Chaminade's Sean Kelly couldn't breathe, but he didn't seem to mind. He was wrapped in a bear hug from a teammate after the Flyers won the Nassau-Suffolk CHSAA boys cross country title Sunday at Sunken Meadow State Park.
The Flyers scored 22 points on the way to their first league title since 2010, topping rival St. Anthony's by 12.
"It's been a while," Kelly said of the title. "St. Anthony's is a great rival. It's always great to compete against them. We finally got the upper hand. It was a great feeling. We all wanted it really badly."
The Flyers took five of the top 10 places. Senior Thomas Slattery won the individual title, running the 5K in 16 minutes, 23.84 seconds. Kelly finished second in 16:25.35. He crossed the finish line less than one second before St. Anthony's Louis Santelli -- an individual battle that would prove huge in the final scoring.
"I race Santelli all the time," Kelly said. "I know he has a ferocious kick. I know he runs a 1:53 800-meter time, which is just speed. When he passed me, I was really hurting, but I knew I had to go. I dug deep and was able to out-kick him."
That final important sprint was a product of patience early in the race.
"We hung back and let St. Anthony's handle the work until after Cardiac Hill," Kelly said. "I was in fourth place until we got to the top of Cardiac. Slatts made his move, I made mine, and we passed St. Anthony's."
Slattery and Kelly set the foundation for a win and Gunnar Nolan, Thomas Hayes and Jack Aneser finished it out. Nolan finished fourth in 16:39.50, Hayes took seventh in 17:23.98 and Aneser was eighth in 17:31.22.
"It was a good day," Aneser said. "Down the final stretch, I had St. Anthony's riding me. I shot past them and took it to the end. It felt good."