Smithtown's Douglas Antaky finishes the boys Class A race at the...

Smithtown's Douglas Antaky finishes the boys Class A race at the state cross country championships on Saturday, Nov. 11, 2023. Credit: Bryan Bennett

VERONA — Douglas Antaky had a feeling they’d take it out fast.

That’s how the state championship race started last year and the Smithtown senior had no doubt that Saturday’s boys Class A public school state championship race at Vernon-Verona-Sherrill High School would start that way too.

“Last year I started off close to 80th and I came in 13th,” Antaky said. “So, I knew it was going to be the same this year, they were going to pull it out really hard.”

Antaky mixed in with around 30-40 runners behind the leader to start this year's championship race. By the time everyone crossed the finish line, Antaky was second in 15 minutes, 56 seconds flat on the 5-kilometer course.

Fayetteville-Manlius’ Nolan McGinn, the top-ranked runner in the state on tullyrunners.com, won in 15:48.7.

“To come within seven seconds of him is something I don’t think many people were expecting, especially someone from Long Island,” Antaky said. “I stuck to the gameplan, I went out there with the goal to get a medal other than bronze. I really wanted to try for that first place.”

Antaky beat his time from last year on the same V-V-S course by 49 seconds. He ran the second-fastest time of any runner on Saturday.

“I knew that if I wanted to come close to possibly winning I was going to have to try and stick off of the top guy by 20-30 seconds,” Antaky said. “Unfortunately I stuck off him a little too far, but I went out, wanted to stay conservative in the top 40. I moved through the woods fast and I felt great coming through that 2.5-3-mile point when people were starting to die off. I felt really good, made my move there and I went from 40th to second in a matter of 10 minutes.”

Calhoun’s Logan Schaeffler finished fifth in 16:12.3 and Northport’s Brandon Cruz finished eighth in 16:14.6.

Harborfields junior Hartley Semmes surprised himself in the boys Class B race.

Semmes, who said his goal was to finish in the top 15, passed a pack of four runners on the final straightaway and finished third in 16:22.6.

“There are so many people in the state, I didn’t expect to be No. 3,” Semmes said. “I knew from my watch that I was slowing down, I just knew that I had to hold on. I felt people coming up behind me so I knew I had to start passing them.”

Semmes ran the V-V-S course at last year’s state championships, where he finished 33rd in 17:48.6. He said that prior experience on the course helped cut 1:26 from his time last year.

“From what I remembered last year I was thinking it’s a lot of grass. It’s going to make my legs burn,” Semmes said. “So, my racing strategy was to try and get out in front, then on the dirt patches where it was all hilly, try to just stay with the group, then take it easy on the grassy parts.”

Mt. Sinai’s Jess Joe Augustine finished fourth in 16:23.3, Westhampton’s Trevor Hayes finished fifth in 16:25, North Shore’s Robby Levy finished eighth in 16:35.8 and Manhasset finished second among Class B teams with 65 points.

Oyster Bay’s Chris Tardugno ran 16:39.7 and finished fifth in the Class C boys race. 

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