Sarah Connelly had reached the pinnacle. The Mount Sinai junior had finally proved that she was the best Class B runner in the state, coming behind to win at the public school state championships at Sunken Meadow State Park on Nov. 10.
Little did she know, it was only the beginning.
But, oh what a beginning it was. Connelly surged ahead of Olivia Morganti of Syracuse Christian Brothers Academy in the final 200 meters to win the 5-kilometer race in 18 minutes, 17.7 seconds.
“(Morganti) wasn’t slowing down,” Connelly said. “It was just me knowing that I could sprint the last 200 and catch her.”
Two weeks later, Connelly extended her cross country season in much the same fashion — beating Clinton’s Eva Borton to the line to notch the final qualifying spot by 0.2 seconds in the New York race at Nike Cross Regionals at Bowdoin Park in Wappingers Falls. Connelly, who ran 18:21.3 in the New York race, qualified for Nike Cross Nationals, held Saturday in Portland, Oregon.
As Connelly saw it, the nationals was nothing but gravy.
“I just wanted to become a state champion. That was my main goal, nothing else,” she said.