It sure can get lonely on a cross-country course. Of course, there’s a ton of adrenaline at the beginning of a race when the gun releases a pack of championship hopefuls. And the end is full of adrenaline — with the crowd cheering and the finish-line tape coming into view.
But that middle part can get lonesome.
South Side’s Olivia Duca was conscious of that and wanted to make sure she didn’t let the loneliness get to her.
“In the beginning and the end [of the race], you get the most energy and excitement,” Duca said. “In the dull parts, you have to stick to it. [The middle] is mostly everyone’s dull part, so if you push hard, you’re able to really do well.”
And Duca did better than she ever had. The sophomore kept a hard pace the whole way and won the 5-kilometer Class B race in 19 minutes, 24.81 seconds at the Nassau state qualifier Sunday at Bethpage State Park. The time was a personal best, the fastest girls time of the meet, and qualified her for the state public school championships, scheduled for Saturday at Sunken Meadow State Park.
“In the past, I would not run as fast in the middle, but I tried to pick it up this time and I made up a lot of time,” Duca said. “I tried to push the pace.”
Thanks to Duca and teammate Carly Woelfel — who finished second in 19:43.02 — South Side won the Class B team championship with 42 points and will compete in the team competition at the public school state championships.
Elsewhere, Oceanside’s Andria Scaglione won the Class A race in 19:39.06. Syosset, led by Mayu Iio’s second place 20:00.08, won the team competition with 65 points. Oyster Bay’s Greta Flanagan won the Class C race in 21:08.49 and Oyster Bay won the team championship with 15 points.
On the boys side, North Shore’s Jack Rosencrans proved, once again, that he is the top runner in Nassau. He won the Class B championship in 16:10.90. Seaford’s Jason Linzer, as he often is, was right behind him in 16:13.95.
Rosencrans said that he and Linzer broke away in the last 200 meters, but were running in a pack for most of the race.
“That definitely forced me to keep my pace up,” Rosencrans said. “I was more concentrated on trying to run faster than win. I knew that if I was just concentrating on trying to doing well I would, in the long term, win. Having Linzer behind me in the last 200 meters pushed me, like it always does.”
Manhasset, led by fifth place Christopher Courts (17:10.25) won the team title with 50 points.
Farmingdale’s Anthony Diaz won Class A in 16:40.70. East Meadow’s Bryan Villafuerte was second in 16:43.65 and East Meadow won the team title with 50 points. Oyster Bay’s Nick Tardugno won Class C in 17:37.51. Oyster Bay was the only team to score and will represent Class C at the public school state championships.