Once again, it was a Gerland family reunion at the finish line. Steph Gerland, a Garden City junior, won the Class II title at the Nassau Class County Championships, held Saturday at Bethpage State Park.
Gerland ran the 5K course in 18 minutes, 58.15 seconds. Her older sister, Jen, placed second in 19:31.25. The finish was identical to last year's race.
But the day did not come without some challenges. Due to heavy rainfall earlier in the week, the course was muddy and slow.
"It was hard to get my feet up, which is why I think my time was a little slower," Steph said. "It was really tough, but it was good training. I've learned that you never know what you're going to get at the state meet [scheduled for Nov. 8 at SUNY Canton]. So, it's good to practice on."
Despite being the defending champion, Steph said she was nervous on the starting line.
"I felt like I could win, but anything could happen," Steph said. "I could always fall down or something."
The sisterly finish helped Garden City capture the Class II team title, scoring 60 points. Caroline Ferri placed fifth in 20:33.23.
"Our focus was to run together," Jen said. "We really wanted a team title today and were all running for each other."
Calhoun's Grace Moore won the Class I title in 19:40.57, her second consecutive title.
"I paced myself well, Moore said.
Moore pulled away with 900 meters remaining, she said. "I picked it up once I got to the polo fields," Moore said.
Syosset won the Class I team championship, scoring 28 points. Reilly Siebert finished second in 19:59.33. Tracy Go was fourth in 20:22.51 and Kayla Beovich was fifth in 20:22.78.
Port Washington freshman Lucy Hurt finished third in 20:17.18.
Cold Spring Harbor's Daniela LoCastro won her second consecutive Class III title, finishing in 19:04.84. Due to the presence of Friends Academy's Paige Duca, LoCastro took the race out faster than normal. After battling in the first mile with Duca, LoCastro took the lead for good, she said.
Running in the first girls race of the day, LoCastro had an especially hard time with the fresh mud which, because of the early start time, did not have a chance to become compacted by other runners.
"It was a little more tiring on your legs," LoCastro said. "You had to be careful. I was a little bit more aware, especially going through the back parts where there's not a lot of sun and the mud was thicker. You had to have your spikes in and your shoes tied tightly."
Friend's Academy's Isabella Pascucci finished second in 19:21.68. Duca was third in 19:48.62.
North Shore won the Class III team championship, their eighth consecutive title, coach Neal Levy said. The Vikings, who scored 25 points, took fourth through sixth place and had six runners, including three eighth graders, finish in the top 10. Stacie Nadel was fourth in 19:57.06. Morgan Nerud was fifth in 19:57.32 and Stephanie Bazan was sixth in 19:57.56.