Maeve Going of Sacred Heart wins the 2.5-mile girls varsity run...

Maeve Going of Sacred Heart wins the 2.5-mile girls varsity run during the Nassau-Suffolk CHSAA cross county championships at Sunken Meadow State Park on Sunday. Credit: Neil Miller

Maeve Going is used to it.

The Sacred Heart sophomore knows the 2.5-mile course at Sunken Meadow State Park well. She knows where she thrives and knows where she’s challenged the most.

“I used to get so scared of Cardiac [Hill] and all that, but I feel like I’m just used to it now,” Going said. “I know the pain is going to come, so I’ve gotten used to that as well.”

And after defending her girls NSCHSGAA league championship cross country title at Sunken Meadow on Sunday, Going is thriving under the pressure that comes with winning.

She finished first in 15:41.4, in what she said was a new personal best on the course in Kings Park, despite battling the wind and rain.

Going, who won the NSCHSGAA league championship race last year as a ninth grader, said she felt pressure to win again this year. She focused on winning Sunday but didn’t quite know how she’d attack the course.

“I didn’t really know how I would go out with the other girls,” Going said. “I was either going to sit back behind someone and then go off, or I was just going to go from the [starting] gun.”

Going established herself from the start of the race and beat second-place finisher Riley Griffith of St. Anthony’s by nearly 13 seconds.

Griffith, who finished in 15:53.9, helped the Friars claim the NSCHSGAA team title with 21 points.

St. Anthony's placed four runners in the Top 5 and had six of the top eight finishers. Griffith, one of the St. Anthony’s captains, said she’s running times around 40 seconds faster than she was a year ago.

“I think that we all understand that we’re here for each other, and while we’re here to have fun, we know when it’s time to put our heads down and get to work,” Griffith said. “It’s awesome that we’ve been able to come together and do the things that we’ve done this season.

“I think we just have a mental toughness about us that we’ve learned through experience and through training."

Olivia Czoch, Elena Ciaccio and Kathryn Paul finished behind Griffith to secure the team title for St. Anthony's. Friars coach Olivier St. Aude said the team ran last weekend in the rain at Bowdoin Park and were prepared for the elements.

“We were actually looking forward to the rain,” St. Aude said. “It’s a competition across the board, and everyone is fighting to get in that Top 7. That’s what keeps us going.”

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