The past two Thursdays have given Noreen Guilfoyle some must-see moments. The midweek invitational is a rare occurrence in the highly-regimented world of high school running but, lately, the Mount Sinai senior has made it her forte. Guilfoyle has won two consecutive Thursday invitationals, shifting her training schedule a bit and reaping the rewards.
“It’s actually kind of nice,” Guilfoyle said. “When we have Saturday races, we have less recovery time between practice and the actual race. But, when we have weekday meets, we have a little more recovery time. It’s nice that way.”
Guilfoyle won the varsity B race in 19 minutes, 29.62 seconds at the Tom Knipfing-Goldberg Memorial Invitational at Firemen’s Field in Ridge on Sept. 28, and followed it up with a 20:17.33 victory in the Westhampton Beach Invitational at Red Creek Park in Hampton Bays on Oct. 5.
She added to her midweek success by running 19:30 on the Sachem North High School course at a Suffolk crossover on Tuesday, the second fastest time in the course’s history, Sachem North coach Alex Young tweeted.
Guilfoyle attributes much of her senior-year success to an increased effort to sure up her mechanics, making her technique as perfect as possible.
“I’m driving my knees and using my arms and getting my elbows in,” she said. “I’m going a little faster because of that.”
Driving her knees at a more consistent pace allows Guilfoyle to cover more ground on hills, a treacherous area on most courses. “You’re so much more efficient and you can drive so much better,” Guilfoyle said. “You don’t feel as taxed after the race.”
Make no mistake, Guilfoyle is good on weekends, too. She is among the top runners on Long Island. Her Tom Knipfing- Goldberg Memorial Invitational time ranked eighth on Long Island, entering Wednesday. Her teammate, Sarah Connelly, who ran 19:34.41 at the same invitational, ranked 10th, according to milesplit.com.
“It’s pretty great to have someone by my side,” Guilfoyle said. “She always gives me a little push. It’s good to have a little push every once in a while.”
In Guilfoyle and Connelly, Mount Sinai has a one-two punch that both figure to place high in postseason races. Connelly, a sophomore who could be a staple of Suffolk distance running for years to come, is learning how to clock fast times from one of the best seniors on Long Island.
“She’s my best friend,” Connelly said of Guilfoyle. “I follow her. I sometimes copy her, because I feel like she knows everything. She’s on point with everything and is a good role model.”
Connelly has also benefited from the increased emphasis on mechanics.
“My form is better,” she said. “I used to flop my arms around a lot. But now, I have control of them.”