At this time a year ago, becoming a cross country star was the last thing on Kelsey Margey's mind.
In fact, the Harborfields junior wasn't even participating in cross country or track and field. She was a lacrosse player who joined the indoor track team last year.
"I tried winter track last year to stay in shape for lacrosse,'' she said. "After that I really liked it, so I decided to try cross country in the fall.''
Little did she know running would come to the forefront of her life.
Making the switch in sports wasn't the easiest thing for Margey. But her success was sudden and immediate last winter as she won the 1,000-meter Federation championship at Cornell.
"It was hard for me to give up the other sports I used to play and love,'' Margey said. "I think I just love running more now. I definitely made the right decision.''
The decision has paid great dividends for Long Island's Runner of the Year. Margey has transformed herself into a dominant long distance runner, and what makes that even more impressive is that she is still learning how to run.
Margey won the Bob Pratt Invitational, the Suffolk Division championships and the state qualifier.
She had her best day at the Great American Cross Country Festival in Cary, N.C., in October, finishing first in the seeded girls 5k race in a career-best time of 17 minutes, 25 seconds.
Margey's season took off after that, with first-place finishes at the Suffolk division championships and the state qualifier.
Then she ran to a second-place finish at the NYSPHSAA state Class A championship and placed fourth at the Nike Cross New York regional championship.
Her success has turned her into quite the recruiting tool.
"I always try to get the girls who are fast to come out, because anything can happen,'' Margey said in reference to her own success. "The athletes take to the sport so well.''