When Mount Sinai’s Sarah Connelly approaches Snake Hill at Sunken Meadow State Park, she knows it’s time to go. With the far more daunting Cardiac Hill waiting around the bend, Connelly uses the smaller hill to make sure nothing more than her time is left to chance when the course reaches its hardest point.
The strategy worked well last Friday, with Connelly losing the field at Snake Hill during her 18 minute, 38.20 second victory in the Class B race at the Suffolk State Qualifier at Sunken Meadow’s 5-kilometer course.
“Usually, on that little incline of a hill towards Snake, is where a lot of people start losing it,” Connelly said. “Closer to Snake, there’s this little straight away where I just have to move my arms to go faster than other people.”
Generally, Connelly has been faster than most – both in the state and on Long Island. She is the highest-ranked Long Islander, and the second-highest Class B runner in the state, according to the latest speed ratings on tullyrunners.com.
Connelly will get a chance to run against the best in Class B at the state public school championships, scheduled for Saturday at Sunken Meadow in Kings Park. Her victory in the qualifier punched her ticket to the championships.
“I definitely feel more confident,” Connelly said after the qualifier win. “This race, I pushed myself because I know that I’m going to have competition (at states). I know places (on the course) where I’m going to have to move to pass people.”
As a repeated winner on the Sunken Meadow course, Connelly knows exactly how to win on it.
“I know that I have places (on the course) where I’m stronger,” Connelly said. “It’s definitely not going to be easy, but it might be easier for me than for my competitors because I know the course.”
Connelly said she wants to run under 18:20 Saturday.