Shelter Island’s Kal Lewis isn’t saying how he’ll attack the course at SUNY-Plattsburgh next Saturday when he goes for his third straight state Class D public school cross country championship. Oh, he knows. He’s just keeping it to himself.
“I’m not going to give anything away,” said Lewis, a senior who will run for the University of Iowa next year. “I’m just looking for a good time . . . Nothing’s coming out of my mouth.”
Lewis earned the right to defend his two titles by winning the 5-kilometer Class C/D race in 16 minutes, 40.82 seconds at the Suffolk state qualifier at freezing cold Sunken Meadow State Park Friday afternoon.
“Conditions weren’t that great, so a great time wasn’t going to be all that helpful today,” Lewis said. “. . . It was just windy. Coming into the last straightaway, it was right in your face. Even in the beginning, when you were in the mouse trap, you were going against it the whole time.”
Lewis ran the Plattsburgh course in 17:49.40 at the Section VII cross country invitational in September, so he has experience with the course. His chief competition in the state public school championship race will be Beaver River’s Colton Kempney, who was second to Lewis last year and ran 15:57.30 at the Section VII invitational.
“I’m just trying to stay positive,” Lewis said. “My mind is getting right. I’m starting to get mentally prepared for everything. No matter what happens, I’m going be ready for it . . . It’s one last state race for me. This is the race I’ve been planning for all cross country season . . . Obviously, Colton Kempney is a good competitor and has been putting down good times. I’m going to run with him and make him work.”
Shelter Island won the Class D team title with 24 points and will be going up to Plattsburgh as a unit. Port Jefferson won Class C with a nearly-perfect 18 points. Brian Veit was second in the Class C/D race in 17:16.71.
Smithtown’s Michael Danzi, who won the county division championships race last week, won the Class A race in 16:28.43. Northport, led by third-place finisher Thomas Fodor (16:43.98) won the team championship with 43 points.
Miller Place’s Tom Cirrito won the Class B race in 16:16.89, the fastest time of the afternoon. Cirrito is the fastest overall Class B returner from last year’s state public school championships. Westhampton won Class B with 44 points. The Hurricanes’ Gavin Ehlers was second to Cirrito in 16:28.09.
“I was shocked at how fast it was,” Cirrito said. “I thought we were going at a much slower pace in the beginning, so I was expecting a much slower time. That was actually a [personal record] for me. That was surprising.”