Jake Gogarty of Bay Shore takes first place during Race 2 of...

Jake Gogarty of Bay Shore takes first place during Race 2 of the Suffolk Cross Country State Qualifiers at Sunken Meadow Park in Kings Park NY. on Nov. 4, 2022. Credit: /Andrew Theodorakis

Jake Gogarty has a homework assignment ahead of him. After a well-run cross-country season, the Bay Shore junior has earned himself a spot in the state championships, scheduled for Nov. 12 at Vernon Verona Sherrill High School in upstate Verona.

Now he has a week to try to familiarize himself with the course, which he’s never run before.

“I’m going to research the course, get maps, look at the angles to make going around the turns,” Gogarty said. “I’m going to run the course [Friday, as a practice] and I’m going to try and scout it out then, too.”

Gogarty, who has been one of the top runners on Long Island all fall, earned the right to extend his season after winning the Class A race in 16 minutes, 31.71 seconds on the 5-kilometer course at Sunken Meadow State Park at the Suffolk state qualifier Friday afternoon.

“I’m right where I want to be,” Gogarty said. “I just wanted to cruise through and try to get a spot. And, I did that.”

In actuality, it was quite likely that Gogarty would clinch himself a spot in the state race. Entering Friday, he was ranked 22nd in the state, and fourth on Long Island, according to speed ratings found on tullyrunners.com.

But still, the general nature of distance running in November requires runners to leave nothing to chance – and Gogarty took that to heart.

“I wanted to go out and see if anyone would stick on to me,” he said. “If not, I wanted to keep my distance between them.”

Gogarty said that he first noticed his sizable lead after Snake Hill.

“I was a bit sluggish going up the hills,” he said. “But I think that was because of my strategy going out fast in the front.”

Northport won the Class A team title with 55 points and will represent Suffolk in the state Class A team competition.

Elsewhere, Westhampton’s Max Haynia won the Class B race in 17:15.31. Haynia entered Friday ranked second in the state in Class B, according to tullyrunners.com. Harborfields won Class B with 54 points.

Mattituck’s Trevor Zappulla won the Class C/D race in 17:23.48. Like Gogarty, Zappulla took his race out hard and never looked back. Zappulla, a senior, said he ran the Sunken Meadow hills better than ever.

“Sometimes on the hills I get a little defeated and down,” he said. “I just had to keep telling myself that this is my last race ever [at Sunken Meadow].”

Mattituck won Class C with 33 points.

Port Jefferson’s Brendan Capodanno was the top runner in Class D, clocking 17:36.18 and finishing second in the Class C/D race. Port Jefferson scored 25 points and will represent Suffolk in Class D. 

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