VERONA, N.Y. — Zariel Macchia’s got it.
What’s ‘it’? Well, it’s a few things. Firstly, it’s the knowledge and ability to run in big time races. She knows what they’re like, knows what’s to expect, and knows how to prepare for them in her head. Secondly, ‘it’ is a public school state championship. And, she can thank that first thing for that.
Macchia, a Floyd sophomore, won the Class A championship in 18 minutes, 2.6 seconds at the state public school cross country championships on the 5-kilometer course at Vernon Verona Sherrill High on Saturday.
The race, which Macchia won by more than 15 seconds, marked the first state title for a runner who is considered among the best in the country.
“Last year, I didn’t have the best states race,” said Macchia, who placed ninth as a freshman. “I didn’t really know what I was getting into and how much it meant to everybody else that was running in that race. This year, I just wanted to have a good states race and I realized what it means to run in the states race.”
Macchia, as evidenced by her wide victory margin, led most of the way, controlling the tempo in a race that is typically the most competitive race in the girls portion of the meet. She ran the second-fastest time of the entire meet, with Class B’s Karrie Baloga of Cornwall clocking a 17:49.0 in her race.
“It went out kind of fast,” Macchia said. “I knew it (would), so I was prepared for that ahead of time. We’ve been working on my speed this season and I’ve been feeling really good, so I knew I could handle a fast start, no matter how fast it was.”
Macchia said she will ‘most likely’ skip next weekend’s state Federation championship in Wappingers Falls in favor of resting her legs for the Champs Sports Northeast Regional on Nov. 26 at Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx.
Macchia headlined a day in which Long Island as a whole performed as well as they have in years at the once upstate-dominated championships. Sayville won the Class B team title with 49 points, outpacing Cornwall (78). It’s the first state team title for Sayville and only the fourth in Suffolk history, according to Sayville coach Tom Duffy.
Mullane Baumiller was Sayville’s highest finisher, placing eighth in 19:46.8. Isabella Gerena was 14th in 20:10.5, Megan Lankowicz was 19th in 20:19.6, and Marianna Duffy was 25th in 20:29.7.
“We were just going to go out and run for ourselves,” Baumiller said. “We wanted to win, but if we didn’t it wouldn’t be the worst thing. But, because we won, we feel so great about ourselves."