencrans was able to lose Linzer and make his way toward a second county championship in two weeks. Linzer was second in 16:20.02.
“I went back to my momentum from last week,” Rosencrans said. “It was just my willpower. I knew that I wasn’t going to let myself lose.”
Wheatley’s Devin Brancato won the Class C title in 18:23.71. It will be Brancato’s fourth trip to the public school state championships.
“I’m looking for around a 17:30, if I can,” Brancato said of his goals for next week. His personal best is 17:29, he said.
Oyster Bay was the only scoring team in the Class C competition and will, thusly, be headed to the state championships. Their highest finisher, Nick Tartugno, was fourth in 18:45.19.