Aislinn Frazer of Friends Academy competes in the Nassau County...

Aislinn Frazer of Friends Academy competes in the Nassau County Class III girls cross country championship at Bethpage State Park on Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022. She won the race with a time of 19:31.69. Credit: James Escher

While cross country is mainly about running straight ahead, Aislinn Frazer mastered the act of the pivot Saturday morning. The Friends Academy sophomore had a very specific race plan entering the Class III race at the Nassau Class County Championships — go out and lose the field.

It was an easy enough vision for Frazer — who is among the best runners in the entire county. The only problem was, it didn’t exactly materialize. Frazer soon found herself engaged in a hard-fought battle with Cold Spring Harbor’s Sofia Mulada, one that lasted until the final straightaway.

“She’s a great runner,” Frazer said of Mulada. “She’s very strong, so she caught up to me. I kind of let her take the rest of the race. I let her pace it, so that I wasn’t doing too much of the work. On one of the downhills, I tried to gap her, which I did, and when she caught up to me again, I knew I couldn’t let her get too far in front of me if I really wanted to win, which I did.”

Frazer outdueled Mulada in the final 800 meters —  making a move with 250 meters left, holding her off down the home stretch, and winning in 19 minutes, 31.69 seconds on the 5-kilometer course at Bethpage State Park in Farmingdale. Mulada was second in 19:36.11.

“You have to just adapt to what’s happening in the race. I always try to have a plan B,” Frazer said. “…Trying to gap the field was just me trying to do what I normally try to do. (My coaches) plan was just to see how I feel and take it from there. That’s always the best plan to go back to.”  

North Shore won the Class III team championship with 41 points, its 16th county title in the last 17 years, said coach Neal Levy.

Port Washington’s Ashley Carillo won Class I in 19:27.89. Carillo passed East Meadow’s Zaria Hall with approximately 800 meters to go, she said. Hall was second in 19:38.62.

“I was coming around the corner (of the polo field), and I knew I was getting close to the finish line,” Carillo said. “I was feeling great, and I just wanted to finish strong.”

Carillo said the race started fast, leaving her toward the middle of the pack. But, little by little, she was able to inch up and overtake the field.

“I just knew I had to stay strong and run my race,” Carillo said.

Great Neck South’s Isabella Spagnoli ran the fastest girls time of the meet, winning the Class II race in 18:53.48.

Syosset won the Class I team title with 43 points and  South Side won Class II with 44.

On the boys side, Syosset’s Jordan Altman won Class I in 16:23.27 and Calhoun’s Logan Schaeffler won Class II in 15:50.73, the fastest time of the meet. 

Oyster Bay’s Christopher Tardugno won the Class III crown in 16:02.14. Tardugno beat his previous Bethpage State Park personal best of 16:24, he said.

“I was in front from the beginning,” Tardugno said. “I knew I’d be, so I just tried to pace myself well, not go out too fast, and push towards the end.” 

Syosset won the Class I team title with 69 points, Calhoun won Class II (35), and North Shore took Class III (55).

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