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SportsHigh SchoolCross Country

Erin Melly sets three records in eight days for Connetquot

Erin Melly of Connetquot finished first with a

Erin Melly of Connetquot finished first with a time of 20:38.84 in the girls Jr. 5K race at the Jim Smith Invitational held at Sunken Meadow State Park. Photo Credit: Errol Anderson, 2012

Connetquot's Erin Melly has a profound sense of history. The senior works hard to be the best, and in the span of only eight days she's proven that she is among the top runners to lace up sneakers for the Thunderbirds.

"She's right there with the top three or four girls that have ever run here,'' said Bob Skahill, who has coached the girls team since 1998. "In my opinion, I think she's the best distance runner that Connetquot's ever had.''

That isn't just a coach heaping praise upon one of his own, either. There are recent numbers to back it up. Since Oct. 1, Melly has broken three school records.

She began by breaking the school's Indian Island Course 5K mark in Riverhead on Oct. 1, finishing in 19 minutes, 45 seconds.

On Tuesday, Melly finished the 2.8-mile course at Sunken Meadow in 18:22, breaking her own record of 18:32 set earlier this season.

But it was the middle record in her historical sandwich that brought the biggest smile to Melly's face. On Oct. 5, her 15:55 at the Grout Invitational in Schenectady broke the Thunderbird record of 16:08 for 2.75 miles, set by her former teammate, Amy Irving in 2012.

"That was the record I felt most proud to break,'' Melly said. "The other courses are newer. Not as many girls have had a chance to run them.''

It helped that Melly is close with Irving, who runs for Salve Regina University in Newport, R.I.

"We're best friends,'' she said. "I talk to her all the time. She was really excited for me.''

Melly's time was tops in the Division II race at the Grout.

"My training has really started to take off as we get later in the season and add speed workouts,'' she said. "I just had fun with it with my team. It's senior year and I wanted to go out and do the best that I could.''

The three records serve as a testament to what the senior has meant to the Connetquot program, something that she is both conscious and proud of.

"My teammate Jessie Smiley and I came in as freshman and earned two of the top spots on the team,'' she said. "We really helped the team [elevate] from being decent to placing in the top five at counties and being a top contender that can compete with schools like Ward Melville and Northport, who have always been stronger contenders. It's fun to have a more active role in the county now.''

And a lot of that increased role is because of Melly -- a multiple record holder.

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