Sophia McInnes started fast and didn’t look back.
No one else was close to the Bayport-Blue Point junior when she won the public school Class B state cross country championship at Vernon-Verona-Sherrill High School on Nov. 11.
McInnes covered the 5-kilometer course in 18 minutes, 0.5 seconds, nearly 43 seconds faster than the second-place finisher.
“I’m really happy,” McInnes said after winning the race. “It is what I expected, but I did surprise myself as well.”
McInnes’ path to the Class B crown started on that same course at the V-V-S Invitational in September. She won that race in 18:17.7. Two months later, she improved that mark by 17.2 seconds.
McInnes placed second at the Suffolk division championships at Sunken Meadow State Park in October, then won the Class B Suffolk state qualifier at Sunken Meadow a week before the public school state championships.
McInnes ran 18:20.28 at the state qualifier, placing her the sixth all-time at Sunken Meadow.
“I don’t look back or turn around while I’m running, so I didn’t know if anyone was around me,” McInnes said after the state qualifier. “So I just kept going because I didn’t know how close anyone was.”
McInnes wasn’t done after winning the championship. In back-to-back weeks at Bowdoin Park, McInnes placed third at the state Federation championships in 18:33.1 and second in the New York race at Nike Cross Regionals in 18:25.
Her Nike Cross Regionals finish qualified her for Nike Cross Nationals in Portland, Oregon.
“It’s been really exciting, especially because I got to go farther this year than last year,” McInnes said after Nike Cross Regionals. “It’s super exciting to be in all of these bigger races with amazing people that can push me.”