It would be hard to top Tyler Italiano's weekend. One day after his 17th birthday, the Syosset senior won his second consecutive Class I championship at the Nassau Class County Championships, held Saturday at Bethpage State Park.
Italiano finished the 5k race in 15 minutes, 58.10 seconds, his personal best.
Italiano went out with the pack, remaining true to his strategy and not wanting to expend too much energy early in the race. "The plan was to sit on whoever took it out in the lead, stick on them until the mile mark, and start running my own pace from there," he said. "A couple of people got out quick from the beginning and I knew they would settle back in."
Italiano began to pull away from East Meadow's Michael Grady, who finished third in 16:32.02, at Pride Hill, which rests just before the 2-mile mark.
"I knew that would be the place to start pushing," Italiano said.
Italiano's finish helped Syosset win the Class I team championship. The Braves, helped by William Anderson, who finished second in 16:27.27, scored 40 points.
Following the victory, Italiano continued his wonderful weekend, serving as his younger sister Hailey's confirmation sponsor.
Garden City's Tim Josephs won the Class II title, finishing in 16:23.05. It was his first class county title.
"This has definitely been a goal of mine all season," Josephs said. "I'm feeling pretty good."
Josephs worked to tire out the rest of the field in the first mile, knowing that his training and stamina was enough to guide him through the rest of the 5k.
"I was pretty sure that anyone who stuck with me was going to be burned out," he said. "Then, I built a lead and maintained it throughout the rest of the race."
Manhasset won the Class II team championship, scoring 39 points. Tommy Fruhauf finished third in 17:18.02. Carter Paterson was fifth in 17:39.58 and Tim Courts was sixth in 17:44.95.
Oyster Bay's Alexander Tosi had to hold off Friends Academy's Glenn Lostritto and Valley Stream North's Peter Wilk on his path to victory in the Class III race.
"The only thing I was thinking was how much it would stink if they beat me," Tosi, who finished in 16:56.81 said. " . . . Once I was [on the polo fields], I heard my teammates cheering and that pushed me through the rest."
Tosi said he went out in first, but was passed at the opening mile mark. He retook the lead in the woods, which was exactly what he envisioned when he laid out his race plan earlier in the week.
"I didn't want to go out too fast or take the lead too early," he said. At the same time, I didn't want to have to take the lead at the end. I wanted to give myself a little bit of room in the middle of the race, so I didn't have to rely on a kick."
Lostritto finished second in 17:07.01 and Wilk was third in 17:14.70. Valley Stream North won the Class III team championship, scoring 66 points.