A strong sense of history defines the North Shore girls cross country program. Not only do those who don the iconic maroon jerseys look towards their future, but they genuinely care about the past.
“Honestly, it’s incredible,” senior Nicole Schneider said. “As motivation at the starting line, I kind of just think about the girls in the past who were doing the same thing as what we’re doing now. It’s so incredible to even be here. It’s really inspiring and motivating, just to want to do well for each other and for the girls in the past who worked really hard to maintain that.”
The program’s level of excellence, which has seen state champions, national qualifiers, and enough county champions to fill an entire squad, eclipsed another milestone Wednesday at Bethpage State Park when North Shore won its 152nd consecutive league meet, a streak that dates back to Oct. 15, 2007, coach Neal Levy said.
“We run for the past and future members of our team,” junior Sophie Rosencrans said.
Generally scheduled during the week, league meets consist of three or four teams running against each other in a slightly more focused race than an invitational or county championship. Although competing teams run together, victories are awarded based on how many teams a team finishes ahead of.
North Shore entered Wednesday at 149-0 and were pushed over the 150th straight win plateau by beating Valley Stream North, Wantagh and Plainedge. The four teams compete in Nassau 3B.
“We were conscious of the fact that it was our 150th consecutive win, but, more so, we were trying to do our job, said Rosencrans, who finished fourth overall on the 5-kilometer course in 21 minutes, 13.39 seconds. “We were trying to do our best, do what coach was asking of us, and try to work together in the race, like we’ve been doing for the past few weeks of the season and what we strive to do for the rest of the season.”
Sophomore Kate Gilliam won the race in 20:31.68, a personal best, she said. Gilliam ran in a pair with Schneider, who was second in 20:32.11. The ‘pack running’ approach, something that North Shore does as well as any team on Long Island, is designed to maximize team points and allows for faster collective times.
Gilliam credited Schneider with setting the pace that allowed her to reach the personal milestone. For Schneider, helping her teammate get there was unbelievable fulfilling.
“I’m really happy that we did that together, it’s just so motivating,” Schneider said. “It gives you a wake up call to why you’re doing what you’re doing.”
The pack running is emblematic of the program’s purpose. Although they’ve had their share of individual success over they last 15 years, the team concept has always been particularly paramount among those who come through Levy’s program.
“I think it’s very impressive,” Gilliam said of the streak. “It has a lot to do with the legacy that a lot of the girls that started this winning tradition have left. We still have a lot of alumni come back and talk to the team and they really still are invested in our team today. I think that motivates our current team to carry on that legacy that they left for us.”