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SportsHigh SchoolCross Country

Guilfoyle, Connelly lead deep Mount Sinai into cross-country postseason

Mt. Sinai's Noreen Guilfoyle holds off the advancing

Mt. Sinai's Noreen Guilfoyle holds off the advancing Sarah Connelly, also of Mt. Sinai, to win the Suffolk Track Officials Invitational in Sunken Meadow State Park. Oct.14, 2017. Credit: Peter Frutkoff

The Mount Sinai girls cross-country team is ready to rumble. Led by two of the top Class A runners in the state, the Mustangs are rearing and ready to show Suffolk what they’re made of as championship season approaches. And, if Saturday morning’s tuneup showed anything, it’s that they could be a major force to be reckoned with when the postseason begins on Oct. 24.

“I think we’re all pretty well prepared and ready to dominate,” Noreen Guilfoyle said.

That domination has already begun.

Mount Sinai took the top four places and scored 20 points en route to a team victory at the Suffolk Officials Invitational at Sunken Meadow State Park. Guilfoyle and Sarah Connelly crossed the finish line side-by-side, a familiar sight for the two Class A standouts. Guilfoyle won in 19 minutes, 43.24 seconds and Connelly was second in 19:43.55. Kaitlyn Chandrika was third in 19:51.30 and Isabella DiPalermo took fourth in 20:59.08.

“We’re ready to go,” Connelly said. “As long as we listen to coach [Bill Dwyer] and we do what we’re supposed to, then we’ll do well.”

Guilfoyle was running on rested legs, having not raced since Oct. 5 when she won the Westhampton Beach Invitational at Red Creek Park in Hampton Bays.

“Usually, when I have a good amount of rest, I tend to do better in the race that comes up next,” Guilfoyle said. “I felt really good. I felt ready to rumble and ready to go.”

Guilfoyle, a self-described over-thinker, has been working hard on the mental part of running, trying not to get too psyched up about Sunken Meadow’s treacherous hills and, instead, try and clear her mind of all negative thoughts.

“Going into the race, I said ‘I’m not going to overthink it. I’m just going to go as hard as I can,’ ” she said. “When I got to those hills, I just really pushed it and I think that helped a lot.”

Guilfoyle’s experience at Sunken Meadow has certainly helped her limit the overthinking and visualize the course better.

“Being a senior and knowing where everything is on the course, I could just keep my mind on the course and not worry about everything like I used to,” she said.

Despite the damp morning conditions, neither Guilfoyle nor Connelly found trouble navigating.

“The footing was great today,” Guilfoyle said. “As a team, we actually love to run in the rain. It was great weather for us.”

With under two weeks until the postseason begins, Connelly said she is on the path to peaking at the right time.

“My form has gotten better,” Connelly said. “At the beginning of the season, my form going down the hill was a little rough. But, now, I’m nice and controlled.”

Connelly and Guilfoyle are two of the top Class A runners in the state. Entering the week, Connelly was ranked eighth and Guilfoyle was ranked 13th, according to tullyrunners.com.

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