WAPPINGERS FALLS, N.Y — If North Shore’s Nicole Schneider needed a mantra for her now-completed cross country season, all she had to do was look at her wrist. The senior often wore a wristband with one word on it: Resilience.
No longer would Schneider back down during a race, something she claimed was a problem in years past. This year was different. When passed, she would answer. If passed again, she would go right back to the well.
“I think it’s just my personal mindset has improved a lot, just for running in general,” Schneider said.
And in her final race of the fall, she answered whenever she could. Schneider ran the Bowdoin Park 5-kilometer course in 19 minutes, 31.9 seconds at the state Federation cross country championships Saturday afternoon. The time placed her 32nd overall, but first among Long Island girls. North Rockland’s Katelyn Tuohy, who is the best runner in the country and, some believe, the best female high school runner ever, won in 17:02.5, outpacing the field by 57.4 seconds.
In the team competition, Sacred Heart was 12th with 297 points, the highest-finishing Long Island team. Saratoga Springs won with 36.
Though Schneider wasn’t near the front — few are when Tuohy is involved — Schneider was working her hardest to keep her position in the middle of the pack, using a resilience that she’s perfected in the last two months.
“I was happy with how I handled people passing me,” Schneider said. “Usually, I don’t handle that very well. For the most part, today was a lot better than in the past. I would just let people go by me and just give up, but today I just remember this one girl and I were just going back and forth. She passed me and then I passed her and kept going. In the past, I maybe I would have let her beat me and just gave up, but today I didn’t give up. I’m really happy with that.”
Schneider said she took the race out at a comfortable pace, using the later stages to jockey for position.
“I didn’t take out extremely aggressively, but throughout the whole race kept moving up as best I could,” she said. “Once I got to a certain point, I stayed there and then the last 100 meters, I tried to keep my place and not let anyone pass me.”
The race capped an impressive November for Schneider. She placed eighth in 17:38.5 in the Class B race at the state public school championships last weekend in Plattsburgh.