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Chance for new faces atop Suffolk boys cross country this season

Sachem North's Jonathan Lauer places fifth in the

Sachem North's Jonathan Lauer places fifth in the boys Class A 5k cross country run with a time of 16:57.16 in the Suffolk Cross Country Championships on Friday, Oct. 31, 2014. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

The turnover at the top of Suffolk boys cross country figured to be massive this season. Only two runners, Sachem North's Jonathan Lauer and West Islip's Kyle Kelly, return from last year's state qualifier Class A top 10.

Lauer finished fifth in 16 minutes, 57.16 seconds, and Kelly was 10th in 17:08.12. Sachem North won Class A on a sixth-man tiebreaker, edging out Ward Melville. The Flaming Arrows also finished fifth at the New York State Federation Championships. Lauer was Sachem North's top runner that day, finishing the Bowdoin Park 5K in Wappingers Falls in 16:32.7. Christopher Tibbetts, who made tremendous strides in the 800 meters during track season, will join Lauer at the top of the Sachem North roster.

Lauer won the Varsity A race at the Bob Pratt Invitational at Sunken Meadow in 16:41.08. Tibbetts was third in 17:06.33. Kyle Kelly finished fourth in the same race, running a 17:11.57.

Bayport-Blue Point is the returning Suffolk Class B champion and placed second at the New York State Public School Championships. Victor Garifo and Jason Giunta return after strong post-season performances last year. Garifo finished eighth at state qualifiers in 17:21.59 and Giunta was tenth in 17:30.13.

Garifo was sixth in the Varsity A race at the Suffolk Coaches Invitational last weekend at Sunken Meadow, running a 17:28.69. Giunta was 15th in 17:46.13.

Southampton returns six starters in pursuit of another Class C crown.

Southold won Class D at the state qualifier. Owen Klipstein returns after taking the class' individual title in 18:21.23. Klipstein finished eighth at the Bob Pratt Invitational in 18:48.68.

After winning Nassau Class A last year, Syosset is running for its fourth consecutive county title and 14th in the last 19 years. The Braves have also won 10 consecutive county titles, encompassing cross country, winter, and spring track. They'll be led by Will Long, Luke Skorka, Michael Newman, and Chris Florio.

Florio was 10th in the Varsity B race at the Regis Invitational at Van Cortlandt Park, running the 4K in 13:57.04 on Sept. 19. Skorka was 21st in 14:28.41.

Manhasset is the returning Nassau Class B champion. Tim Courts, in his first cross country season, finished seventh in the state qualifying meet, running a 17:18.17. Ryan Thorpe, who ran a 17:51.76 at last year's Class County Championships, and Nicky Harris, who finished the same race in 18:19.72, add to the Indians depth.

Courts ran a 17:22.40 at the Suffolk Coaches Invitational, placing fourth in the Varsity B race.

Oyster Bay pitched a shutout at the Class C state qualifier. Alexander Tosi, who won the small school race in 17:15.70, returns. Tosi won the Jim Smith Invitational senior race in 17:11.09 on Sept. 12 at Sunken Meadow. Jason Cassella and Stevie Sweet also return for Oyster Bay.

Tosi finished second in the Varsity V race at the Crusader Classic at Monroe-Woodbury High School, running a 16:57.30.

With St. Anthony's returning four starters from their eighth place finish at last year's Nike Cross National meet in Portland, Oregon, they'll be tough to unseat in the CHSAA. But, that doesn't mean the rest of the league is going to lie down.

Chaminade returns R.J. McCusker who ran a 17:24 5K last season and finished the 2.5-mile Intersectional Championships in 13:44.30. Connor Fitzpatrick finished the Intersectionals in 13:59.06. Fitzpatrick ran a 17:17.85 at the Bowdoin Classic last weekend at Bowdoin Park at Wappingers Falls.

St. John the Baptist returns Chris Tinti and Devin Laudenschlager. Tinti was fifth at the Bob Pratt Invitational, running a 17:15.12.

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